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Case In Point

Mindy Chapman Esq. is the founder of the nationally acclaimed “Workplace
Training that Clicks & Sticks™” and co-author of the American Bar
Association’s best seller and authority on civil rights training, “Case
Dismissed! Taking Your Harassment Prevention Training to Trial.” Case In Point is an entertaining look at the employment law cases impacting you today, plus practical ways to protect yourself and your company.

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Who hasn’t had a workplace crush? Extra moments chatting in the hallway … stolen glances across the conference table … rerouting your walk to the lunchroom. But when does that friendliness cross the line into the illegal realm of sexual harassment? One court recently ruled that a co-worker who said she felt scared by such attention had enough ammunition to take her case to trial …

Please, no more twists to the Family and Medical Leave Act! But, in fact, the twists keep coming. Here’s a new one: We all know that new employees aren’t covered by the FMLA until they’ve worked the required 1,250 hours in the past 12 months. But one court recently ruled that pre-eligible employees may be protected in certain cases. So what exactly are they?

Sometimes in HR, you know more than you want to know. But as this new court ruling shows, sharing inside information with an employee isn’t a smart move … for your employer or your career.
Do your employees ever give you a migraine headache? Don’t you wish every time they did you could claim protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and rush home? One court recently ruled that not every migraine headache is the same. Therefore, not every case is protected by the ADA. Sit down ... take off your sneakers ... and read this case.
You interview an applicant. You offer her the job. But it’s conditional on her passing the pre-employment physical exam. So far, so legal. You send her to a third-party health care vendor. Do you know what that clinic is asking her? Is it legal? One judge recently ruled that inappropriate inquiries from such vendors could trigger an even closer examination from the courts …
We are all constantly trying to figure out the limits of employees’ rights when it comes to their social media postings. But what about employers’ rights? Those rights seem to be less and less these days. But a new case involving LinkedIn helps employers draw a new line in the sand …
Sure, a birthday party may lift your spirits. But Congress probably didn’t have party attendance in mind as “covered treatment” when it gave employees the right to take FMLA medical leave. Still, should you instantly fire a worker for attending a party while on FMLA leave? As this ruling shows, you better think twice about blowing out those candles …

Many HR professionals and attorneys think the term "reasonable accommodation" in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is really a conflict of concepts. Accommodating an employee's disability often affects schedules, duties and staffing. So when is a request unreasonable? Last week, one court finally drew a line with an emplooyee who demanded "indefinite" leave ...

Are you scratching your head over all the new Facebook litigation? Who knows which employee comments are considered “protected concerted activity” or when you can legally fire workers who socially slam your company. Well, here’s a new Facebook case that involves hot dogs. The courts are on a roll, so relish these new lessons …
Really, it’s not too bad, right? You’re facing a discrimination lawsuit. Morale and company image may suffer. But at least your organization carries employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) to cover the “hard costs” of defense and settlement. Or do you? As Cracker Barrel recently learned, your EPLI umbrella policy may actually let some rain in ... $2.7 million worth, in this case.
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