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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Do you get nervous and sweaty when an employee asks for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to help a sick family member? What kind of “needed care” is really needed to be eligible for FMLA leave? A court’s ruling last month helped further define the boundaries …
Finally! A court has figured it out. When disabled employees take leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s not always an open-ended ticket to calling in absent. If regular attendance is an essential element of the job, then calling in absent is not a “reasonable” accommodation.
Do you have a soft heart? Do you sometimes grant employees “special leave” to take care of their school-aged kids? We’re not talking about sick kids whose parents may be entitled to coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). We are talking about Suzie-has-a-school-play leave and Jonnie’s-school-is-closed-today leave. Beware if you allow such leave for working moms but not working dads. One court just warned, “A company’s ‘special leave’ not grounded in law just may be discriminatory.”
Who’s considered “disabled” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? Ever since the passage of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) a few years ago, the better question has been “Who isn’t?” The new law eased the definition of disability, allowing many more employees to earn accommodations at work. In this new case, a court has ruled that an employee may be protected if she can’t pick up something as light as a gallon of milk …
I know that $1 can buy a double cheeseburger on the dollar menu under the arches. But now, can I really buy myself an employment lawsuit for just 100 pennies? A court this week said that one buck’s difference in pay between men and women can buy you a sex-bias lawsuit …
Hopefully, you know to avoid questions on your job applications about applicants' "disabilities" or "medical procedures." And hold your loophole – you won’t avoid liability by using an outside recruiting firm to hand out the application. There’s only one standard when it comes to medical inquiries … the legal one.

FMLADA! Sometimes employment laws just look all blurry. Like when you’re required to grant leave to employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) … and then grant additional time off as a “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Where does one law stop and the other law start? One court recently answered this question with a bright-line finding. The ADA doesn’t always have to kick in after FMLA leave...

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.
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