Employment Law

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Because the ADA requires employees to show they are disabled based on individual restrictions, a class-action lawsuit against an employer isn’t appropriate in most cases.
The U.S. Supreme Court on May 28 let stand a lower court’s ruling that employers may be required to reassign a disabled employee to a vacant position as an ADA reasonable accommodation if the employee can’t perform his or her current job.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel. Workers at the company’s Gary, Ind., plant claim they should be compensated for the time it takes them to change clothes for work at the work site.
Rebuffing the EEOC, a federal judge has ruled that U.S. Steel can randomly test new workers for substance abuse.
Q. An employee requested an accommodation for a medical issue. We asked her to provide a note from her medical provider regarding the need for accommodation. She brought in a note but it’s unclear what the physician is trying to say. What should we do?
A bill requiring hospitals and other health care facilities to meet target nurse-to-patient ratios has made it out of a Minnesota House of Repre­­sentatives committee. The Standards of Care Act requires hospitals to meet staffing levels recommended by professional nursing specialty organizations.
Under the ADA and the MHRA, disabled workers are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Deciding what’s reasonable requires an interactive process in which both employer and employee discuss options that allow the employee to perform essen­­tial job functions. The employer then can choose which accommodation it prefers.
Q. We would like to ask all of our employees to sign arbitration agreements. However, in light of the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision in AT&T Mobility v. Conception, we would like these arbitration agreements to contain class-action waivers. How should we handle this process, given that we are in the transportation industry?
Q. We currently have 15 employees, but several work part time. Are we required to provide reasonable accommodations under the ADA or the MHRA?

The NLRB has been stung several times in recent months, but continues to sting back. First, a federal appeals court ruled that several board members had been illegally appointed. Then an NLRB decision favoring striking health care workers was overturned. Regaining its footing, the NLRB decided to punish a nonunion em­­ployer for discouraging unionization in its handbook.

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