Employment Law

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Problem: You decide to transfer Jim to a department to do different work that is performed primarily by women. The women there are paid less than what Jim was paid in his former job. Do you reduce Jim’s pay to the women’s level to avoid an Equal Pay Act claim?
Ten states already prohibit employers from requiring employees and job applicants to hand over their personal website passwords, and now the House of Representatives is considering similar national legislation.
Let’s face it: Some employees are a bit strange. Sometimes, their behavior may even be an indication of serious mental health problems. But before you rush to demand the employee get counseling or see a doctor, remember that the ADA prohibits such requests unless there is a clear business necessity for the exam.
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.
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