How long is too long, when an employee requests leave for medical reasons? Employers have received welcome guidance from the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on this question. In Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., No. 15-3754 (7th Cir. Sept. 20, 2017), the Seventh Circuit held that a request for a two to three month leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is as close to a bright-line rule as could be hoped for in this all too murky area of ADA law.

Continue Reading Two to Three Month Leave of Absence Not a Reasonable Accommodation, 7th Circuit Holds

It is a rare employer that has not fielded employee requests for time off to address a health concern. The requests can come in many shapes and sizes: weeks or months of leave, a few days of leave, sporadic days off here and there, taking certain hours off each day, rest breaks throughout the day, or any combination thereof. Indeed, many larger employers receive these requests monthly or even weekly; some employ designated staff or even an entire department to help respond appropriately. With the ADA, FMLA, workers’ comp, employer policies, operational concerns, past practices, and other considerations all in play, the rules can be tricky, and solutions not always clear. Continue Reading Love It or Leave It: Leaves of Absence the Focus of EEOC’s New ADA Accommodation Guidance

As spring turns into summer and the weather warms up, employers may notice an increase in employee absences. While spotty or unpredictable attendance can cause staffing issues and frustration for employers, certain absences, even irregular ones, may be protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The FMLA entitles eligible employees to twelve workweeks of unpaid leave during any twelve-month period, either consecutively or on an intermittent basis in certain circumstances, including when medically necessary to care for a seriously ill family member or because of the employee’s own serious health condition.

While intermittent leave is designed to serve the needs of employees who need to be absent from time to time to address legitimate health problems, occasionally, employees’ use of intermittent leave can create serious headaches for employers and raise concerns about FMLA abuse. Below are two common scenarios of possible FMLA abuse and strategies for employers to address these issues. Continue Reading Intermittent Leave or Spring Break? Tips to Help Prevent FMLA Abuse

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) prohibits discrimination, retaliation, and harassment in the workplace. Recent amendments to FEHA’s implementing regulations issued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing include significant new obligations for employers, and clarify a range of important issues.

The amendments take effect on April 1, 2016. The full text of the amended regulations can be found here. We summarize below some of the more significant provisions. Continue Reading New Regulations Implementing California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act Go Into Effect April 1, 2016

Effective July 1, 2015, California will join Connecticut and Massachusetts[1] in providing mandatory paid sick leave for employees who work in the state at least 30 days within a year, and who are employed for at least 90 days. Under the new law, employees will accrue at least 1 hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, for approximately 8 days a year for full-time employees. However, the new law allows an employer to limit the amount of paid sick leave its employees may take in one year to 24 hours (3 days). Employees must be allowed to carry over unused sick leave from one year to the next, but an employer can cap the amount of sick leave an employee may accrue at 48 hours (6 days). This law applies to all California employees regardless of whether they are part-time or temporary employees, with limited exceptions. Even small employers are subject to the new rules.

AB 1522 requires employees be allowed to take paid sick leave for either their own health condition or the health condition of a family member, including preventative treatment. Family members include the employee’s parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, and sibling. Employers are not required to increase the number of paid leave days allowed for in existing policies if they provide for equal benefits as the new law. Continue Reading California Becomes Third State to Require Paid Sick Leave

To help employers prepare for the new year, this Alert addresses certain legislative developments in 2015 that are likely to affect employers this year under federal law as well as in Illinois, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., Georgia, Michigan and Texas. Continue Reading 2015 Legislative Developments

On September 10, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1522, known as the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.” This bill requires California employers, large and small, to provide paid sick leave for their employees. California and Connecticut are the only states in the country thus far to mandate paid sick leave. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2015.

Coverage: Unlike certain other employment laws that are limited to larger employers, there is no minimum number of employees required to trigger coverage under AB 1522. The law broadly extends paid sick leave to most employees, with limited exceptions for certain employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, to providers of in-home supportive services, and to certain employees of air carriers. The exclusion for employees covered by collective bargaining agreements applies if the agreement expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of employees, and expressly provides for 1) paid sick days or a paid leave or paid time off policy that permits the use of sick days for those employees; 2) final and binding arbitration of disputes concerning the application of its paid sick days provisions; 3) premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked; and 4) regular hourly rate of pay of not less than 30% more than the state minimum wage rate. A separate exclusion also applies to employees in the construction industry covered by a collective bargaining agreement if the agreement includes specified provisions and was entered into before January 1, 2015 or expressly waives the requirements of AB 1522. Continue Reading California Passes Paid Sick Leave Law and Other Recent Legislation

This Alert highlights certain federal law developments as well as those occurring in Illinois, California, New York and Georgia that will affect employers in 2014. No significant employment-related statutory developments are to take effect in 2014 in Michigan or Washington, DC. Continue Reading 2014 Legislative Developments