Verizon agreed to pay a record $20 million to settle a suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to the EEOC, Verizon had violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to make exceptions to its “no fault” attendance plans to accommodate employees with disabilities. If your company has an attendance policy wherein a certain number of absences triggers a disciplinary action, make sure that policy includes accommodations for employees with disabilities.
Speaking of the ADA, here’s a great post from TLNT.com about how the ADA can be abused by an employee who doesn’t want to take a drug test, and how to avoid such issues. (You might want to let your clients know if you handle drug testing for them, so they can avoid such situations.)
The EEOC also released the news this month that retaliation has overtaken race as the basis for the most claims made. Of course, retaliation doesn’t just mean direct action against the person making the claim; as we discussed back in March, third-party retaliation is every bit as non-kosher as direct retaliation.
One area of retaliation you don’t have to worry about is the legal admissibility of Facebook posts as official complaints. A Florida district court ruled that a social media gripe is no substitute for a formal complaint regarding salary or other working conditions.
Also in Florida, a worker’s comp judge ruled that if a worker is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to worker’s comp benefits, even if that worker is in this nation illegally. All the more reason to make sure your workforce is legal. (If you use E-Verify to guarantee that your associates are authorized to work in the U.S., let your clients know that!)
And finally, in the “Sweet lord, what were you thinking?!” category, a federal district court judge in Virginia ruled on a case that’s almost a perfect storm of bad ideas: on an employee’s first day back following an FMLA leave to recover from cancer surgery, she was greeted by her supervisor not with balloons and a teddy bear in a hospital gown, but with this: “I want you just to go find a new job and tell me you found a new job and part our ways … (F)ocus on getting a new job; that should be your immediate priority.” The employee sued for retaliation (see above!) based on taking FMLA leave, and won. The takeaways from the case are spelled out really well in the link; not surprisingly, the main one is “don’t be awful when someone comes back to work after taking a medical leave.”
But you’d never do anything like that, of course. That’s why we love working with you!