Employee Leave (FMLA and ADA)

During the past week or so, various federal agencies have issued additional COVID-19 guidance of significance (more or less) to employers, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). We summarize these developments below.

Continue Reading COVID-19 Agency Update: CDC and Essential Workers, EEOC and Non-Discrimination, OSHA and COVID-19 Recordkeeping/Enforcement, DOL and Unemployment Compensation Under CARES, and VETS and COVID-19 National Guard Service

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates that private employers with 500 or fewer employees (with exceptions for certain small employers as well as health care providers and emergency responders) and some public sector employers must provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency Family and Medical Leave Act leave for specific COVID-related reasons. The Act, however, did not address what documentation, if any, an employer could request in order to substantiate the leave and receive the tax credits that will fund the leave. The DOL initially provided guidance in its Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers, but subsequently retracted it, directing employers to the Internal Revenue Service for further guidance. And on the eve of the FFCRA’s effective date of April 1, 2020, the IRS finally provided such guidance.

Continue Reading IRS Identifies What Documentation Can Be Required by Employers for FFCRA Leave, and Much More on Tax Credits

I don’t like it when the federal agencies don’t play fair. I previously blogged about the EEOC’s sneaky change in its position on whether sexual orientation discrimination is covered by Title VII (it revised its guidance without any kind of announcement. It was just suddenly… the exact opposite). And now, the Department of Labor has pulled the same trick with regard to its guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act!

Continue Reading Wait – the DOL Made Their FFCRA Guidance LESS Useful?!!

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has now directly addressed the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by issuing “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and the Coronavirus.” In this release, the EEOC noted that the rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act (the counterpart to the ADA for federal employees and contractors) still apply, but do not interfere with workplace guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (which we discussed in detail in our February 2020 Top Tip).

Continue Reading The EEOC Weighs in on COVID-19

Several years ago, I blogged about Emeryville, California’s paid sick leave ordinance, which  is the only sick leave law that allows employees to take leave specifically to care for a sick service animal. As I noted then, “[t]he concept makes sense – employees can take sick leave because they (or their family member) is temporarily incapacitated because of the illness of the [service animal]. (Not because the dog is a family member!).” I also wondered whether other jurisdictions would adopt similar provisions. But now, I’m not sure they have to.

Continue Reading Sick Leave for Service Animals?

Most human resources folks know that, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, eligible employees can take leave to care for a child with a serious health condition, and that the FMLA defines “child” as being under the age of 18. But what some perhaps don’t realize is the  FMLA has an additional definition of “child”: one over 18 years who  is “incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.” And even if they’re aware of that definition, they may not understand that the disability can be quite temporary in nature. A recent case, Gibson v. New York State Office of Mental Health, clearly makes this point.

Continue Reading FMLA to Care for Adult Child?

My interest is piqued by laws with unusual twists, like the Emeryville, California ordinance that permits the use of sick leave to care for a family member’s service animal (about which I blogged previously). Here’s another one – Pittsburgh recently passed a pregnancy accommodations ordinance that extends protections to the partners of pregnant employees!

Continue Reading Pregnancy Protections for Partners?

Last week, I attended a training seminar hosted by the EEOC.  Sharon Rennart, a Senior Attorney Advisor at the EEOC, presented in part on how the ADA may apply to employees with Opioid Use Disorder (“OUD”).  OUD may be diagnosed where there is a problematic pattern of use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, manifested over a 12-month period by the presence of at least two out of eleven elements, including:
Continue Reading What the EEOC Thinks About Opioid Use and the ADA

I often tell my crazy teenagers that it doesn’t matter what you mean to say – it matters what the other person actually hears. (I’m not sure they actually hear me when I say that…) And a recent Family and Medical Leave Act case proves my point and provides a lesson for employers. Curlee v. Lewis Bros. Bakeries Inc. of Tennessee highlights the need for employers to be very careful and very clear in their verbal communications with employees about Family and Medical Leave Act obligations.
Continue Reading Be VERY CLEAR In Your Communications About FMLA!