Updates: Articles & Updates

Out, Out and Away – The EEOC’s Guidance on Extending Leave As An ADA Accommodation

On Monday, May 9, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new resource document entitled “Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act” which details the steps the agency believes employers must take to accommodate employees who need time away from work in connection with medical issues. Employers should be prepared to consider time off as a reasonable accommodation when employees need medical treatment or rehabilitation to enable them to perform essential job functions.

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New Equal Pay Law in California

A new year brings new changes for employers with employees working in California, who are now subject to one of the most stringent equal pay laws in the country. Effective January 1, 2016, the California Fair Pay Act (“Act”) aims to shrink the gender wage gap by making several significant changes to California’s equal pay law. The Act provides greater protections to employees by broadening the scope of individuals who may be compared and by narrowing the factors an employer may rely on to justify a wage discrepancy. The Act also shifts to the employer the burden of proof to show that wage differences are not gender-based.

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Responding to Accommodation Requests

Employers continue to struggle with how best to respond to employees with medical issues who request accommodations. With the EEOC’s renewed focus on disability issues and pregnancy-related limitations, employers must take care to understand, handle, and document accommodation requests carefully. As detailed in Hollie Reiminger and Larry Stuart’s recent article in the April 6, 2015 issue of Texas Lawyer, employers should assume that although every accommodation request will be unique, having a standard way of responding to such requests will minimize legal risks.

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Why is Breaking Up So Hard to Do?

Nobody likes a bad breakup. Getting closure with a terminated employee is getting harder thanks to recent actions by the EEOC and the NLRB challenging what many regarded as standard severance agreement language. On April 1, 2015, the SEC announced its first enforcement action against a company for using improperly restrictive language in confidentiality agreements. Employers should review their agreements to ensure they don’t run afoul of the latest agency enforcement positions, a topic addressed in a December 1, 2014 Texas Lawyer article authored by Cheri Thomas and Larry Stuart.

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Out Sick, or Sick of Work?

What’s a manager to do with employees who can’t do their jobs because of medical issues? Employers continue to struggle with how best to handle workers who seem to be more focused on their work limitations than on getting the job done. Managers with good intentions may expose themselves to personal liability and put their company at risk. As detailed in Ehsan Tabesh and Larry Stuart’s article entitled “Out Sick, or Sick of Work” in the March/April 2014 issue of Well Servicing magazine, managers should take time to understand and handle employee medical issues very carefully.

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Is That Worker Really an Independent Contractor?

Classifying workers as contractors presents an array of legal risks.  And with the DOL, IRS and state workforce agencies on the lookout for companies that have misclassified workers as independent contractors, companies should proceed with caution.  Hollie Reiminger and Larry Stuart’s article in the January 2014 issue of Well Servicing details the legal standards and risks associated with use of independent contractors.  Click here for a copy of the article.

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