Remote Work for School Principal Is Not Reasonable ADA Accommodation if Physical Presence Is Essential, Federal Court Rules

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently rejected a school principal’s argument that remote work was a reasonable accommodation for her asthma and restrictive lung disease that she claimed were exacerbated by the poor condition of the school building in which she worked.

IRS Finalizes Rules to Collect Taxes on Erroneously Claimed Employee Retention Credits and Other COVID-19 Tax Credits

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have finalized rules for the recapture of erroneously claimed Employee Retention Credits (ERC) and other tax credits provided to employers for COVID-19 paid sick and family leave, treating them as an underpayment of taxes that may be assessed and collected. The new final rules were published on July 26, 2023, and remove and replace the temporary and proposed regulations released in 2020 and 2021.

EEOC Issues Proposed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Regulations

On August 11, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will publish its proposed regulations on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) in the Federal Register. The proposed regulations expand upon employers’ responsibilities under the PWFA and contain interpretive guidance expounding on those responsibilities.

Louisiana Creates New Employee Right to Unpaid Leave for Health Screenings

Governor John Bel Edwards recently signed into law Act No. 210, which provides unpaid leave for employees in Louisiana to receive genetic testing and preventive cancer screening. The act requires employees to satisfy numerous criteria to qualify for the leave, while adding to an employer’s posting and notice obligations to employees of their newly created leave rights. The new law becomes effective on August 1, 2023.

Biden Administration Renews Focus on Disability Discrimination as ADA Turns 33

In a presidential proclamation on the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), President Biden stated that the landmark civil rights law “has had a profound impact,” but the United States has “much more to do,” signaling a continued emphasis by the administration on disability discrimination.

Fido, Sit … Stay … and Roll Over for Your Court-Ordered ADA Inspection

In the employment context, employers are required to consider whether an employee’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) request to bring a service animal or an emotional support animal (ESA) to work qualifies as a reasonable accommodation for that employee’s disability, and, if so, whether allowing the animal in the workplace would be an undue hardship. To properly handle such requests, the ADA requires employers to engage in an interactive process to determine whether and how to provide accommodations to disabled employees.

Mandatory Vacation Days Under Mexico’s Federal Labor Law: What Employers Need to Know

Regardless of hierarchy or job position, employees in Mexico are entitled to paid vacation days as a statutory mandatory benefit. Vacation days shall be granted to employees at least pursuant to the minimum statutory terms set forth in Mexico’s Federal Labor Law (FLL). This article highlights the key points of the FLL’s requirements related to the vacation entitlement.

Maine Raises Discrimination Damages Caps and Expands Employee Protections

Maine recently wrapped a busy 2023 legislative session that brought several significant legal changes relevant for employers. Those changes include increasing the cap on damages for violations of the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA), expanding the protections of Maine Equal Pay Law to include race, amending the Workers’ Compensation Act to permit individual liability for sexual harassment and sexual assault, allowing non-tipped restaurant workers to participate in tip pools, and prohibiting employers from requiring veterinarians to enter into noncompete agreements.

Formal Medical Diagnosis Not Required at Time of Wisconsin Fair Employment Act Accommodation Request, State Court Rules

In a decision providing guidance to employers facing requests for health-related accommodations, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held in Wingra Redi-Mix Inc. v. Labor and Industry Review Commission that a formal diagnosis at the time of an employee’s request for accommodation is not required to raise the protections of the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act.

Fifth Circuit Weighs in for the First Time Since COVID-19 as to When Remote Work Can Be Reasonable Accommodation

Fifth Circuit precedent recognizes the “general consensus among courts” that regular, in-person work is an essential function of most jobs. Yet the continued viability of this premise has been in question, given the ability of thousands of employees to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has in turn created hurdles for employers seeking to bring employees back into the physical workplace while facing a barrage of accommodation requests under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to work from home.

Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Religious Accommodation Title VII Case

On June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court of the United States revived an employee’s religious discrimination lawsuit, unanimously holding that to deny a sincere religious accommodation request under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employers must show that the burden of granting it “would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.”

Minnesota Enacts State Partial Paid Family and Medical Leave

During the 2023 legislative session, Minnesota became the latest state to offer statewide paid family and medical leave, providing partial wage replacement for eligible employees for 12–20 weeks in a 52-week period for medical leave, bonding, caring for a family member, safety leave, or a qualifying exigency leave. The newly passed program comes as part of a series of sweeping and fundamental changes to Minnesota employment law made in the 2023 legislative session.

Right-to-Weed States: Assessing Impairment and Managing Employee Conduct in the Workplace

The spread of state legalization of recreational and medical marijuana continues to create challenges for employers who seek to enforce drug-testing and drug-free workplace policies. Even in right-to-weed states that have enacted employment protections for lawful and off-duty marijuana use, employers are not required to permit employees to use marijuana in the workplace or to work while impaired by or under the influence of marijuana or other drugs. Here are some key points on the ways in which employers.

Four Key (and Surprising) Points for Navigating FMLA Leave

Complying with the various legal and practical requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and its regulations is an ongoing challenge for employers, particularly when it comes to questions about when an employee qualifies for leave. Here are some key points regarding the FMLA that employers may want to consider.

Minnesota Extends Protections and Accommodations for Pregnant and Lactating Employees

On May 24, 2023, Governor Tim Walz signed into law legislation that further expands protections for nursing and pregnant employees in Minnesota. The amendment, included in Senate File 3035, builds on the changes that became effective in January 2022 to Minnesota’s nursing mothers and pregnancy accommodations law (Minn. Stat. § 181.939).

The COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Has Ended—But Do the Accommodations Continue?

On May 11, 2023, the COVID-19 public health emergency ended, creating uncertainty as to employers’ continued obligation to accommodate employees due to pandemic-related reasons. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sought to address these questions through an update that it issued on May 15, 2023, to its COVID-19 technical assistance, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.”

The Public Health Emergency Has Ended; Colorado Employees May Use Public Health Emergency Leave for Three More Weeks

The end of the public health emergency (PHE) began the sunsetting of the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act’s requirement for employers in Colorado to provide PHE leave stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that Colorado employees may use PHE leave through June 8, 2023.

High Court Mulls How Far Employers Must Go to Accommodate Employees’ Religious Practices

During recent oral arguments, justices for the Supreme Court of the United States seemed conflicted on whether to upend the existing standard that allows an employer to refuse religious accommodations to its employees if the employer can show that granting the accommodation would involve more than a “de minimis” cost to the employer.