Unemployment at Will: CARES Act Brings Changes for Missouri Employers and New Beginnings

Unemployment insurance laws rarely change. For years, Missouri’s unemployment insurance program has remained steady. So stable, in fact, that it flew under the radar. Most Missouri employers thought about it only when deciding whether to spend the time and money to protest a claim. This was how it was envisioned to work, until the COVID-19 pandemic forced Missouri employers to revisit the unemployment benefits system.

Kansas City Issues Citywide Stay-at-Home Order

On March 21, 2020, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas issued Second Amended Order 20-01, repealing the city’s earlier Amended Order dated March 16, 2020, and replacing it with a stricter, “Stay At Home” order to contain and control the spread of COVID-19. The local governments for Johnson, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Clay, Platte, and Jackson counties in Missouri, soon joined Kansas City, Missouri, in issuing similar orders to contain and control the spread of COVID-19.

Federal Court in North Carolina Tackles Associational Discrimination Claim Brought by Teacher With Disabled Son

On February 26, 2020, in the case of Schmitz v. Alamance-Burlington Board of Education, the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss claims for associational discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), retaliation under the ADA, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. In the opinion and order, the court paved the way for the plaintiff to pursue associational discrimination claims.

Federal Court in North Carolina Rules Regarding Reasonable Accommodations

On February 24, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued an opinion in Brown v. Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. regarding disability discrimination, reasonable accommodations, and retaliation involving an employee who was unable to return to work following expiration of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. The case offers employers some guidance regarding the undue hardship analysis at a micro and macro level, ensuring compliance with the interactive process, and the best practice for handling requests for finite leave when the possibility of additional future leave is evident.

U.S. District Court Highlights Job Reinstatement Obligations After FMLA Leave

On May 6, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York denied summary judgment on a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) retaliatory transfer claim. The court found that the employer’s explanation for eliminating the plaintiff’s position while she was on leave, the timing of the decision, and remarks made during the plaintiff’s FMLA absence raised a triable issue of fact as to whether the plaintiff’s transfer was in retaliation for her exercise of FMLA rights.

Share and Share Alike: Sharing Essential Job Functions May Qualify as a Reasonable Accommodation

On April 1, 2019, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied summary judgment in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) case, determining that occasionally excusing employees from performing certain job functions does not render the function nonessential and finding that sharing tasks may be a reasonable accommodation.

Failure to Provide Employee With Adequate Pumping Breaks and Accommodations Led to $1.5 Million Verdict

In March 2010, as part of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was amended to require most employers to provide nonexempt employees “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk”; and “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”

Working for the Weekend: Denial of Pay Premium Due to FMLA-Related Absences Does Not Violate the FMLA

On January 8, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas issued an opinion and order granting summary judgment to an employer, finding the employer did not violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by discontinuing an employee’s shift differential due to absences necessitated by FMLA leave.