LaCourt v. Shenanigans Knits, Ltd., No. 102391/11 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty., Nov. 14, 2012): While still employed by defendants, the plaintiff informed her supervisor of her recent breast cancer diagnosis and her decision to undergo a double mastectomy. Prior to her scheduled surgery date, the plaintiff met with the company’s president, who informed her that the company was discharging her because of the significant recovery time required for her surgery and the importance of her position. The plaintiff filed suit, alleging disability discrimination in violation of the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law. The defendants moved for summary judgment and argued that the plaintiff could not perform the essential functions of her job because she planned to be absent from work for more than three months. The court rejected this argument and held that the defendants had ignored their legal obligation to consider a reasonable accommodation and to engage in the interactive process. While the court recognized that an employer is not required to hold a position open indefinitely, it held that a temporary leave of absence, even an extended leave, can be a reasonable accommodation. Here, defendants did not engage in the interactive process at all and ultimately failed to establish that they would have suffered an undue hardship by granting the plaintiff a three-month leave of absence. This case reiterates that, while an extended leave of absence may pose an undue hardship for some positions, employers must engage in the interactive process and consider the feasibility of such an accommodation on a case-by-case basis prior to outright rejecting an extended leave request.
On March 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued guidance to DOT-regulated employers, employees, and service agents regarding drug and alcohol testing concerns during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the guidance, the DOT explains its commitment to maintaining public safety while simultaneously providing flexibility to transportation industries operating during the national emergency.
On January 4, 2021, the City of Toronto announced that employers and workplaces operating in Toronto’s public health unit will be subject to new reporting requirements regarding positive COVID-19 cases. In addition, Toronto Public Health announced that it will begin reporting data on workplace outbreaks effective January 7, 2021.
On March 5, 2009, Governor Jon S. Corzine signed legislation limiting to 180 days the length of unpaid suspensions of law enforcement officers and firefighters pending a (non-criminal) disciplinary proceeding. If the proceeding has not been resolved within 180 days, the individual can regain pay status. Additionally, the law provides for certain procedures designed to expedite the disciplinary hearing process.