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Can An Employer Terminate An Employee Who Refuses to Wear a Mask at Work?

Can An Employer Terminate An Employee Who Refuses to Wear a Mask at Work?

As several states see dramatic increases in the number of people who test positive for COVID-19, employers must be very proactive in taking steps to protect workers and customers from the spread of the virus.  According to OSHA, employers should assess worker exposure to hazards and risks and implement infection prevention measures to reasonably address them consistent with OSHA Standards. Such measures could include promoting frequent and thorough handwashing or sanitizing with at least 60% alcohol hand sanitizer; encouraging workers to stay at home if sick; encouraging the use of cloth face coverings; and training them on proper respiratory etiquette, social distancing, and other steps they can take to protect themselves. Employers should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, sink handles, workstations, restroom stalls) at least daily, or as much as possible. 

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Can An Employer Fire an Employee Because of Noisy Kids in the Background of Work Teleconference Calls? It Depends.

Can An Employer Fire an Employee Because of Noisy Kids in the Background of Work Teleconference Calls? It Depends.

A friend sent me an article about a woman who claimed that she was terminated from her job because her kids were heard in the background of her teleconference calls when she was working from home due to the pandemic.  She has retained a lawyer and is suing her employer, claiming gender discrimination, retaliation, gender harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful termination (this happened in California).  

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Is a Genetic Mutation a Disability? The Sixth Circuit Says Maybe.

Is a Genetic Mutation a Disability? The Sixth Circuit Says Maybe.

Is a genetic mutation disability?  Specifically,  is the genetic mutation known as a BRCA1 mutation (Angelina Jolie revealed that she has this mutation) a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) even though the employee has not yet developed breast cancer?  In a case of first impression, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said maybe.  (Darby v. Childvine, Inc., No. 19-4214 (6th Cir. June 30, 2020)).

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Testing Employees for COVID-19: What Employers Can and Cannot Do

Testing Employees for COVID-19: What Employers Can and Cannot Do

COVID-19 is still among us. Indeed, there are areas of the country where COVID-19 cases are surging.  In those areas especially, employers want to minimize the spread of the virus to other employees and customers or clients. So what tests can an employer require from employees to determine whether they have COVID-19?

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Who is the Equal Opportunity Harasser and Why Do We Care?

Who is the Equal Opportunity Harasser and Why Do We Care?

Who is the Equal Opportunity Harasser? It is the person who asks both men and women questions about their favorite sexual positions. The person who tells jokes that offend pretty much every ethnic group. The manager that screams at everyone and takes special delight in making employees cry. Basically, this is a person who is a complete jerk and a bully.

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OSHA Has Issued Guidance for Returning to Work From COVID-19 Restrictions–Who in Your Workplace Will Make Sure That It is Implemented?

OSHA Has Issued Guidance for Returning to Work From COVID-19 Restrictions–Who in Your Workplace Will Make Sure That It is Implemented?

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, businesses are reopening and employees are returning to work. To assist employers and workers in safely returning to work and reopening businesses deemed by local authorities as “non-essential businesses” during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, on June 17, 2020, OSHA issued some new Guidance on Returning to Work for employers. OSHA tells us that this Guidance does not have the force of law; the “recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.” Nevertheless, in the event that an employer is faced with an employee complaint to OSHA, a surprise OSHA inspection, or a lawsuit, that employer can only benefit by showing its documented compliance with OSHA’s own “recommendations.”

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Words and Actions: How Employers Should Respond To The Supreme Court Decision on LBGTQ Employment Rights

Words and Actions: How Employers Should Respond To The Supreme Court Decision on LBGTQ Employment Rights

As everyone should be aware, this week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits covered employers from discriminating against employees or applicants on the grounds of sexual orientation, sexual identity, and transgender status. This is a pretty big deal in the employment law world and presents a new legal compliance issue for many employers in states that do not offer legal protections to LGBTQ workers.

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OSHA Requires More Employers to Determine Whether Employee COVID-19 Cases are Work-Related

OSHA Requires More Employers to Determine Whether Employee COVID-19 Cases are Work-Related

Remember when we told you that only health-care employers, corrections facilities, and emergency-response providers were required by OSHA to determine whether an employee’s COVID-19 was work-related?  Well, other types of businesses had better pay attention because OSHA has issued some new guidance that expands the recording of COVID-19 cases.

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Pregnant Woman Looking at the stars

How Is An Employer Expected to Accommodate A Pregnant Worker?

As we prepare for a possible post-coronavirus baby boom, it’s a good time to look at the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Some employers have carved out light duty jobs that are reserved for workers who have suffered work-related injuries.  These jobs are used to transition injured workers off of workers’ compensation benefits and back to work.  However, a new case out the Eleventh Circuit Court tells us that the employer that fails to offer these light duty jobs to pregnant employees with medical restrictions risks being liable for discrimination. (Durham v. Rural/Metro Corp. , 11th Cir., 18-14687, 4/17/20 ).

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