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Employer Not Obligated to Substitute Paid Disability Leave for Unpaid Leave under Wisconsin FMLA if Employee Does Not Qualify as Disabled Under Plan

Wisconsin's Family Medical Leave Act (WFMLA) requires that employers allow their employees six weeks of unpaid leave following "[t]he birth of an employee's natural child." Wis. Stat. §103.10(3). The Act's substitution provision requires employers to allow an employee to substitute "paid or unpaid leave of any other type provided by the employer" for the unpaid leave provided by the statute. Id. §103.10(5)(b).  In Sherfel v. Nelson, the Plaintiff, Joan Sherfel, exhausted her short-term disability benefit following the birth of her child. She then requested and was provided additional leave under the WFMLA. When Ms. Sherfel asked to substitute paid short-term disability leave for the unpaid WFMLA leave her employer refused because she was no longer short-term disabled as defined by the plan.  More ›

Seventh Circuit Upholds Indiana's Right to Work Act

In 2012, Indiana enacted its Right to Work Act, which prohibits, among other practices, making the payment of union dues a condition of getting or keeping a job. The Act also bars the practice of requiring an individual to join a union as a condition of employment. Three weeks after its enactment, members and officers of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL-CIO (the "Union") brought suit in federal district court against Indiana's Governor, Attorney General, and Commissioner of the Department of Labor alleging that the National Labor Relations Act preempted the Right to Work Act, and further, that the Act violated the United States Constitution and the Indiana Constitution. The Indiana government defendants moved to dismiss those claims, and the federal district court granted dismissal of the preemption and constitutional violation claims. The Union appealed the dismissal. More ›

Eleventh Circuit: Exposure to Subjectively Unpleasant Weather Conditions and Deprivation of Office Amenities Is Not Adverse Employment Action

Henry McCone worked for several years as a non-driving customer service associate. His job duties involved opening received mail and preparing outgoing mail. Pitney Bowes transferred him to a position requiring him to drive correspondence and files between sites in the Orlando area. The result was McCone had to endure unfavorable weather conditions and lost regular access to office amenities, such as air conditioning, restrooms, a microwave oven, and a refrigerator. Two women who also served as customer service associates were neither trained nor required to work as a driver. More ›

Security Guard Terminated After Incident with Psychiatric Patient Cannot Advance Discrimination Claims

The Sixth Circuit recently upheld a Michigan district court's decision to dismiss a 52-year-old African-American female security guard's age, race, and sex discrimination claims arising from her discharge following an incident with a combative psychiatric patient at the hospital where she worked. More ›

New California Law Imposes Liability On Companies Where Labor Contractors Fail To Pay Wages Or Provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance

On Sunday, September 28, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1897 (D-Hernandez), which imposes liability on companies who use subcontracted temporary labor if the temp company fails to pay wages or provide valid workers’ compensation coverage. The bill applies where a temp company supplies workers to a client employer to perform labor within the client employer’s usual course of business. More ›

Fifth Circuit Broadens Definition of "Adverse Employment Action" under Title VII

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has historically been one of the more restrictive federal appellate courts in its definition of an "adverse employment action." The court recently held, however, that a city police department's restriction of a detective's responsibilities after his return from a disciplinary suspension was sufficient to fall within the category of "adverse employment action." More ›

Corporate Franchisor May Be Liable for Harassment of Franchisee Even If Unnamed In EEOC Charge.

Plaintiffs Kimberly Kulig and Laura Baatz worked at a franchise-location of Berryhill Baja Grill & Cantina in Houston, Texas. The franchise-location was owned and operated by Defendant Phillip Wattel. The two female employees filed charges with the EEOC complaining of Mr. Wattel’s sexual harassment. Mr. Wattel admitted to groping, slapping, and even biting Kulig and Baatz, arguing in his defense that Berryhill Baja Grill is a “grab-assy place.” More ›

Illinois House Bill 4157 Extends Sexual Harassment Protections to Unpaid Interns

On August 25, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law House Bill 4157, amending the Illinois Human Rights Act (the "Act") to extend the Act's sexual harassment protections to unpaid interns.  Beginning on January 1, 2015, the definition of "employee" will be expanded to include unpaid interns who meet certain criteria.   More ›

New Pregnancy Accommodation Requirements Coming to Illinois in January 2015

On August 26, 2014, Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois signed the so-called “Pregnancy Fairness bill” into law, creating broad new protections for pregnant workers in Illinois.  The legislation, which comes on the heels of the EEOC’s recent federal pregnancy discrimination guidance, amends the Illinois Human Rights Act and creates substantial new rules for employers interacting with pregnant employees and job applicants.  Notably, small employers are not exempt from the Illinois law – all employers operating in Illinois will be subject to the new rules. More ›

Strong Medicine: Clinic Owner Found Personally Liable for $1.1 Million in Back Wages after Failing to Pay H-1B Non-Immigrant Physicians’ Required Salary

Between 1998 and 2001, Dr. Mohan Kutty owned and operated a group of five rural medical clinics in rural Florida and Tennessee.  Kutty created a formal corporate structure for the clinics, but in practice treated the business as an extension of himself: he and his wife were the sole owners and corporate officers, he personally made all decisions regarding operations, and he maintained no corporate or financial reports.  To staff his clinics, Kutty hired seventeen newly-graduated foreign medical students.  The students were in the U.S. in J-1 student status; J-1 status allows foreign medical graduates to study medicine in the U.S. but generally requires them to return abroad for at least two years before seeking work in the U.S.  An exception to the two-year foreign residency requirement exists, however, allowing foreign medical graduates who have a qualifying job offer for employment in a medically-underserved area to waive the requirement and immediately enter H-1B nonimmigrant status.  Kutty’s clinics were in such underserved areas, and so he was able to obtain waiver of the graduates’ two-year J-1 foreign residency requirement and petition for their H-1B status. More ›