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Seventh Circuit Issues Another ADA Decision Involving Obesity Disability, Finds Future Impairments Are Not Covered

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has issued another ruling regarding an obesity-related disability accommodation request under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Earlier this past summer, we reported on another Seventh Circuit case, in which the court held that obesity is not an ADA-protected disability unless it is caused by a physiological disorder or condition. In Ronald Shell v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company, the Seventh Circuit reversed a district court's decision, and ruled that an obese applicant for a safety-sensitive position—who was not hired due to his obesity—cannot claim discrimination under the "regarded as" prong of the ADA. More ›

Federal Court in Montana Rules Demand for a Supervisor Reassignment is not an Appropriate Accommodation under the ADA

If you do not like your boss, can you demand your employer provide you with a new one? A federal district court in Montana recently rejected such an accommodation request in a well-reasoned case involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related state law. While the court did not rule out the requested accommodation as unreasonable as a matter of law, it did find the request was not appropriate under the facts of the case. More ›

California Law Prohibits No-Rehire Provisions in Settlement Agreements

California law typically frowns on contracts that restrict a person's ability to engage in trade for their chosen profession. In keeping with this philosophy, the California legislature has passed AB 749, which was recently signed into law by Governor Newsom. Employers are encouraged to review their settlement agreements to address the new prohibition of no-rehire provisions before the law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. More ›

NLRB Provides Section 7 Guidance to Employers Regarding Drafting of Arbitration Agreements

There is an ongoing tension between the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board") and employers who seek to expand the use of an arbitration forum to resolve employment disputes. The U.S. Supreme Court has continued to endorse the idea that arbitration is both an important part of national labor policy and a reasonable alternative to litigation in court for employment-related disputes. As the Board issues new opinions and interprets guidance from the Supreme Court, employers are in a position to gain better insight and avoid problematic drafting mistakes in arbitration agreements. More ›

The Suggestion Box: Useful Management Tool or Unlawful Solicitation of Grievances

T-Mobile USA, Inc. ("T-Mobile") in 2015 created T-Voice, a nationwide program through which customer service representatives could submit "pain points" regarding certain aspects of the job, including ideas to improve customer service. The majority of these pain points addressed customer service issues, such as billing, fraud procedures, access to computer programs, and at times, the type of music customers were subjected to while on hold. Some of the suggestions have led to action being taken by T-Mobile, like requests for device-charging stations, which resulted in T-Mobile installing three stations. More ›

Under Surveillance: Investigating Intermittent FMLA Abuse

Since being enacted in the early 1990s, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has provided meaningful protections for employees dealing with their own serious health issues or those of immediate family members through continuous and intermittent leave options. Human resource professionals and employment lawyers alike recognize how valuable intermittent leave is for employees needing periodic care; however, they also recognize this form of leave also is abused. Employers need to be able to effectively investigate suspected benefit abuse and discourage the dishonest use of the FMLA. More ›

Significant Win for Franchisors as McDonald's Dodges Franchisee Wage and Hour Claims

In a major victory for franchisors, a panel of the Ninth Circuit recently held that McDonald's Corporation cannot be liable as a joint employer for the wage and hour violations of its franchisees. Importantly, the court held that McDonald's involvement with its franchises and franchise workers is focused on maintaining brand standards and "does not represent control over wages, hours or working conditions." However, uncertainty remains over the liability of franchisors that impose more than just branding and marketing standards on its franchisees. More ›

Overtime Rules Update: DOL Adjusts Minimum Salary Requirement for Salaried Employees

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) made official a new regulation increasing the minimum salary level that salaried employees must be paid to be exempt from overtime. As of January 1, 2020, if a salaried employee makes less than $684 per week—or $35,568 per year—the employee will be entitled to overtime for the hours worked beyond 40 hours in a week. More ›

NLRB Proposes Rule that Would Deny Undergraduate and Graduate Students the Right to Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has proposed a new rule which would exclude undergraduate and graduate students from coverage under Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Specifically, students who perform study-related services in return for financial compensation at private colleges and universities would not be able to collectively organize as employees. The proposed rule is subject to a sixty-day comment period. More ›

NFL Running Back Union Blocked in Attempt to Form Separate Bargaining Unit

A unit clarification petition filed by the fledgling International Brotherhood of Professional Running Backs (IBPRB) was dismissed on September 17, 2019, by the Acting Regional Director of Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The IBPRB wanted to carve out running backs from the collective bargaining agreement between the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)—the union that represents all NFL players—so that they could negotiate their own labor contract with the NFL. The IBPRB cited several reasons for their petition, including  "unique career structures," along with a claim that the mini-max rookie wage contract is economically harmful to running backs, but "advantageous" to quarterbacks. More ›

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