We are excited to share the next installment of our video series, Conducting Workplace Investigations | Step #2: Interview the Complainant. This series, 10 Steps Every Company Should Take When Conducting Workplace Investigations, is intended to guide HR leaders faced with investigating a complaint between coworkers, such as harassment or inappropriate conduct,
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of a disability and requires employers engage in an interactive process and provide reasonable accommodations. A failure to do so may result in liability.
The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees. A “reasonable accommodation” is defined as assistance or a change to a position or workplace that accommodates employees with disabilities so they can do the job without causing the employer undue hardship, such as too much difficulty or expense.
Use the Interactive Process to Determine Reasonable Accommodation
In order to determine the appropriate reasonable accommodation, employers and employees must engage in the interactive process, which requires communication and good-faith exploration of possible accommodations. An employer that acts in bad faith in the interactive process may be liable if it can be reasonably concluded that the employee would have been able to perform the job with a reasonable accommodation.
It’s a two-way street: an employee must also make a good faith effort to comply with any of the employer’s reasonable requests.
We are excited to share the first installment of our newest video series,
10 Steps Every Company Should Take When Conducting Workplace
Investigations. This series is intended to guide HR leaders faced with investigating a complaint between coworkers, such as harassment or inappropriate conduct, through the investigation process.
Each video in this series…
I recently provided insight for an article outlining how companies should discuss retirement plans with their older employees. I explained that an annual review period would be an appropriate time to discuss an employee’s upcoming plans for retirement and any need for success planning.
“Employers should pose questions to employees about retirement plans with the sole goal of understanding staffing needs for future workforce planning,” I explained. “This discussion should be general in nature, should not make reference to the employee’s age or ‘generational’ comments, and should promptly end if the employee indicates that retirement is not a consideration at that point.”
Student loan debt in the United States is escalating, and employers are finding it harder to fill open positions. In an effort to tackle both of these issues, more employers have been offering student loan repayment opportunities as part of the benefits packages they offer employees. In an article published by the Nashville Business Journal, I discussed student loan repayment benefits offered by employers and the IRS’s ruling last year regarding this issue.
For example, employers can offer student loan debt management programs that offer counseling services and access to student loan marketplaces or more favorable finance terms. In May 2018, the IRS issued a ruling allowing an employer to make contributions to its 401(k) plan on behalf of employees who make payments toward their student loan.
More and more companies are implementing socially conscious policies on topics ranging from banning the use of plastic-ware to refusing to reimburse employees for meals that include meat or are otherwise non-vegan. Companies are generally free to implement these types of policies, as long as employees are not unlawfully discriminated against as part of the policy. I recently examined the legality of company implementation of socially conscious policies in the workplace in an article published Workplace Magazine.
“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin, and the American with Disabilities Act protects employees with disabilities; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination. But there is no employment law protecting an employee’s right to use plastic,” I explained.
7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Program
This event will be held at our Nashville Bass, Berry & Sims office.
Topics will include:…
Bass, Berry & Sims invites you to a complimentary seminar focusing on trending areas of labor & employment law.
Topics will include:
- FMLA/ADA Considerations for Leaves of Absence: A practical, scenario-based discussion regarding extended leaves of absence and how they are regulated by application of the FMLA and the ADA, including a detailed discussion of the EEOC’s position with respect to extended leave as a reasonable accommodation.
- Preventing and Addressing Workplace Violence: A comprehensive discussion of workplace violence, including strategies for preventing and properly addressing acts of violence in the workplace.
- An Employers Approach to Reducing Harassment: Questions employers should ask as they strive to reduce harassment in the workplace and cultivate a healthy working environment.
The recent Sixth Circuit opinion in Hostettler v. The College of Wooster, No. 17-3406 (6th Cir. July 17, 2018), is a cautionary tale for employers faced with a full-time employee seeking a modified work schedule as an accommodation for a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
An HR Generalist for the College, Hostettler was unable to return to work full time after the conclusion of her 12 weeks of maternity leave because of postpartum depression and separation anxiety. The district court granted summary judgment to the College, finding that full-time work was an essential function of the position and that Hostettler was not a qualified individual under the ADA because she could not perform that essential function.
Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Dustin Carlton discussed the tension that exists between state and federal laws regarding medical marijuana use in the workplace. While marijuana remains a controlled substance under federal law and currently illegal to use, many states have legalized the drug for medical and even recreational use. Many employers are faced with remaining compliant with these opposing laws. Dustin recommends employers review any current zero-tolerance policies in light of new state laws, “If you are a multi-state employer, you need to assume you need to make some modifications to tailor to each individual state, or make concessions in terms of past practices.”