The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which was signed into law on December 29, 2022, went into effect on June 27, 2023. The EEOC has started to accept PWFA charges and has issued guidance and resources to help employers comply with the expanded requirements. On August 11, 2023, the EEOC also published a Proposed Rule to implement the PWFA, which outlines the agency’s interpretation of the PWFA, and includes specific examples of possible reasonable accommodations. Public comments concerning the Proposed Rule can be submitted until October 10, 2023.
On July 26, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued updated guidance, Visual Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act, addressing how the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) applies to job applicants and employees with visual disabilities. The guidance addresses various topics including: (1) when an employer may ask a job applicant or employee questions about his or her vision impairment and how an employer should treat voluntary disclosures; (2) what types of reasonable accommodations applicants or employees with visual disabilities may need; (3) safety concerns about applicants and employees with visual disabilities; and (4) ensuring no employee is harassed because of a visual disability.…
On October 25, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) expanded its prior guidance “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” to include recommendations for employers who receive religious objections from employees in response to the employer’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. Specifically, the EEOC added section L to its prior guidance, which addresses specific questions relating to religious objections. The newly added questions are set forth below. All employers should review and familiarize themselves with this guidance as they continue to face objections and accommodation requests from employees with respect to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Continue Reading EEOC Publishes New Guidance Regarding Objections to COVID-19 Vaccines Based Upon Employee Religious Beliefs
On March 4, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) updated its COVID-19 related guidance. In addition to addressing whether an employer may ask about symptoms, take employees’ temperatures, and require the use of personal protective equipment among other things, the DFEH addresses a question that has been top of mind for many California employers:
Continue Reading DFEH Issues Guidance to Employers Regarding Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies
On January 1, 2021, various new and amended employment laws will go into effect in California. Below is a summary of some of these laws that employers should make themselves aware of heading into the new year. All laws discussed in this post go into effect on January 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted.
Continue Reading New Employment Laws to Look Out for in 2021
On September 17, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 2694, the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”), in a 329-73 vote. The Senate will now consider the bill, which, if passed, would require employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant workers and employees with pregnancy-related conditions. The bill would clarify an employer’s obligations set forth in the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision Young v. UPS, 135 S. Ct. 1338 (2015) and subsequent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) guidance.
Continue Reading Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act Heads to the Senate
Employers in New York City should begin to immediately take steps to ensure compliance with two new local laws that, beginning March 18, 2019, will impose stricter requirements on employers to accommodate nursing mothers. The new bills passed by the New York City Council became law on November 17, 2018, after Mayor Bill de Blasio failed to sign or veto the two pieces of legislation. While the new laws provide employers with a 120-day grace period, employers would be wise to utilize this short time period to understand the new requirements and undertake whatever efforts are necessary to be in compliance when the new requirements take effect this Spring.
Continue Reading Mother’s Milk: NYC Braces for New Workplace Lactation Room Requirements
With ever-increasing employer health care costs, it’s not surprising that Workplace Wellness Programs are becoming more common and comprehensive. According to Fidelity Investment’s fifth annual wellness survey, 95% of companies plan to offer some kind of health improvement program for their employees, and plan to spend an average of $594 per employee on wellness-based incentives. In a bid to reduce health care costs, and protect employees and customers from illness, many employers have implemented coercive, or even mandatory Workplace Wellness Programs. When these programs make employee participation a term and condition of employment, employers must administer them with care or risk violating federal, state and/or local employment laws.
Continue Reading Promoting Wellness, Not Litigation
The Seventh Circuit recently held in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. that a long-term leave of absence, particularly one extending beyond the twelve weeks of leave guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), does not warrant protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
Raymond Severson was terminated from his job as a fabricator at Heartland after he exhausted his 12-week medical leave under the FMLA and requested to remain off work for several additional months to recover from back surgery. Severson sued Heartland under the ADA, arguing Heartland failed to provide him with a reasonable accommodation—namely, a three-month leave of absence following the expiration of his FMLA leave.
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Holds Long-Term Leave is Not a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA
As reported in our new laws for 2017 post, employers must give written notice to new employees (and to current employees upon request) explaining the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. All California employers with at least 25 employees must be in compliance, effective July 1, 2017.
Continue Reading Now in Effect: California Employers Must Provide New Hires with Written Notice of Victim Rights
In Luis Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, the California Court of Appeal held that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) – which requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities – now requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees who are associated with a disabled person. This is an unprecedented decision and will likely to be appealed. Until that time, employers should train supervisors to seek assistance from human resources when making accommodations decisions, and to treat any such decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Continue Reading Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express: The Reasonable Accommodation of an Employee’s Family