Seyfarth Synopsis: Seven years ago today The Employment Law Lookout Blog launched its twice weekly publications. Now as we enter a new year — we wanted to celebrate this milestone by taking a look back at our seven most popular posts of “all time.” (As compiled by our marketing team and based on number of hits/reads.) But first — and because this has always been a team effort — to all of our authors we say “good job and well done.” To all of our readers we say “thank you — very much” for following the ELL Blog. We look forward to continuing to bring you the latest and the best thought leadership blogs on employment law and liability issues and equally exciting topics! Now…. Who wants cake?
Number 1: Temporary Disabilities – No Need To Worry About The ADA, Right? Think Again, by Lawrence P. Postol. (Published: February 6, 2014.) In this blog, the author notes that if an employee had a temporary condition such as a broken leg or acute bronchitis, employers after the 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave ended, often required employees to return to work or be terminated from their employment. “In the first Court of Appeals decision to address this issue, Summers vs. Altarum Institute Corp., No. 13-1645 (4th Cir. January 23, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit (Fourth Circuit) held that after the 2008 Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the ADA now protect persons with temporary disabilities which are ‘severe.’”
Number 2: ADA Stress Claims – They Will Drive You Nuts, by Lawrence P. Postol. (Published: October 29, 2013.) In this blog, the author notes that it doesn’t take much these days for an employee to prove that a condition qualifies as a covered disability under the ADA. “Essentially any chronic condition which significantly limits a bodily function is going to qualify, and cognitive thinking and concentration are bodily functions. In most cases, chronic stress and anxiety disorders are covered by the ADA. What’s an employer to do when an employee requests an accommodation due to chronic stress, particularly if the stress is from their work?”
Number 3: The Legality of Tracking Employees By GPS, by Karla Grossenbacher. (Published: January 26, 2016.) In this blog, the author notes that technology has dramatically increased employee accountability in the workplace. For example, “in an office environment, employees are expected to respond to emails immediately because they are either sitting in front of their computers or carrying a mobile device on which they can access their email. As for employees who work outside the office, the availability of employer-issued phones and, alternatively, the proliferation of BYOD policies, has resulted in off-site employees being generally just a phone call away. In specific industries in which employees drive motor vehicles while conducting business for the employer, yet another method of accountability exists: Global Positioning Systems (GPS).”
Number 4: Cell Phones at the Workplace: Protecting Employee Safety, by Mark A. Lies, II and Adam R. Young. (Published: October 13, 2016.) In this blog, the author’s note that as OSHA’s enforcement relating to employee cell phone use gains more notoriety, it “can be expected that it will have a significant collateral impact on law enforcement at all levels to address this hazard. Bring Your Own Device programs and employee cell phone use present a range of employment and labor liabilities for employers: smartphones can be a forum for employees to engaged in protected concerted activity, an opportunity for unauthorized overtime work, and a tool to access inappropriate images and harass coworkers. Yet the biggest challenge posed by cell phones is their inappropriate use.”
Number 5: Bullying in the Workplace – What Employers Need to Know, by Arielle Eisenberg and Craig B. Simonsen. (Published: December 10, 2015.) In this blog, the author’s ask and discuss what happens when an employee reports a bullying incident on the plant floor or in the office, or for that matter, while at the company’s holiday party? Is that something that corporate management need to be concerned about? “A workplace bullying claim, to be valid under current federal law, must be couched as either discrimination or hostile work environment. Although simple run of the mill bullying on its own is not actionable, employers have a number of incentives to prevent workplace bullying such as minimizing turnover rate and increasing productivity.”
Number 6: New OSHA Rules on Drug-Testing, Retaliation Claims, and Accident Reporting, by Mark A. Lies, II, Patrick D. Joyce, Adam R. Young. (Published: June 24, 2016.) In this blog, the author’s note that OSHA’s new final rules on discrimination and injury and illness reporting, 81 Fed. Reg. 29624, called into question mandatory post-accident drug screenings and safety incentive programs, open the door to new retaliation citations, and will require employers to post OSHA logs electronically.
Number 7: Employer Intent Is Immaterial In FMLA Interference Claims, by Nadia Bandukda. (Published: April 8, 2014.) In this blog the author notes that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) arms employees with two types of causes of action against employers. First, its “retaliation/discrimination” provisions prohibit employers from discharging or discriminating against employees for “opposing any practice made unlawful” by the FMLA. Second, the FMLA’s “interference” provision states that it is “unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise” any right provided by the FMLA.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane! Again — Thank you!
Stay Safe and Stay Well.
For more information on any of these blogs and topics, please contact the authors, your Seyfarth Attorney, or any member of Seyfarth Shaw’s Labor & Employment Team.