Accommodations & Leave Law

This article was originally published on Law360.com

Developed countries across the globe are increasingly adopting and augmenting paid family leave laws, seeing such laws as a “win-win” for both employers and employees. For employees, paid family leave laws allow new parents to bond with and care for their children in the stressful and crucial initial

The legalization of medical marijuana in several jurisdictions throughout the US presents employers with the difficult task of reconciling their anti-drug policies with those state statutes authorizing marijuana use for medical purposes. Adding an additional layer of complexity to this already uncertain landscape, is the growing number of states that have also legalized marijuana for recreational use. As state marijuana laws continue to grow and develop, employers must stay attune to how they approach employees’ off-duty marijuana use for both medical and recreational purposes.

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Happy Mother’s Day! 

May 13 is Mother’s Day in the US, Australia and Canada. As such, it feels apropos to recognize the latest initiatives in the US and around the world aimed at increasing opportunities at work for working mothers (and caregivers more generally). Government-mandated maternity, paternity and parental leave and benefits, as well as

We put our heads together to come up with some predictions for 2018.

Read the Horizon Scanner for more details but, in a nutshell, we predict:

  1. Multiplying statutory obligations aimed at closing the gender pay gap
  2. A push to become data-privacy compliant before GDPR is effective May 25, 2018
  3. Growing paid leave benefits for families

On Wednesday, December 13, Barbara Gressel, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) provided the Chicago Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Committee with an informative presentation about the City of Chicago’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (in effect since July 1, 2017).

Ms. Gressel, who leads the Department’s compliance and enforcement efforts, reviewed the Ordinance’s accrual and carry over rules, as well as the provisions concerning usage caps. The remainder of her presentation involved how the Department will investigate charges, and the administrative process for formally enforcing the ordinance. Here are our takeaways:

Department Investigations Initiated by Employee Complaint

  • Enforcement begins with the filing of a complaint by an employee. Employees may obtain a copy of a blank complaint by visiting the Department’s webpage. The charge must be filled out by hand, or on a typewriter. The complete complaint can be filed by facsimile (fax) or in person.
  • The Department intends to investigate each facially valid complaint on a class-wide basis. It reasons that if one employee is not receiving proper payment, accrual, carryover etc., no employee is. The request for information will be by administrative subpoena.
  • At least initially, the Department intends to attempt to resolve complaints informally. Employers who refuse to meet their obligations during this initial period will be prosecuted for a ordinance violation. Similarly, after the initial familiarization period (expected to last 18-24 months), the Department will use its formal ordinance enforcement process whenever it determines to allege a violation has occurred.


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Last Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) does not require employers to provide additional unpaid leave as an accommodation to employees who have expended their Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave. Although the Seventh Circuit’s ruling upheld its prior decision in Byrne v. Avon Productions Inc., the decision is significant because it directly contradicts the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)’s position that granting additional, long-term unpaid leave to employees is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.
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While no one knows exactly how Donald Trump’s election as President will impact labor and employment laws in the country, it is a safe bet that there will be changes. Because Trump was virtually silent on the campaign trail regarding the specifics of any employment law policies, we are left to speculate on any upcoming changes.  We provide a brief overview of our best educated guesses on what changes could be in store given the election results.  Given Trump’s position on government enforcement and his pro-business stance, there is an expectation of changes to several employment-related laws.
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November 8 is shaping up to have one of the largest voter turnouts in history.  As such, Texas employers should ensure they comply with election voting laws as they relate to employees.  Chapter 276 of the Texas Election Code sets certain requirements for employers.  Below are some do’s and don’ts for employers with voting employees:
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Leave accommodations can be a complicated issue for a company’s human resources and legal teams.  The EEOC, however, recently issued guidance discussing leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The guidance serves as a good reference on the EEOC’s stance on several complex accommodation issues, and clarifies the EEOC’s views on equal access to leave, granting additional unpaid leave as an accommodation, and maximum leave policies.  In light of the recent guidance, now is a good time to review your company policies.
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The dog days of summer are here, but the Department of Labor has shown no signs of slowing down. In June, the DOL rolled out revisions to its official Family and Medical Leave Act forms. While the revisions may seem minor at first glance, they could have a large impact on how medical information is shared between employers, employees and health care providers.
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