Author Archive | Debbie Ecker

Accommodation Under the Americans With Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to allow a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of his/her job unless an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer. A “qualified individual” is defined as a person who can perform the essential functions of […]

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Preventing Harassment and Dealing With It

In this era of “me too”, “time’s up” and growing harassment challenges, it is imperative that employers check their anti-harassment policies and clearly communicate them with descriptions of behaviors that may constitute harassment and examples. Although recent media coverage has focused on sexual harassment, policies should also prohibit conduct that may be based on age, […]

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Can an Employee Take FMLA Leave to Care For a Sibling With a Serious Health Condition?

Employers of 50 or more employees must grant eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for certain qualifying circumstances, including “care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition”. The law does not mention other relatives, such as siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, or other relatives. […]

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6th Circuit Court of Appeals Finds that Offensive Conduct May Be Insufficient to Prove Hostile Environment

In the case of Michelle Bruce v. Meharry Medical College a female physician (Dr. Bruce) filed a lawsuit against her employer (the Medical College) alleging sex discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation for reporting same. Dr. Bruce claimed that the college’s head of facilities, Dr. Ray, was dismissive of her and made belittling comments […]

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DACA: What Employers Should Know

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established by an Executive Order of President Obama. The purpose of the program was to provide temporary legal status and work authorization to undocumented people who initially entered the United States as children. To qualify for the program, qualified individuals had to submit to extensive background […]

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Hurricane Harvey Presents HR Issues For Employers

When confronted with a natural disaster employers may be forced to shut down and/or employees may be unable to report to work.  These circumstances raise issues regarding entitlement to pay. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt employees must only be paid for all hours worked.  Thus, they are not entitled to pay during […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Finds that a Search Warrant is Generally Necessary to Search a Suspect’s Cell Phone

In a June, 2014 opinion, the U.S .Supreme Court decided 2 cases questioning whether the police may conduct a warrantless search of digital information on a cell phone seized in connection with an arrest.  The Court found that digital data stored on cell phones presents neither a risk of imminent physical danger to the police, […]

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How Accommodating Must an Employer Be Under the ADA?

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a reasonable accommodation regulated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one that permits the employee to do his/her job and it need NOT be the accommodation the employee requests. This holding chips away at the widely held belief that disabled employees are super-protected […]

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Family and Medical Leave Act Tips:

Run FMLA time concurrently with sick leave. Although an employee may not want to use FMLA time if he/she has sick time or other paid leave time available, it is up to the employer to designate leave as FMLA-qualifying. This will minimize the amount of time off in any year. Make sure that company policy […]

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