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“Long COVID” may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Joe Biden said last Monday. “Many Americans who seemingly recover from the virus still face lingering challenges like breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain and fatigue,” Biden said in a speech marking the 31st anniversary of the statute. “These conditions can sometimes rise to the level of a disability.” The president said his administration is working with agencies to ensure workers with persistent COVID symptoms “have access to the rights and resources” provided by the ADA. Guidance Regarding When Long COVID Qualifies as a Disability under…
The U.S. Department of Labor plans to rescind a Trump-era regulation on joint employment and an impending regulation on independent contractor use, it said in a March 11 announcement. The joint employment rule took effect in March 2020 and limited employers’ liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act. A federal district court, however, vacated large portions of the rule later that year. The independent contractor rule, originally slated to take effect in May, sought to implement an overly broad test for independent contractor status that would have harmed employees’ interests. Rescinding of these rules changes is not a surprise.…
Walmart A Wisconsin jury has ordered Walmart to pay more than $125 million in damages over disability discrimination claims brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a former employee with Down syndrome. (Read a copy of the Verdict Form here.) Marlo Spaeth started working as a sales associate at a Walmart in Manitowoc, Wis., in 1999, folding towels, cleaning aisles, processing returns and greeting customers, her lawyers said. Over the next 15 years, she received several pay raises and positive performance reviews. In 2014, the employee requested that Walmart adjust her start and end…
Walmart will pay $410,000 to settle a sex harassment suit brought on behalf of a plaintiff in New York State. According to the lawsuit, from 2014 to 2018 a male employee of Walmart’s store in Geneva, N.Y., regularly made unwelcome sexual comments and advances to female co-workers and touched female co-workers without their consent. The lawsuit alleged that Walmart management knew of the conduct for years, including having received written complaints. The lawsuit charged that the male employee regularly made vulgar comments about the bodies of female employees, including commenting on female co-workers’ breasts and buttocks. The suit further alleged…
Pregnancy discrimination continues to be a problem in Texas. Last week, Dallas-based Greenhouse Outpatient Center and its parent company, American Addiction Centers, agreed to pay over $146,000 and provide other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought against the company. The Dallas rehabilitation center had granted the pregnant employee, a behavioral health technician, a 30-day leave of absence for childbirth. After the employee delivered the baby by caesarean section, which requires abdominal surgery, the employee’s doctor indicated she needed eight weeks to recover before returning to work. Human Resources, however, told the employee her position could not be held…
A former cashier for a Florida Burger King has been awarded over $2 million by a jury on her claims of disability discrimination against the restaurant franchisee. The employee was employed by the corporate franchisee, called Magic Burger, as a cashier. She had a trachea tube because of a car accident that occurred one year before she started working for the company. The general manager of the store that hired her was informed of the trachea tube and saw it during the job interview. However, when an executive came to visit the store, the executive told the employee she couldn’t…
Two days before its effective date, the U.S. Department of Labor has withdrawn a rule that was set to implement a so-called “economic reality” test to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. The DOL had already delayed the rule, which was originally set to take effect in March. DOL said it withdrew the rule because it was inconsistent with the text and purpose of the Fair Labor Standards Act and would have had “a confusing and disruptive effect on workers and businesses alike due to its departure from long standing judicial precedent.” DOL said the rule…
Paul Tobias I am saddened by the passing of Paul Tobias. Paul was the founder and first Executive Director of the National Employment Lawyers Association (“NELA”), the country’s largest organization of lawyers dedicated to the protection of employment rights for employees. From NELA’s announcement: “Today we lost a giant, not just in plaintiffs’ employment law, but in the profession as a whole. Paul was a visionary with tremendous compassion for working people, and he, along with a few of his colleagues, conceptualized a nationwide network to support attorneys who advocate for workers. With a handshake and an encouraging word for…
If an employer requires that its employees receive the coronavirus vaccine, then the time spent by employees obtaining the vaccine is most likely compensable under the Illinois Minimum Wage Law and the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a recent decision of the Illinois Department of Labor. The agency also said in its guidance that employers should allow employees to use sick leave to take a qualifying family member to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Most employment attorneys are of the opinion that the federal FLSA statute also likely requires employers to pay workers for time spent receiving the vaccine, if…
The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) plans to rescind a Trump-era regulation on joint employment and stop an impending regulation on independent contractor use. The joint employment rule took effect in March 2020 and limited employers’ liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act. A federal district court, however, vacated large portions of the rule later that year. The independent contractor rule, scheduled to take effect this coming May, sought to implement a very broad “economic reality” test for independent contractor status. The joint employment rule involves a test to determine whether two employers should be held jointly responsible for FLSA…