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Diversity and Inclusion Run Amok: “First Thing We Do, Let’s Get Rid of the White Guys”

By Alan E. Seneczko / May 25, 2024

With apologies to Shakespeare, the above version of his oft-quoted passage is a good reflection of what not to do when carrying out Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives, as a North Carolina healthcare conglomerate learned the hard way – to the tune of $2,457,527 in backpay, $1,078,066 in front pay, $332,793 in prejudgment interest, and…

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Employers Beware:  Obligations Under PWFA Final Regulations Exceed Concept of “Reasonable Accommodation” Under ADA

By Alan E. Seneczko / April 30, 2024

On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act into law with relatively little fanfare. It became effective on June 27, 2023 and requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified employee’s known limitations related to, affected by or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the…

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When Is a Request for Accommodation Not a Request for Accommodation?

By Alan E. Seneczko / February 27, 2024

If an employee with a history of anxiety presents a list of requested actions for workplace grievances and labels it a “request for accommodation,” is it? How do you distinguish between gripes about the work environment and legitimate requests for accommodations under the ADA? In Kelly v. Town of Abingdon, 90 F.4th 158 (4th Cir.…

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Music as Harassment – Will the Real Slim Shady please … sit down?

By Alan E. Seneczko / January 31, 2024

Have you ever wondered whether some hip-hop music, with its misogynistic, sexually graphic lyrics and frequent use of the “n-word,” could form the basis of a harassment claim if played in the workplace? If so, you now have an answer. In Sharp v. Activewear, L.L.C., 69 F.4th 974 (9th Cir. 2023), the Ninth Circuit addressed…

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Employee Handbook Review – Five Clauses to Avoid at All Costs

By Alan E. Seneczko / December 30, 2023

As the calendar flips to January, many companies take the opportunity to review and fine tune their employee handbooks. Having reviewed (and litigated) countless handbooks over the years, I have come upon a number of provisions that generally create more problems than they purport to solve and should be avoided at all costs. Here are…

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Reasonable Accommodation and Commuting to Work

By Alan E. Seneczko / October 26, 2023

Employers recognize that they have a duty to reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities that substantially limit their ability to perform the essential functions of their job. But what about disabilities that limit their ability to get to work? Does the duty to accommodate extend to the commute? The Seventh Circuit recently tackled this issue and…

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Remote Work as an Accommodation in the Post-COVID Workplace

By Alan E. Seneczko / August 17, 2023

There was a time in the not too distant past when working from home was generally not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Mobley v. Allstate Ins. Co., 531 F.3d 539, 547-48 (7th Cir. 2008). In fact, the Seventh Circuit was quite emphatic in its position on this issue: “[A]n employer is not required to…

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“Harassment” In the Next Generation

By Alan E. Seneczko / April 30, 2023

Time passes in the blink of an eye, as do changes in our culture and work environment. Just yesterday, I was counseling employers about new laws prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requiring family leave, and managing employees in the “electronic” workplace, in a world of social media. Now that’s old news, with established…

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Supreme Court Lifts Injunction on DHHS Vaccine Mandate for Recipients of Medicare and Medicaid Funding

By Alan E. Seneczko / January 13, 2022

In a companion decision to its ruling on the OSHA vaccine mandate, the Supreme Court issued another stay – but this one on injunctions that had been issued enjoining regulations issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services mandating that recipients of Medicare and Medicaid funding (e.g., hospitals, outpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities,…

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Supreme Court Puts Skids on OSHA Vaccine Mandate

By Alan E. Seneczko / January 13, 2022

In a decision released this afternoon, the Supreme Court put a halt to the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard that requires employers with 100 or more employees to implement a mandatory vaccine policy, under which employees must either be vaccinated for COVID or undergo weekly testing at their own expense, on their own time, or be…

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