Monthly Archives: November 2013

CAN A STATE REALLY HAVE A LEGALLY ENFORCEABLE PUBLIC POLICY REQUIRING REASONABLE RESTROOM USE?

Often, Plaintiffs who lose their jobs and decide to pursue legal action take the position that their discharge violated some public policy in their state.  Occasionally, these claims can get quite creative. 

Recently, a production technician at an employer in Ohio brought a wrongful termination claim in state court there alleging his employer violated Ohio’s public policy on restroom use.  Specifically, the Plaintiff claimed his termination violated the public policy requiring employers to allow employees to use the restroom subject to reasonable restrictions. While this position seems sympathetic, a closer examination of the allegations in the case reveals that his lawsuit was probably doomed from the start. 

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MUST ACCOMMODATIONS UNDER THE ADA GO BEYOND ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS?

As regular readers of this blog know, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s focus on disability discrimination – and the circumstances under which a reasonable accommodation of a disability needs to be made – has been in the news several times in 2013. While the question of whether leave is a reasonable accommodation may be the one we hear about the most, employers frequently get unusual or unique accommodation requests.  For instance, must an employer consider an employee’s request for free onsite parking as a reasonable accommodation?  That question was recently addressed by the Fifth Circuit Court, and the decision of the Court is a useful reminder for employers everywhere.  

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MODEL COBRA ELECTION NOTICE REVISED TO REFLECT ACA PROVISIONS

In May 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a guidance and a revised model COBRA election notice in anticipation of the approaching effective date of the insurance exchanges required by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).  Specifically, beginning on January 1, 2014, individuals and employees of small businesses will have access to coverage through a new private health insurance market known as the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Open enrollment for health coverage through Marketplace began on October 1, 2013.   Read More »

LEGISLATURE ALLOWS FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES IN CERTAIN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS

In 2009, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals created a formal Access to Justice program for the State of West Virginia.  The Access to Justice program was established to determine the needs of citizens accessing the justice system in the state.  Read More »

EEOC V. BOH BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, L.L.C.: IS TITLE VII NOW A WORKPLACE CIVILITY CODE?

So you think crude, vulgar comments and horseplay by a male, heterosexual supervisor directed to a male, heterosexual iron worker at an all-male construction site cannot form the basis of a sexual harassment complaint?  Think again.  A deeply divided court for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi—recently found that sexual epithets and vulgar gestures could support a verdict against a company for “gender-stereotyping harassment.”  Although the decision currently only applies to employers within the Fifth Circuit, because the claim was brought by the EEOC, employers everywhere should be on guard, especially when one considers the sorts of hypothetical situations the EEOC’s lawyers said could constitute viable Title VII actions. 

 

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