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By Camille Toney on July 13, 2018 at 2:45 PM

Empty chairs in cubiclesLeave management is a common topic of conversation for HR professionals and employment specialists. Knowing the leave laws and the types of leave are just the tip of the iceberg in leave management. It takes a defined process to generally look at each leave request while taking each request on a case-by-case basis. Even with having a dedicated process for leaves, employers still need to remain attentive to ensure the process curtails risk and curbs potential leave abuse. Below are a few tips to help in the process. The two main federal leave laws, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are the focus of these tips. However, employers should keep in mind the other federal and state laws that may be implicated in the leave management process.

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By Audrie Howard on July 2, 2018 at 3:50 PM

International world flags shown on badgesIn recent years, “English-only” workplace policies have garnered increased scrutiny under employment discrimination laws on the state and national levels. Employers with these policies need to take note of recent updates to state statutes and regulations governing the lawfulness of “English-only” workplace policies and the overall broadening scope of other bases for discrimination claims.

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By Dennis Collins, Lauren Harris on June 29, 2018 at 11:40 AM

U.S. Supreme Court BuildingThe U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion June 27 in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, 585 U.S. ___ (2018), holding that nonunion members working in union positions for public employers are not obligated to pay agency fees, also known as “fair share” fees. This overturns Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977) which set the precedent that as long as the agency fees represent the percentage of the union’s expenditures for collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment purposes, then state governments can legislate that public employees employed in positions represented by unions, even though not union members, can be required to pay service charges or agency fees. In conjunction, unions are required to provide detailed notices of how the agency fees are being spent for “chargeable” activities (contract and bargaining based activities) and “non-chargeable” activities (political and lobbying activities). It should be noted that federal law prohibits unions that bargain for federal workers to charge agency fees to nonunion members, but according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 27 percent of the federal workforce are union members.

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By Lauren Harris on June 20, 2018 at 1:33 PM

Person filling out an employment application on a mobile phoneOn June 9, 2018, Kansas City, Missouri’s “ban-the-box” ordinance went into effect. The ordinance is applicable to private employers with six or more employees and is being touted as Ban-the-Box-PLUS, since it not only prohibits the use of questions about criminal background on the job application form but also requires employers to have additional justifiable reasons for using an applicant or employee’s criminal background as the basis for any employment decision.

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By Lauren Harris, T. Christopher Bailey on June 7, 2018 at 2:50 PM

Person decorating a white wedding cakeOn June 4, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 584 U.S. ___ (2018), which examined whether a Colorado bakery violated that state’s Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to bake a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage ceremony. While a 7-2 majority of the court sided with the bakery, the much-anticipated decision left more questions unanswered than answered. The decision and concurring and dissenting opinions can be read here.

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By Lauren Daming, Heather Mehta on May 21, 2018 at 2:40 PM EDT

Supreme Court buildingIn a 5-4 decision written by newcomer Justice Gorsuch, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld employment agreements that require employees to individually arbitrate disputes with their employers.

The May 21, 2018, opinion in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis resolves a trio of cases before the Supreme Court in which employees brought suits against their employers alleging state and federal wage and hour violations. In each situation, the employees had signed contracts agreeing to resolve any employment-related disputes in individualized arbitration. Nevertheless, they sought to litigate their claims in class or collective actions. 

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By Dennis Collins on May 18, 2018 at 10:50 AM

Person casting a vote on a ballotThe Missouri legislature has approved a proposal that moves the date of a public vote on the state’s right-to-work law to the August 2018 ballot.

The proposal was approved 96-47 in the Missouri House on May 17. The Senate had already passed the measure. The legislative approval moves a statewide vote on whether to prevent the Missouri right-to-work law from taking effect from November to the Aug. 7 primary ballot. 

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By Dennis Collins on May 10, 2018 at 11:10 AM

Picture of Missouri State Capitol BuildingOn May 8, 2018, a Missouri Senate committee approved a proposal to have voters decide in August 2018, rather than November 2018, whether to prevent the Missouri right-to-work law from taking effect. If allowed to become effective, the right-to-work law would prohibit employers from requiring employees to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

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By Jill Luft on April 12, 2018 at 9:50 AM

Words "Out of Office" written on a piece of paper held up by a businesswomanAs we reported last fall, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a multi-month continuous leave of absence is beyond the scope of a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The case was Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., 872 F.3d 476 (7th Cir. 2017). After exhausting 12 continuous weeks of FMLA leave for a serious back condition, Severson informed his employer that he would need to remain off work for another two to three months. The Seventh Circuit reasoned that the ADA is an antidiscrimination statute, not a medical leave entitlement, and an employee who needs long-term medical leave cannot work and is therefore not a qualified individual under the ADA.

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By Katherine Fechte on April 4, 2018 at 9:50 AM

Person receiving car keys from a car salesmanOn April 2, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a close 5-4 decision, held that car dealership service advisors are exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In reaching this conclusion, the court rejected the long-held belief that FLSA exemptions should be applied narrowly.

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