Informed Employer: Please Be Reasonable! Seventh Circuit Decision Highlights the Importance of Proce Informed Employer: Please Be Reasonable! Seventh Circuit Decision Highlights the Importance of Proce

Informed Employer: Please Be Reasonable! Seventh Circuit Decision Highlights the Importance of Process in Handling ADA Accommodation Requests

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Obama Mandates Paid Sick Days for Federal Contractors' Employees
President Barack Obama rallied union workers during a Labor Day speech in Boston, announcing an executive order that will require federal contractors to offer employees up to seven paid sick days a year, a move that the White House said could benefit more than 300,000 workers. Under the president's order, workers on federal contracts would be eligible for paid leave if they are sick or caring for a sick relative, the White House said.
(Source: Tampa Bay Times, 2015-09-07) Read the full article
Temporary, Contract Workers to Benefit from NLRB's Union Ruling
Unions and other labor advocates are brainstorming strategies in the wake of a National Labor Relations Board ruling that could strengthen the hand of those at the lowest level of key industries including warehousing, construction, fast food and home healthcare. The NLRB ruling determined that companies using workers hired by another business, such as temp agencies, contractors or even fast-food franchisees, are still responsible for labor violations and could be required to bargain with unions representing those employees.
(Source: Los Angeles Times, 2015-08-28) Read the full article
Republicans Introduce Bill to Reverse NLRB Ruling on Unionization
Republicans made good on their promise to try to reverse a landmark ruling that will ease unionization for contract workers and others. The leaders of the House and Senate labor committees introduced a bill to roll back a National Labor Relations Board decision they say threatens hundreds of thousands of franchise businesses and millions of contractors.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2015-09-09) Read the full article
Despite Trend of Parent Leave, Benefits Might Not Be Utilized
Even as employees are increasingly tethered to the office, a workplace culture that urges new mothers and fathers to hurry back to their cubicles is beginning to shift. In recent weeks, companies like Accenture and Microsoft said they would offer more family-friendly benefits like generous parental leave, but the trend raises the question of whether these new benefits will be more talked up than actually taken.
(Source: The New York Times, 2015-09-01) Read the full article
OSHA Struggles to Control Silica Exposure in Workplace
Since 1974, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has consistently recommended that OSHA issue a stronger rule to control silica exposure, which OSHA estimates would save 699 lives and prevent 1,626 silica-related illnesses a year. The struggle to control silica is part of a pattern of weakness that characterizes OSHA.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2015-09-03) Read the full article
More Companies Using Technology to Prevent Hiring Bias
The idea that everyone makes automatic, subconscious associations about people is not new, but recently companies -- especially tech firms -- have been trying to reduce the impact of such biases in the workplace. Software startup Unitive helps companies develop job postings that attract a range of candidates, and helps structure job interviews to focus on specific qualifications and mitigate the effect of the interviews' biases.
(Source: NPR, 2015-09-01) Read the full article
Workers' Gambling Apps Placing Companies' IT Security at Risk
If you work for a large, global company, chances are some of your peers have installed gambling apps on the mobile devices they use for work, and that's bad news for IT security. A study has found that the average company has more than one such gambling application in some employee devices, putting corporate data stored on those devices at risk.
(Source: Computerworld, 2015-09-02) Read the full article
Survey Finds 31% of Workers Identify Themselves as 'Free Agents'
A full 31 percent of U.S. workers consider themselves "free agents," according to a new survey from recruiting and employment firm Kelly Services. They identify as independent contractors, freelancers, small business owners, temps or even moonlighters.
(Source: CNNMoney.com, 2015-09-03) Read the full article
 
 
 
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Please Be Reasonable! Seventh Circuit Decision Highlights the Importance of Process in Handling ADA Accommodation Requests
Manolis Boulukos

Like many troublesome legal concepts, "reasonable accommodation," a cornerstone of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), seems simple enough at first glance. The challenge for employers comes in attempting to apply this elusive concept to real employees, with real medical or mental conditions, in real workplaces.

Among the most vexing potential accommodations with which employers grapple are extended medical leaves and "light duty" assignments. Unlike tangible accommodations such as an ergonomic stool or a low-glare computer screen, the extent of an employer's obligation to provide leave or light duty work is hardly self-evident. Such uncertainty easily turns to frustration—and sometimes hasty, ill-considered decisions.

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More Executive Action Fallout: STEM OPT scheduled to expire on February 12, 2016

A district court judge in D.C. recently vacated USCIS’ authority to grant extensions of employment permission to certain foreign students. Seventeen month “STEM” extensions of employment authorization are currently available to foreign students following a twelve month period of Optional Practical Training (OPT), providing a total of twenty nine months of employment permission. The USCIS rule awards the 17 month STEM extension to graduates of science, technology, engineering, and math programs if the employer for whom the student works is enrolled in the federal E-Verify program. STEM extension of a student’s OPT has become a routine piece in the overall immigration strategy of retaining key foreign talent in the technology sector, particularly. Many foreign students seek to change status from F-1 to H-1B upon conclusion of OPT; however, for fiscal year 2016, USCIS received approximately 233,000 H-1B visa petitions against the 85,000 available quota leaving STEM OPT the only immediate option to remain employment authorized and providing time to pursue H-1B status in next year’s annual lottery.

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