Recent Blog Posts

  • ADA public accommodations law reform on its way? By Jamie LaPlante    Yesterday (Feb. 15, 2018), The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill, the ADA Education and Reform Act (HB 620), that would impose new requirements on plaintiffs before they file a lawsuit. Places of public accommodations, including websites and apps, would have 6 months to bring their place of public accommodation into compliance before a claimant could file a lawsuit seeking injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees. Any employer who is also a place of public accommodation knows that lawsuits... More
  • D.C. Federal Judge vacates the EEOC’s Workplace Wellness Program Rules, effective Jan. 1, 2019 By Jamie LaPlante    On Dec. 20, 2017, a D.C. federal judge held that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s workplace wellness program rules – which permit employers to incentivize employees who participate in workplace wellness programs—will be vacated on Jan. 1, 2019. The judge held that the EEOC failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the rules, which he believed violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) without a reason for permitting an exception... More
  • DOT amends drug testing rules effective Jan. 1, 2018 By Jamie LaPlante    In response to the nation’s opioid epidemic, the Department of Transportation (DOT) amended its testing program requirements to require inclusion of four semi-synthetic opioids, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone, to the required drug testing panel. DOT also added methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) to the panel and removed methylenedioxyethylamphetaime (MDEA) as a confirmatory test analyte as redundant since MDA is a metabolite for MDEA. Because the added opiods can be legally taken pursuant to a doctor’s prescription, this may result in... More
  • OSHA proposes delay to electronic injury reporting requirement and no mechanism in place on OSHA’s website for electronic reporting compliance By Jamie LaPlante    The compliance deadline for Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) electronic injury and illness reporting rule has come and gone, and there is no mechanism in place for employers to electronically report work-related injuries and illnesses. On June 27, 2017, OSHA proposed moving the July 1, 2017 mandatory compliance deadline to Dec. 1, 2017. The window for public comment on the proposed delay closed on July 13th. At present, the “proposed delay” remains a “proposal,” but, even so,... More
  • Florida federal judge holds that supermarket chain’s website must be accessible to disabled By Jamie LaPlante    In the first trial on the merits involving website accessibility, a federal judge in Florida ruled on June 13, 2017, after a two-day bench trial, that supermarket chain Winn-Dixie violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to make its website accessible. Juan Carlos Gil, a blind Florida man who attempted to use Winn-Dixie’s website to locate Winn-Dixie store locations, fill and refill prescriptions, and obtain store coupons, sued Winn-Dixie alleging that he was unable to access... More
  • Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposes a merger of the EEOC and the OFCCP, prompting concerns over whether the two agencies can effectively operate as one By Jamie LaPlante    The Trump administration’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget includes a merger of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If the budget is approved, the OFCCP, which has jurisdiction over federal contractors, would merge into the EEOC, which has jurisdiction over private and public employers; forming a combined super equal employment opportunity enforcement agency. Background of the two agencies The OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act... More
  • FedEx employee terminated for using discount to sell on eBay loses USERRA termination challenge but can seek higher pension benefits By Jamie LaPlante    Kenneth Savage was terminated by FedEx about a month after a military leave and after complaining about the calculation of his pension benefits due to his military service. That proximity was not enough to establish a discrimination or retaliation claim under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Savage’s case was remanded because FedEx may have miscalculated his pension benefits by failing to account for potential overtime hours he might have worked during periods of military... More
  • Texas court enjoins new salary basis rule set to go into effect December 1st By Jamie LaPlante    As of yesterday, employers who have not yet fully implemented changes in preparation for the new salary basis increase should put those plans on hold because a Texas federal court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the rule while it evaluates the legality of the rule. The salary required for exempt status for executive, administrative, and professional employees  (EAP or white collar employees) will remain at $23,660 or $455 per week. (Employees, of course, must meet the respective... More
  • Decision on whether to block DOL salary basis increase to $47,476 per year expected by Nov. 22 By Jamie LaPlante    After a hearing in the Eastern District of Texas on a lawsuit by 21 states to enjoin the Department of Labor’s scheduled increase of the minimum salary level for exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal judge hearing the case indicated that he will rule by Nov. 22, 2016. As you know, the rule is set to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016. For those exempt employees with salaries below $47,476, many employers... More
  • Above the fray: The employer’s how-to guide on navigating the election season By Jamie LaPlante    A special thanks to Adam Bennett for his assistance with this article. Election Day is quickly approaching. Rejoice! There really is a light at the end of the tunnel when the endless stream of attack ads will cease to exist. But before the last ballot is cast, the last precinct closes and the final votes are tallied, employers are sure to have plenty of questions about how to address employees’ political expression in the workplace without violating the law... More