Three Takeaways from Employment Law 101

Three Takeaways from Employment Law 101

by Becki Leonard, PHR, SHRM-CP, on April 12, 2022
In the first of my two-part employment law webinar series, I explained in-depth three major areas that every business owner, manager and supervisor should know through and through. The topics included Equal Employment Opportunities, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

While I would encourage you to watch the full presentation if you haven’t already, here are a few quick “Did You Know?” takeaways from among the many aspects that were discussed.

Equal Employment Opportunities

DYK? – There are three classifications of discrimination, one of which can sometimes be unintentional or accidental, but nonetheless still leaves you liable. Disparate Impact is a type of discrimination defined as utilizing a neutral employment policy or practice that disproportionately impacts persons with a particular protected status, unless there is a solid business justification for that policy.

EX. – You have a warehouse position to fill. Unfortunately, the job description hasn’t been updated in years and states that the position requires regular lifting of 100 pounds. With today’s technology and automation, however, lifting only 20 pounds on a semiregular basis is necessary. If you use the outdated description for the job opening that includes the 100-pound lifting requirement, you’re potentially discriminating against multiple protected groups, which may include older applicants, women, and some disabled individuals.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

DYK? – The ADA puts great emphasis on not generalizing certain abilities or accommodations.

EX. – Two people who have the same disability should not be automatically assigned the same expectations or accommodations. Just because one individual can or cannot perform in a certain way or in a particular environment, those same expectations should not be overlayed onto a similarly disabled person. Give each individual the opportunity to express their own abilities and accommodation requests.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

DYK? – An employer is allowed to ask for a doctor’s note relative to an individual’s intermittent FMLA leave. However, to do so in each instance of leave is considered harassment.

EX. – Check the Certification of Health Care Provider to see the timeframe for leave that the doctor has stipulated. If the employee is asking for FMLA leave that exceeds the doctor’s estimate, you can ask for the employee to get the doctor’s note updated. Or if the paperwork notes “care as needed,” or “for an indefinite time period,” the law allows for employers to request an updated note from the doctor every six months.

Be sure to check out the full on-demand replay of Employment Law 101 linked above, and also plan to join us for the second session on May 19. Employment Law 102 will be another jam-packed session that includes information on PDA, GINA, ADEA, IRCA, EE Polygraph Protection Act, USERRA, EPA, Whistleblower Protection, FLSA and more.
Becki Leonard, PHR, SHRM-CP

Becki has over 25 years of Human Resources experience and holds a business degree with a concentration in HR. She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and a Certified Professional through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP). She also holds her SHRM People Analytics Specialty Credential. At LandrumHR, Becki has worked with the staffing, PEO, and consulting divisions of the company. She currently holds the position of Managing Consultant for hrQ, their national Human Capital Consulting firm. Becki is passionate about helping organizations best manage their greatest resource – their people. A teacher at heart, Becki focuses on helping business leaders understand the “why” behind the “what” so they can move forward with confidence in their decisions.

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