A 2015 EEOC lawsuit may cause Wisconsin employers to take note of communications with employees in cases involving potential discrimination investigations. The case that brings this concern to light involves an electrician working for an engineering and construction company. The firm reportedly terminated the man because of his disability, failing to provide reasonable accommodations. He subsequently filed a complaint with the EEOC.
Many Wisconsin employees may be unaware of their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and their supervisors at work may not be clear on what the policies do and do not permit. Staples, the office supply chain, was forced to pay one of its former employees $250,000 because instead of telling him he could take time off to take care of his wife, who was terminally ill, the company had him working from home. The man was fired, and he successfully sued Staples for interference.
Some employers in Wisconsin and elsewhere seem to have a poor understanding of their responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the rights of their employees under the law. When an employer violates the provisions of the ADA, resulting in harm to a disabled employee, the employee may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
On April 8, the Office of Personnel Management officially published the final rule that allows gay and lesbian federal workers in Wisconsin and around the country to take time off to care for spouses when they are ill. The rule changes the statutory language in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
A noteworthy employment law challenge brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was struck down by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in 2015. In April 2016, it was revealed that the EEOC had appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. The original decision concerned a Wisconsin manufacturer that forced its workers to undergo a wellness program before they could be covered under the company's health plan. The court ruled that this practice fell under the allowed exceptions of the Americans with Disabilities Act because it counted as risk underwriting.
Wisconsin residents may know that the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 entitles most employees working for companies with 50 or more workers to take job-protected time off work when they or a close family member becomes sick. However, the provisions of the FMLA do not cover all illnesses or injuries, and medical conditions must meet at least one of six conditions for the law to apply.
If a worker is jointly employed by two or more companies, they may both be responsible for compliance with FMLA requirements. Joint employment occurs when employers benefit from the services of an individual and are related to each other. Typically, the employers will have an arrangement to share the services of a single worker and they will share common control of that worker.
Employment benefits are an important consideration when seeking and accepting new employment, as well as remaining with an employer, and can be a significant source of support for employees both during their working years and after they retire. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced attorney when employment benefits are wrongly denied.
Wisconsin employees may be interested to learn that a federal appellate court has ruled that a human resources director could be considered an employer and thus held responsible for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act. A payroll administrator who had been at a company for five years submitted a FMLA request to care for her teenage son who had just been diagnosed with diabetes. She returned to work after 12 days and at the end of that same month, she submitted paperwork supporting her need for the FMLA leave.