The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently issued an Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination. (http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pregnancy_guidance.cfm). The Guidance doesn’t offer new laws or protections for employees; rather, it gives a good discussion of the law and provides examples that are useful when addressing issues related to pregnant employees.
What You Need To Know. The most important thing you can learn from the Guidance is that an employer should not make assumptions about what a pregnant employee can and cannot do. The employee should initiate any discussion about job changes. The Guidance is clear that pregnancy should be treated like any other medical condition that could affect an employee’s ability to work. If a pregnant employee requests changes to her job or schedule to accommodate her pregnancy, the employer is allowed to request a medical note justifying the request. But, if the request is medically necessary, the employer must make reasonable accommodations to the woman’s job in order to accommodate her pregnancy and allow her to keep working. Only if the pregnant employee is having clear trouble performing her job, should the employer ask if she needs an accommodation.
Here are some examples of issues that might arise when managing a pregnant employee: Continue reading →
Recent cases from the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Massachusetts Appeals Court offer guidance for when you have to offer an employee a transfer as a disability accommodation and when you do not.
What You Need To Know. There is no fixed rule on offering a transfer or new job in response to a request for an accommodation. As set forth below, each case will be reviewed based upon its specific facts. But, don’t let anyone tell you that you never have to transfer an employee or that you must transfer an employee if the employee makes this request to accommodate a disability.
Under Massachusetts law, employers have traditionally been advised that they are not required to transfer an employee to a new job if the employee’s disability prohibits the employee from performing his or her current job. Continue reading →
On September 16, 2013, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) issued a decision holding that an employer was not required to allow excessive absenteeism as an accommodation to a diabetic employee. The case, MCAD v. Affiliated Professional Services is discussed below.
What You Need To Know. While an employer needs to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability, an employee still needs to come to work often enough to perform his or her job. Unlimited sick time is not a reasonable accommodation and will not be required by the MCAD. In addition, an employer does not have to accommodate a disability that disrupts the workforce.
An employee of Affiliated Professional Services (“APS”) suffered from diabetes. Unfortunately, the employee’s diabetes was almost uncontrolled and the employee suffered from frequent bouts of hypoglycemia and loss of consciousness. Continue reading →