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NEW NLRB POLICY TO AID MEMBERS SEEKING TO BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THEIR UNIONS

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Labor union members have been forced for many years to prove bad faith interest when seeking to make claims against their own unions for failure to represent them properly.  That has now changed based on an October 24, 2018 Memorandum from General Counsel, Peter Robb (Trump appointee) of the National Labor Relations Boards (NLRB – the federal labor law enforcement agency).  Claims of negligence against unions will now be easier because the union will be presumptively liable if workers’ grievances are not properly processed.  Unions are currently already facing declines in memberships and f

Federal Government Changes Position on Protection for Transgender Workers

Monday, October 29, 2018

Last week, the Department of Justice submitted a brief to the United States Supreme Court arguing that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination against transgender employees. The DOJ argued that the protection against “sex” discrimination does not apply to gender identity.  Importantly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has not changed its position accordingly, and therefore the EEOC still considers transgender employees to be protected from discrimination. 

Title VII Hostile Work Environment Claims Proceed on Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Monday, October 22, 2018

A New York employee who worked for the NYS Insurance Fund for many years allegedly experienced discrimination and a hostile work environment based on the fact that he was gay and had a disability.  The employee complained of discrimination and alleged that following his complaints he was retaliated against.  On remand from the Second Circuit, the district court dismissed the employee’s Title VII discrimination claims because he failed to allege that he suffered an adverse employment action based on his sexual orientation.  The court found that although he alleged another employee emailed f

NYS Issues Final Guidance on Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

NYS issued its final guidance on the new sexual  harassment policy and training requirements in effect for all New York employers.  The state clarified that October 9, 2018 remains the deadline by which all employers must adopt a written sexual harassment policy and an anti-harassment training program.  The state has issued model language and training documents for employers that need assistance developing those documents. 

Paid Family Leave 2019 Update

Friday, September 07, 2018

Employees will pay more of their paycheck towards the Paid Family Leave benefit program in 2019 - 0.153% of gross wages up to a yearly maximum of $107.97 (up from 0.126%/$85.56 in 2018). Moreover, as per the original provisions of the Paid Family Leave law, employees will be permitted to take up to 10 weeks of paid family leave in 2019, and receive 55% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $746.41.  

Deadline for New Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements Fast Approaching

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

In April, we wrote about new steps New York State is taking to prevent harassment in the workplace, including requiring New York employers to comply with policy and training requirements.

Lululemon Employees Likely to be Conditionally Certified for Allegations of Unpaid Wages

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Earlier this month, a New York Federal Court magistrate recommended conditional certification of a class of Lululemon employees who allege they were expected to take yoga classes at studios to promote Lululemon apparel, and perform other work related tasks off the clock.  Lululemon paid the fee for the classes but did not pay the employees to attend, calling it “community work.”  The employees allege they spent approximately five hours each week in fitness classes and another five hours per week performing other tasks.

Court Holds that USC Cannot Force Employees/Investors in its Retirement Plan to Arbitrate their Breach of Fiduciary Duties Claims

Monday, August 06, 2018

Employers with retirement plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) often seek to reduce their potential class action liability for breach of fiduciary duty claims by including mandatory arbitration clauses in employment agreements. University of Southern California (USC) workers challenged the school's management of its plans in federal court several years ago, despite the arbitration clauses in their agreement.

Changes to Taylor Law

Friday, July 27, 2018

This year, Governor Cuomo signed a law making changes to the Taylor Law to strengthen public unions.  The Taylor Law, officially the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, defines the rights and limitations for public employees in New York.  The major changes to the existing law include the following:

Arbitration Agreements as a Condition of Employment are Enforceable

Monday, July 16, 2018

The US Supreme Court recently upheld mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts that waived an employee’s right to bring class or collective actions.

Governmental Affairs
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Below please find an interesting article about a case finding for an employer where the employee was an alcoholic with attendance problems. This thorny ADA issue is not uncommon-please contact GVC SHRM Legislative Representative Paul F. Keneally, Esq., Partner and Chair Labor & Employment Practice Group at Underberg & Kessler LLP, if you have any questions-258-2882 or keneally@underbergkessler.com

2nd Circuit: No Call/No Show Termination Survives Alcoholic’s ADA Claim

1/15/2010 By Roger S. Achille


The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) did not protect an employee from termination for absenteeism resulting from alcoholism where reliable attendance at scheduled shifts was an essential function of the job.
Bruce VandenBroek, a boiler utility operator for PSEG Power Connecticut LLC (PSEG), alleged that the district court erred in finding that he was terminated because of his violation of PSEG’s “no call/no show” policy rather than because of his alcoholism. The district court stated that the ADA specifically permits employers to “hold an employee who is an alcoholic to the same qualification standards for employment or job performance and behavior that such entity holds other employees, even if any unsatisfactory performance or behavior is related to the alcoholism of such employee.”

Among the criteria necessary to establish a prima-facie case of discrimination under the ADA, one must show that he was otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. “Essential functions” are duties that are fundamental to the job in question, and considerable deference is accorded to an employer’s judgment in determining which duties are fundamental.

While “ ‘regularly attending work’ is an essential function of virtually every job,” the 2nd Circuit emphasized that it was especially important for a boiler utility operator who had to be present at the power plant to monitor the boiler and respond to alarms to ensure against a power outage or explosion. The 2nd Circuit pointed out that it was for this reason PSEG’s employment rules made those who violate the “no call/no show” policy subject to discharge for the first offense. Although the plant general manager testified that VandenBroek “was a good operator” when he showed up for work, the 2nd Circuit contended that this evidence would not permit a reasonable jury to find that PSEG could rely on VandenBroek to appear for his shifts at the time he was terminated.

The 2nd Circuit noted that “absenteeism resulting from alcoholism is a factor that bears on whether an employee is ‘otherwise qualified.’ ” Whereas reliable attendance at scheduled shifts was an essential function for a boiler utility operator, the 2nd Circuit affirmed that VandenBroek had not presented sufficient evidence that he was “otherwise qualified” to perform his job.

VandenBroek v. PSEG Power CT LLC, 2nd Cir., No. 09-1109 (Dec. 11, 2009).

Professional Pointer: Although an alcoholic is a person with a disability under the ADA and may be entitled to consideration of accommodation, any substance abuser may be required to meet the same standards of performance and conduct that are set for other employees.

By Roger S. Achille, an attorney and associate professor at Johnson & Wales University, Graduate School of Business, in Providence, R.I.

Editor’s Note: This article should not be construed as legal advice.

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# Anonymous User
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 3:41 AM
http://jaivacorp.shikshik.org/2011/07/20/alcoholic-employee/

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