Stay on Top of Legislative Changes

DMEC Legislative UpdatesCompliance with rapidly changing state and federal laws is a challenge for employers across the country. For more than 20 years, DMEC has been monitoring and reporting on decisions and developments that impact absence, disability, and return to work programs.

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Compliance Memos: January 2020

January 16, 2020Paid Family Leave Benefit for Civilian Federal Employees Paid family leave for birth, adoption, or fostering is a new benefit for 2.1 million federal civilian employees, available for these family ... Read More

Paid Sick Leave Quarterly: 4th Quarter 2019

January 14, 2020The end of 2019 brought more nuances, but also resolutions to paid sick leave (PSL) state and local laws. For instance, challenges to the Michigan PSL law and Alabama preemption law were resolved, but the PSL turbulence in Texas continues as we await a decision from the Texas Supreme Court on whether it will wade into the PSL controversy.

Request for Opinion on Michigan Paid Sick Leave Law Rejected

December 20, 2019On Dec. 18, 2019, the Michigan Supreme Court said no, it would not issue an advisory opinion on the legality of the recently enacted state PSL law.

Challenge to Alabama Preemption Law Rejected

December 19, 2019On Dec. 13, 2019, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in an en banc decision, rejected the challenge to Alabama’s minimum wage and employment benefits preemption law.

San Antonio Sick and Safe Leave Law Enjoined

November 25, 2019On Nov. 22, 2019, a Bexar County judge temporarily enjoined implementation of San Antonio’s Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance to become effective on Dec. 1, 2019.

Westchester Safe Time Leave Has Arrived

November 6, 2019The Westchester County Safe Time Leave Law took effect on Oct. 30, 2019, and starting on Jan. 28, 2020, employers must begin providing eligible new hires with a copy of the law and written notice, which is intended to explain how the law applies to them.

Paid Sick Leave Quarterly: 3rd Quarter 2019

October 29, 2019The paid sick leave (PSL) turbulence in Texas garnered most of the PSL headlines in the third quarter. How that turbulence ends will determine the fate of PSL ordinances in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

6th Circuit Rules Regular, On-Site Attendance Is Essential Function

October 22, 2019The 6th Circuit held “regular, in-person attendance constitutes an essential function of most jobs," but an employer must tie time-and-presence requirements to some other job requirement in order to prove that in-person attendance is indeed an essential job function.

Massachusetts Begins Withholdings to Fund Paid Family and Medical Leave

October 3, 2019After an initial delay, payroll and wage withholdings to fund the Massachusetts paid family and medical leave program began Oct. 1, 2019, which will establish a fund that will allow employees in the Commonwealth to begin taking paid leave in 2021 for their own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Can You Be Regarded as Disabled Based on a Potential Future Disability?

September 19, 2019Can you be regarded as disabled based on a potential future disability? In a case just decided by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, EEOC v. STME, LLC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) espoused precisely this position.

7th Circuit Rules Employee’s Telework Accommodation Unreasonable

September 17, 2019The 7th Circuit ruled the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) did not fail to accommodate a disabled lawyer by rejecting her request to work from home.

DOL States that Employers May Not Delay Designating FMLA Leave

September 13, 2019On Sept. 10, 2019, the Department of Labor issued an FMLA opinion letter stating that an employer may not delay designating paid leave as FMLA leave if the delay complies with a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and the employee prefers that the designation be delayed.

9th Circuit Dodges the Question of Whether Morbid Obesity Is an “Impairment” Under the ADA

August 30, 2019On Aug. 20, 2019, the 9th Circuit dodged answering the question of whether or not morbid obesity is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Bernalillo County, NM Passes “Any Reason” Leave Law

August 26, 2019Bernalillo County Commissioners in New Mexico approved an “any reason” leave law by a narrow margin on Aug. 20, 2019.

DOL Opines That Parent’s Attendance at Individualized Education Program Conference Warrants FMLA Leave

August 26, 2019In an Aug. 8, 2019 opinion letter, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) shed some light on what counts as “caring for” a family member under the FMLA.

Oregon Governor Signs Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

August 26, 2019Oregon’s paid family and medical leave law was signed by Governor Kate Brown on Aug. 9, 2019.

San Francisco Employers May Have to Pay More in Paid Parental Leave Benefits in 2020

August 26, 2019Currently, employers who have 20 or more employees (located anywhere) are required to provide eligible San Francisco employees with up to 6 weeks of supplemental compensation when an employee takes time off to bond with a new child. Effective July 1, 2020, this requirement will increase to 8 weeks of supplemental compensation.

Pittsburgh Sick Leave Law Upheld

August 12, 2019The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held recently that the City of Pittsburgh had authority to enact the Paid Sick Days Act.

Employer’s Additional Notice Requirement for Requesting FMLA Leave Dooms Dismissal Attempt

August 12, 2019While the FMLA regulations clearly authorize employers to adopt “usual and customary notice and procedural rules for requesting leave, absent unusual circumstances,” this case suggests employers should closely review any such rules to determine whether they place impermissible additional burdens on employees seeking FMLA leave.

6th Circuit Faults “No-Fault” Attendance Policy with Broad FMLA Benefits Interpretation

August 12, 2019Employers must carefully navigate Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) pitfalls when administering attendance policies.

Washington Weighs in on Obesity Discrimination

August 12, 2019The state of Washington has weighed in on the debate as to whether obesity is a disability under disability discrimination laws.

Employer’s Good Deed Goes Unpunished — Reliable Attendance Is Essential Function Despite Prior Accommodation of Employee’s Absences

August 2, 2019In an 8th Circuit case, the court affirmed that regular, reliable attendance is an essential function of a job.

California Extends Paid Family Leave from Six to Eight Weeks

July 26, 2019Beginning on Jul. 1, 2020, California will extend the maximum duration of Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits from six weeks to eight weeks.

Paid Sick Leave Laws Updates in Texas

July 23, 2019In Texas, there continues to be controversy and debate around paid sick leave laws in San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin.

Washington Pushes Back First Reporting Deadline for Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

July 23, 2019By Aug. 31, 2019, all Washington employers must file reports about their employees, including their wages and associated hours worked during the first two quarters of 2019.

Paid Sick Days Back on Track in Pittsburgh

July 19, 2019The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act (PSDA) in a decision today, overturning two lower court decisions that found the Act was invalid as an impermissible business regulation.

Oregon Joins Growing Number of States Requiring Paid Family and Medical Leave

July 19, 2019The Oregon Senate voted to pass HB 2005 — which will provide paid family and medical leave to eligible employees beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

Maine Enacts Law Extending Protections to Pregnant and Nursing Employees

July 11, 2019On Jun. 27, 2019, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed into law L.D. 666, which extends existing protections for pregnant and nursing employees in Maine.

Paid Sick Leave Quarterly: 2nd Quarter 2019

July 11, 2019The vast and complex patchwork of PSL laws expanded in the 2nd quarter of 2019. The most notable development was the addition of two laws with PSL architecture but which allow paid leave to be used for any reason, not merely for sick leave.

Intermittent Leave Limits in FMLA Medical Certification Trumps the ADA Duty to Accommodate

July 2, 2019A Minnesota federal court decision upheld an employer’s termination for excessive absenteeism of an employee with an intermittent leave certification.

Oregon Enacts Living Donor Leave Law

June 28, 2019Earlier this month, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 796 into law, providing protected leave under the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) for employees who miss work in connection with donating a body part, organ, or tissue.

Paid Sick Leave on Track in Dallas and San Antonio

June 28, 2019By Aug. 1, 2019, most employers with employees working at least 80 hours a year in Dallas or San Antonio should be prepared to comply with paid sick leave ordinances.

New Maine Law Requires Time Off From Work for Appointments at VA Medical Facilities

June 26, 2019For the second time this month, Maine is adjusting its leave laws. Employers in Maine will soon be required to provide veterans with time away from work to attend scheduled appointments at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities.

New Nevada Laws Provide Additional Benefits for Employees

June 19, 2019Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a law requiring private employers with 50 or more employees in Nevada to provide 0.01923 hours of paid leave for each hour an employee works.

Nevada Enacts Paid “Any Reason” Leave Law

June 13, 2019While Maine may have been the first state to pass a paid “any reason” leave law, Nevada was a close second. On June 12, Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, signed a bill requiring private sector employers with at least 50 employees to allow employees to accrue paid leave which may be used for any reason.

June 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

June 3, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, and Washington

Paid Leave Law in Maine Signed By Governor

May 28, 2019The Maine legislature recently passed an act authorizing earned employee leave. If Governor Mills, who has been vocal in her support of the bill, signs the bill into law, it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Westchester County Adopts Safe Time Law

May 22, 2019On May 3, 2019, Westchester County Executive George Latimer formally signed into law the County’s Safe Time Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Law (Safe Time Law).

Governor Sununu Vetoes New Hampshire Legislature’s Paid Family Medical Leave Plan

May 21, 2019The New Hampshire Paid Family Medical Leave law has been left behind in the dust after Republican Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the bill.

Connecticut Appellate Court Holds That Regular, Reliable Attendance Can Be An Essential Function

May 17, 2019A recent Connecticut Appellate Court case provides helpful reminders that regular, reliable attendance can be an essential function of many jobs; and eliminating an essential job function is not a reasonable accommodation.

Amended Minneapolis Sick and Safe Leave Law Upheld on Appeal

May 9, 2019The Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance can be enforced against businesses not physically located in the city but who have employees who work at least eight (80) hours in a year within the geographic boundaries of the city, according to a state appellate court decision last week.

May 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

May 3, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York.

Connecticut Issues Guidance on Pregnancy Accommodation

May 1, 2019On Apr. 23, 2019, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities (CHRO) issued a Best Practices Bluepaper as guidance for employers with three or more employees facing accommodation requests from employees for pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.

Dallas Joins the Fray – Will Paid Sick Leave Prevail in Texas?

April 30, 2019Over the next several months, the fate of local paid sick leave laws may well be decided by the Texas legislature.

Pittsburgh Issues Guidance on Pregnancy Accommodation

April 29, 2019The Pittsburgh pregnancy accommodation ordinance has been in effect since Mar. 15, 2019.

6th Circuit Rules a Plaintiff With PTSD Is Not Disabled Under the ADA

April 19, 2019The 6th Circuit’s ruling in Tinsley v. Caterpillar Fin. Servs., Corp., No. 18-5303 (6th Cir. Mar. 20, 2019) is a good reminder that not all impairments rise to the level of a “disability” within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Kentucky Adopts Pregnant Workers Act

April 15, 2019Governor Bevin signed Senate Bill 18, the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act. The Act amends the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) and applies to employers with 15 or more employees within the state in each of twenty (20) or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, as well as any agent of the employer.

Michigan Supreme Court to Consider Request for Advisory Opinion on Paid Medical Leave Law

April 5, 2019The Michigan Supreme Court will wade into the clash involving the constitutionality of the state’s Paid Medical Leave Act, at least to decide whether to consider the substance of that clash.

April 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

April 2, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia.

The 4th Circuit Reaffirms Regular, Reliable Attendance Is Essential Function of Most Jobs

April 1, 2019The 4th Circuit has reaffirmed its position that regular and reliable attendance is an essential function of most jobs.

The FMLA, ADA and Overseas Employees

March 20, 2019In the global economy, it is not unusual for U.S. multinational companies to have employees working overseas. Overseas employment arrangements require employers to navigate a variety of complex legal issues – some of them leave related.

What Employers Can Do to Prepare For Westchester County’s Earned Sick Leave Law

March 18, 2019Companies should begin preparing now for the new Westchester County Earned Sick Leave Law, which becomes effective on Apr. 10, 2019.

Pittsburgh Now Requires Pregnancy Accommodations for Employees and Partners

March 12, 2019In major news for employers in Pittsburgh, the City Council unanimously passed a new ordinance greatly expanding protections for pregnant employees and imposing several new requirements on private employers, much like those under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and related EEOC guidance.

March 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

March 4, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, and Virginia.

Broad Workers’ Compensation Release Agreement Bars Disability Discrimination Claims

March 4, 2019The District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana dismissed an employee’s disability discrimination claims based on a broad release in her workers’ compensation settlement agreement with the employer.

Unsettled Waters at the Accommodation of Last Resort

February 20, 2019In 2019, we are poised to learn where the 4th Circuit stands on reassignment as an accommodation — an issue that has split the Circuits.

Dispute Over Content of Voicemails Requires Jury Trial on FMLA Claims

February 13, 2019An employee seeking the protection of FMLA leave must give adequate and timely notice of the need for leave.

Federal Court of Appeals Will Decide Whether or Not Morbid Obesity Is an Impairment

January 12, 2019We know that the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) substantially altered the landscape for review of claims asserting a disability. But, are employees still required to show some sort of disorder or impairment to state a claim?

Appellate Courts Agree: Regular Attendance Is Essential Function of Most Jobs

January 4, 2019Recent decisions from the 2nd, 5th, and 8th Circuit Courts of Appeals exemplify the growing consensus among courts that even employees with a disability are generally required to comply with company attendance policies.

January 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

January 4, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Washington.

California State Disability Insurance Increases

January 2, 2019It’s a new year, and California SDI benefits will be increasing. The SDI withholding rate continues to be 1.0% of wages. But, the taxable wage limit will increase from $114,967 to $118,371.

EEOC Revises Wellness Plan Regulations

December 21, 2018On Dec. 20, the EEOC revised wellness plan regulations by removing the section that permitted incentives. In doing so, the EEOC left employers back in the quandary they were in before. Neither the law, nor the remaining regulations, expressly prohibit (or permit) incentives.

Michigan’s Amended Paid Medical Leave Law

December 19, 2018The Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act requires employers in Michigan to provide their employees with accrued paid medical leave to use for their own or their family members’ medical needs and for purposes related to domestic violence and sexual assault. The new law will become effective in March 2019.

Michigan Governor Signs Sick Leave Amendment

December 18, 2018On Dec. 13, Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder signed into law the bill amending the recently enacted Paid Sick Leave (PSL) law, putting the finishing touch on a two-step political strategy to have the legislature craft a PSL bill rather than have voters consider a bill crafted by PSL advocates.

December 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

December 7, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Nevada.

Austin Sick Time Ordinance Preempted

November 26, 2018The Austin Earned Sick Time Ordinance is unconstitutional because it is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act (TMWA), the Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, ruled on Friday.

Tenth Circuit Rules No Adverse Employment Action and No Failure-to-Accommodate Claim

November 20, 2018The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) includes within its definition of “discriminate,” an employer’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability. But, is a failure to accommodate standing alone — absent an adverse employment action — enough to establish an ADA failure-to-accommodate claim?

California Expands Upon Lactation Accommodation Requirements

November 3, 2018California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1976, expanding California employer obligations respective to employee lactation accommodation.

November 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

November 3, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for California, Delaware, Florida, New Mexico, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia.

Expanded Paid Leave Benefits Coming to California Employees

October 31, 2018Currently California employees who wish to receive pay during leave for a qualifying exigency would need to use their own accrued vacation or paid time off hours. However, beginning Jan. 1, 2021, an employee can apply for wage replacement benefits from the State of California Paid Family Leave insurance program during such a leave.

A Dozen Paid Sick Leave Laws Disappear

October 29, 2018The Garden State passed the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law last May; it went into effect on Oct. 28, 2018. A provision of that law nullifies the thirteen municipal PSL laws that had been passed in the state, for a net reduction of twelve PSL laws.

Paid Sick Leave on its Way to Albany County

October 26, 2018Albany County (NY) will likely become the fourth county in the nation to adopt a paid sick leave law. The only question is when it will be adopted. The Law Committee of the County Legislature held a public hearing earlier this week on an amended proposed Albany County Paid Sick Leave Act.

FMLA Leave for Chronic Health Conditions

October 9, 2018When an employee takes medical leave, treatment by a healthcare provider is often assumed, and the frequency of doctor’s visits is rarely scrutinized. The Pennsylvania federal court’s recent decision in Watkins v. Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh alerts us that this is not always a wise approach.

Another Court Decides That Extended Leave is Not Reasonable

October 5, 2018In Easter v. Arkansas Children’s Hospital, an employee was unable to work after exhausting her FMLA leave but she had an appointment to be evaluated by a specialist less than a month later. The employer denied the additional leave and terminated her employment. The Court held there was no violation of the ADA.

Westchester County Enacts Sick Leave Law

October 2, 2018On Oct. 1 Westchester County, New York enacted an Earned Sick Leave law, becoming the third county nationwide to do so. Montgomery County, Maryland, and Cook County, Illinois also have enacted paid sick leave laws. The Westchester County law is effective in 180 days.