medicalleaverequest

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for a variety of reasons, including for one’s own serious health condition. An employee with a serious health condition can take FMLA leave if the employee satisfies three additional requirements:

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A breakfastEarlier this year, I shared the most unique late-to-work excuses. “I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning, and I lost track of time” did not make the list. However, according to the Associated Press, a New Jersey teacher used that excuse to explain away the 111 times he was late to work.

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Social-media-for-public-relations1The recent uptick in activity on my “fired AND Facebook” Google Alert suggests that individuals with jobs continue to struggle with social media (Exhibit A, B). However, according to a recent survey from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), 65% of surveyed employers found their new hires through social media this past year. LinkedIn was the most popular social networking platform for sourcing job candidates. Indeed, 87% of HR professionals said it was either “very or somewhat important for job seekers to be on LinkedIn.”

But, wait, there’s more…

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An alcoholic employee can present a number of tricky legal issues affecting the workplace. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, there’s a certain dichotomy. That is, alcoholism is a disability under the Act. However, an employer can ban alcohol in the workplace and require that employees not be under the influence of alcohol.

But what about an alcoholic employee, who, while remaining sober at work, seeks a leave of absence to treat?

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Every so often, I like to reach out to a random reader of this blog to get their feedback on what I’m doing right (everything) and what I could improve upon (my arms). Yesterday, I spoke with a reader who mentioned that she liked the posts where I table the legal mumbo jumbo and just talk about me.

Unfortunately, however, we lawyers have no egos and rarely like to talk about ourselves. But, because it’s Friday, and in the spirit of narcisism charity, I’m going to let you in with another glimpse into my world.

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Yesterday’s tragic shooting in Virginia, in which two journalists were killed by a former co-worker and third individual was badly injured, was blindsiding. In the hours that passed, we learned more about the shooter’s turbulent work history. However, the only real hints at total disaster came in near real time, as the shooter let the world into the depths of his depravity through a bizarre manifesto and social media postings made shortly after the murders. All told, it’s hard to imagine how this tragedy could have been prevented.

A little less than five years ago, I wrote here about a horrific workplace shooting in Pennsylvania that left two employees dead and another severely injured. When I Googled to find more information about the aftermath of that 2010 shooting, I found this article about a jury award entered this past Spring, finding that the security company hired to protect employees at the facility negligent. Still, like yesterday’s shooting, no one could have accurately forecasted the Pennsylvania tragedy. Although, apparently, repeated clashes between the killer and her co-workers prior to the shooting suggested that matters could escalate beyond mere words.

Ultimately, it’s exceedingly difficult to predict workplace violence, and there is no solution to stopping it altogether, especially when outside forces can impact employee safety. However, there are several prophylactic steps that employers can take to reduce the risk. Please refer back to my 2010 post for some suggestions (and resources) on addressing the root of the problem before it spirals out of control into workplace violence.

Image Credit: Pixabay

A stylized white ear, with two white bars surrounding it, on a blue background.
One of my all-time favorite ADA cases — God, am I a dork — is Keith v. County of Oakland, which I previously blogged about here. It involves a deaf lifeguard who applies for a position at a public pool and what, accommodations, if any are reasonable to allow him to perform the essential functions of the job. Why I like the case — in addition to singing the Baywatch theme when I speak about it at SHRM events — is it teaches employers never to judge a book by its cover. Even a deaf lifeguard may be qualified to perform the essential functions of the job.

Yesterday, I read about another case involving a deaf applicant for a safety-sensitive position.

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