Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania is about to become the second Commonwealth in the United States to legalize medical marijuana. (23 states — la di da, states — plus DC currently allow it)

Does this mean that employees with migraines can puff vape pens and eat Cheetos in your break rooms at work? Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.

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Large bonfire.jpgLet’s say that one of your employees forms a corporation. The sole purpose of the corporation is to accept direct payment of wages for the employee. In other words, this arrangement does not affect the employee’s duties or your control over the employee at work. Indeed, maybe you provide the employee with business cards with both your company name and the employee’s name.

Just suppose…

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human-1181577_640

Right around the time that email subscribers to this blog — you can become one too, you know — receive today’s post, I’ll be sitting on an “Ask the Expert” legal panel at the Lehigh Valley Chapter of SHRM saying lawyerly stuff like…

“It depends.” and “I’ll get back to you on that.” and “Are you serious? Or just asking for a friend.

One of the questions I know that we’ll get is about employee handbook acknowledgments. Specifically, what should they look like?

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Wooden file cabinet.JPGThe Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to an individual with a disability, if doing so will allow that person to perform the essential functions of the job.

Temporary light duty? Yep, that’s a reasonable accommodation.

But, what about permanent light duty?

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genebank4

A received a number of emails following yesterday’s blog post, “Can you refuse to hire a person whom you fear may have a future disability?” Most were nice. Although, I didn’t appreciate one reader’s virtual flaming bag of virtual dog poop left in my inbox. That person can go to virtual hell. Or actual hell.

But, one of the more substantive emails was worthy of setting the table for today’s post:

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Stethoscope-2

Over the next few days. you may read a bunch of headlines about yesterday’s Eighth Circuit decision in Morris v. BNSF Railway (opinion here), touting the court’s holding that obesity, by itself, is a not a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Specifically, the court concluded that “for obesity, even morbid obesity, to be considered a physical impairment, it must result from an underlying physiological disorder or condition.” The Eighth Circuit’s conclusions aligns with prior decisions from the Sixth Circuit (opinion here) and the Second Circuit (opinion here).

But, that’s not what caught my attention.

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fmla

A few years ago, I blogged here about the importance of communicating with employees on FMLA to stay abreast of their status and eventual return-to-work.

But, even before employees go on FMLA, both clear communication and workplace policies becomes paramount. Consider this recent example involving a pregnant salesperson.

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USWNT Celebrates.jpgLast week, five players on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team filed a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The women claim that they paid up to four times less than their male counterparts for doing basically the same job.

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Cartelon de OT 1

Back in 2012, when I wasn’t part of this new protected class, I wrote here about whether an employer would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act by requiring an employee to work overtime. The takeaway from that post was, yes, if working a minimum number of hours each week is an essential job function, disabled or not, an employee needs to work those hours.

On Wednesday, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals revisited this issue. Let’s see what happened…

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