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Another successful seminar in the books! Thank you to the nearly 400 attendees who came from near and far. We hope you enjoyed the day and that our presentations provided timely, relevant and valuable insight.

Congratulations to our blog contest winners! You will receive complimentary registrations to our 2019 Seminar.

    • Monelle Petgrave, Amadeus North America
    • Dawn Gevat, JCD Sports Group

The top takeaways from each of our sessions:

  1. Lisa Berg: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know About the ADA
    • ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals on the basis of a disability in regard to hiring, firing, advancement, and other terms and conditions of employment; and requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities absent undue hardship.
    • The definition of “disability” should be interpreted broadly.
    • Update job descriptions.
    • Generally, employee must request an accommodation (e.g., informing employer that an adjustment or change is needed at work because of a “medical condition”).
    • Interact before you act!  
    • Employer should initiate interactive process by having an expeditious, meaningful dialogue with the employee.  “How can I help you?”
    • Employer has an obligation to provide an effective accommodation, not necessarily the one the employee most wants.
    • Don’t forget GINA safe harbor language when requesting medical information from the employee.
    • Employer never needs to provide indefinite leave as a reasonable accommodation.
    • Eleventh Circuit rejects EEOC’s position and holds that ADA doesn’t require reassignment to a vacant position without competition.
    • Document good faith efforts to reasonably accommodate.
  1. Bob Turk15 Ways to Ensure You Have the Perfect Lousy Supervisor

Hiring a lousy supervisor is easy.  Finding a grade-A supervisor takes much more effort.

A lousy supervisor can be detrimental to your organization in many ways:

    • Infighting
    • Lower productivity and profitability
    • Increased turnover
    • Workplace sabotage
    • Unionization
    • Employee mutiny
    • A catalyst for legal claims
    • Calls to the DOL

Avoid hiring horrible managers by:

    • Performing a thorough background check
    • Structuring your interview process
    • Reviewing the application form/questionnaire
    • Following up with references
    • Working with HR during the hiring process
    • Completing pre-employment testing

If you already employ a horrible manager, all is not lost. There are many strategies that can improve management performance and help create a positive working environment:

    • Proper training for supervisors
    • Offer feedback or an evaluation from management
    • Avoid overwhelming the supervisor
  1. Janet Goldberg McEnery & Bayardo Aleman: Investigating Harassment Complaints Post Weinstein – Are You Prepared?

As the flurry of media coverage has brought to the forefront, the consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace are serious and far-reaching.  Employers have the responsibility of maintaining a harassment-free workplace.  Now is a good time to “reboot” your policies and take active steps to ensure compliance, including conducting thorough investigations.

  1. Kara Nickel & Joanne Schiffer: Substance Over Forms: FMLA and I-9
    • FMLA: The FMLA poster must be visible to employees and In the Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities form, make sure to check all relevant boxes and do not give inconsistent information about the use of paid leave time during FMLA (it is either required or the employee’s choice, don’t select both options).  If the health provider certification is insufficient or incomplete, prepare a specific description of the deficiencies and attach it to the Designation Notice to request more information.
    • I-9: Fill it out on the first day of employment. Inspect original documents, even for remote employees.  Exercise caution if using a prefilled form from a software program as the information may no longer be accurate.
  1. Ingrid Ponce & Giselle Gutierrez Madrigal: All Rise! Decisions that are Changing the Way You Do Business
    • Be careful when relying on prior salary to set a new salary; make sure to conduct an equal pay analysis of employees at least on an annual basis.
    • One-time sexual advances can serve as the basis of a retaliation claim; make sure you train your managers to know that what happens outside of work can still bind the company.
    • We caution against conducting surveillance of employees on FMLA leave and especially without an objective reason to do so.
    • Remember that requests for a reasonable accommodation for religious reasons require the same interactive process as requests under the ADA. Unless the request poses an undue burden, the employer may have to accommodate.
    • Settling claims under the FLSA can be tricky.  Make sure you consult with employment counsel to ensure your company is protected.
    • Emoji’s are invading your workplace. Make sure your policies are updated and your supervisors understand that not all emoji’s are harmless.
  1. Andrew Rodman & Eric Roth: LGBTQ: The Issues, the Law, the Reality, and the Decisions Florida Employers Must Make
    • Train managers and employees on sexual orientation, gender identity and transgender-related issues.
    • Review/revise policies (e.g., harassment/discrimination, dress code).
    • Be aware of and comply with applicable state and local non-discrimination laws where your business has operations.
    • Be consistent in all hiring and employment decisions – based on performance and merit, not on gender stereotypes or other discriminatory factors.
    • Investigate claims of discrimination or harassment promptly. Be sensitive to gender discrimination issues such as bullying and other unprofessional behavior.
    • Be sensitive and accommodating: create an open atmosphere and develop goodwill among your employees.
  1. Rene Ruiz & Laura FarinasNose Out of Joint? What’s the Law on Joint Employer Status?

Although the new administration is likely to narrow the recently broadened definition of “joint employer,” in the meantime, employers must review their practices to ensure consistency with the current NLRB standard. Most importantly, employers should confirm that they are not exercising or reserving control over essential work terms such as hiring, firing, discipline, exclusivity, or other job specifics.

  1. Glenn Rissman & Elitsa Yotkova: From a 1990 Wheelchair to the 2018 Website: The ADA & Technology-Related Accommodations

When an employer thinks of a workplace accommodation, they may first think of lifting restrictions, or a modification of work duties or a policy.  However, with the greater role of technology in all that we do, we anticipate that employers will start receiving requests (and lawsuits) relating to the accessibility of workplace software applications, online forms and web-based training.  Employers should be prepared to offer technological accommodations or modify policies to allow an employee to do things “old school.”  Similarly, employers may experience a surge in requests to bring an animal to work as an accommodation.  Make sure to engage in the interactive process with the employee to identify a reasonable accommodation and remember that, if multiple reasonable accommodations are available, the employer gets to decide which reasonable accommodation to adopt.

  1. Sharon Quinn Dixon, Carol Myers & Andrew McLaughlin: Another ERISA Fiduciary Duty? Protecting Your Benefit Plan’s Confidential Information
    • Employers must take affirmative steps to protect participant data; doing nothing or relying on either company procedures, or plan providers is not adequate.
    • Vendor procedures and vendor service contract obligations are essential to plan cyber protection.
    • Prudent cyber procedures must include frequent and repeated employee training as well as regular and frequent updates to policies and procedures.

If you have any follow up questions for one of our presenters, do not hesitate to contact us.

Today we are hosting our first annual labor seminar in Tampa with similar topics. We can’t wait to see what next year will bring!