ADA in the News September 8, 2020

Employer may have unreasonably failed to prevent a coworker's sexual assault
A female security guard terminated less than a month after reporting that a male coworker sexually assaulted her at work survived summary judgment on her Title VII claims of hostile work environment and retaliation, though her ADA claim was tossed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. A federal district court in Louisiana ruled that while the coworker was fired the day after she reported his behavior, triable issues existed as to whether the employer had constructive knowledge of his prior harassment of others and acted unreasonably by not acting earlier. The employee also cast sufficient doubt on the employer's contention that it changed her schedule and fired her for legitimate reasons, including a lack of manpower, and not in retaliation for her protected EEO activity. (Dowdell v Culpepper & Associates Security Services, Inc, EDLa, August 28, 2020, Morgan, S.)

Dog-at-work suit heads to trial

Later this month, a federal jury will be asked to decide if a Benton man is entitled to take his dog to work with him.

Perry Hopman, 45, isn't just a dog lover who would like his pet's companionship. He's an Army veteran and a former flight medic who, after an 18-month deployment to Iraq, was diagnosed in 2008 with post-traumatic stress disorder. He's also a survivor of a subsequent traumatic brain injury that occurred during a 2010 deployment to Kosovo with the National Guard, worsening his PTSD.

How One Company is Working to Solve Web Inaccessibility

The co-founder and CEO of a company working to make the Internet ADA-compliant talks about what businesses can do to be more inclusive.

Back-to-School during COVID-19: A Pierce Atwood Q&A for Employers

As schools throughout New England finalize their plans for the fall semester, many employees are faced with an ongoing need to care or facilitate education for their school-aged children on a part-time or even full-time basis. At the same time, employers are grappling not only with what they are legally required to provide, but also with what is the right thing to do to meet the needs of their workforce while maintaining adequate and productive staffing.

Further complicating matters, there are several different sources of leave to which employees in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island may be entitled, at both the federal and state levels. An employer assessing its legal obligations vis-à-vis an employee who requires leave due to school closure or remote learning must run through a veritable alphabet soup of potentially applicable leave laws to ascertain which, if any, apply.


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