News for February 21, 2017

Featured this week:

In state law news:

Featured this week:

Evidence that supervisor frustrated by number of pregnant employees didn’t show pretext
A pregnant nursing aide was unable to show that her termination was pretextual by relying on evidence that her supervisor had made remarks such as "I have too many pregnant workers," held a federal district court in Kansas in granting summary judgment against her pregnancy discrimination claim. The supervisor had an obvious reason to be concerned about scheduling issues when multiple employees became pregnant around the same time, and the supervisor’s alleged remarks did not reflect a negative attitude toward pregnancy generally. Nor did it suffice to show pretext that the company deviated from the steps of its termination policy in firing the nursing aide, because the missteps were not serious enough to suggest pretext here. (Fassbender v Correct Care Solutions, LLC, DKan, February 9, 2017, Lungstrum, J.)

Employee was the one responsible for breakdown in interactive process
Because an employee did not cooperate with Ford Motor Company’s efforts to determine whether he required new medical restrictions for a thumb injury, his ADA failure-to-accommodate claim did not survive summary judgment, held a federal district court in Michigan. He refused to allow a company physician to examine him or to communicate with his family physician, and thus was to blame for the breakdown in the ADA interactive process, the evidence showed. His workers’ compensation retaliation claim failed too, because he did not establish an adverse action. (Roring v Ford Motor Co, EDMich, February 15, 2017, Cox, S.)

Supervisor’s alleged age-related remarks, creation of frat-like atmosphere, support age and gender bias claims
Citing evidence of an employee’s numerous promotions and positive reviews during her lengthy tenure with a company, together with evidence of a new supervisor’s disparaging remarks about her age, his disdain for working with older women, and derogatory statements about women in general, a federal district court in Pennsylvania denied summary judgment against her federal gender and age bias claims stemming from her demotion and discharge. Her retaliation claims advanced as well. (Konsavage v Mondelez Global LLC, dba Mondelez International Inc, MDPa, February 3, 2017, Conaboy, R.)

Fact questions as to whether broken arm was disability and whether employee was qualified
Despite some medical reports stating that restrictions from an employee’s broken arm were temporary and evidence that her condition improved over time, a federal district court in Tennessee found that she presented evidence sufficient to show she was disabled under the ADA, including that there were still restrictions in place at the time of her termination 12 months later. Because fact issues also existed as to whether she could have performed the essential functions of her job with assistance from others, the court denied summary judgment on her ADA failure-to-accommodate claim. Her retaliation claim failed, however. (Mullenix v Eastman Chemical Co, EDTenn, February 15, 2017, Phillips, T.)

Reminder: Use only new USCIS forms after February 21
New U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees took effect on December 23, 2016, and updated versions of the agency’s forms were published. After February 21, USCIS will no longer accept previous editions of these forms, the agency announced on February 10.

Study looks at how employers use Facebook to screen job candidates
New research published by scientific journal New Media & Society shows that employers use Facebook to screen job candidates. In fact, one's Facebook profile picture affects one's chances of appointment about as much as the picture that one adds to one's CV.

Consumer prices rise 0.6% in January
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported February 15. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.

BLS reports real average hourly earnings decrease 0.5% in January
Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.5 percent from December to January, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported February 15. This result stems from a 0.1-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.6-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

In state law news:

New Jersey law gives preference to employers applying for workforce development grants
New Jersey has enacted a law (A. 2517, L. 2016, enacted and effective February 10, 2017) that gives preference to certain employers to provide them greater access to workforce development funds.

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