Arkansas News & Analysis

  • 8th Circuit: Showing up is a big part of any job

    Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit (whose rulings apply to all Arkansas employers) considered the importance of attendance as an essential job function. The court found that without regular and reliable attendance, an employee wasn't qualified to perform her job at the time of her discharge and couldn't satisfy the minimum standard for pursuing a disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

  • Being 'married to the job' doesn't mean you can't be fired

    While the U.S. Constitution doesn't protect the rights of employees in the private-sector workforce, it does allow public-sector employees to sue their governmental employer for violating their constitutional rights. Recently, the 8th Circuit addressed when the right to freedom of association protects an employee from termination.

  • A stick in the arm may be a bona fide job requirement

    When does a medical provider's obligation to protect its patients trump the rights of disabled employees? The 8th Circuit recently addressed that issue when it considered a case in which an employee challenged a medical facility's requirement that employees be immunized.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).

  • To Bugg out or not to Bugg out: Was ambiguous e-mail a resignation?

    Recently, the Arkansas Court of Appeals addressed whether an employee's ambiguous letter of protest that could be interpreted as an intent to resign was sufficient to constitute a voluntary departure without good cause that justified the denial of unemployment benefits after the employee was terminated.

  • Be very careful what you ask for—employee status can be a blessing or a curse

    Many employers seek to designate workers as independent contractors rather than employees. A recent workers' compensation case before the Arkansas Court of Appeals illustrates why that approach may have significant negative repercussions.

  • Supreme Court will decide whether LGBT discrimination is unlawful

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the long-unresolved question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue has been percolating in the lower courts for quite a while. As it frequently does, the Court declined to consider the question until there was a conflict between several appellate courts. Let's take a look at the history of the Court's decisions, the arguments on both sides of the issue, and what we can expect next.

  • Gout flare-ups may qualify worker for ADA, FMLA protections

    Q We have an employee who suffers from gout. When it flares up, he is unable to perform his duties. Are we within our rights to send him home without pay until he can do his job?

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds lack of mentorship and coaching. New data from media agency network Mindshare U.S. found that 42% of U.S. employees said their companies either don't offer mentorship programs or don't offer enough of them. Men were more likely than women to say they either got enough or more than enough mentorship programs at work, at 57% versus 42%. The research also found that 66% of U.S. employees rank ongoing feedback or coaching on their work as an important or very important benefit in the workplace. Yet 28% of people surveyed said that they either don't get enough ongoing coaching or feedback or that their companies don't even offer it. The data showed that women were more likely than men to feel that way, at 31% versus 25%.

  • Amended minimum wage law, other actions affecting Arkansas workers

    The Arkansas General Assembly has adjourned. Following is an update on several employment law-related proposals affecting employers and employees.