Kentucky News & Analysis

  • Employee can't use 'me, too' evidence for hostile environment claim

    A former amusement park employee who sued the park's owner for sexual harassment was barred from introducing evidence that the alleged harasser also behaved inappropriately toward other female employees. The court found the "me, too" evidence was irrelevant to the employee's claim and would be harmful to the employer's defense.

  • DOL issues FMLA opinion letters after a long break

    For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued opinion letters interpreting the requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This may be a sign that the Trump administration intends to rely heavily on opinion letters as a form of guidance for employers, a practice that had been discarded by the Obama administration.

  • Paramedic's FMLA retaliation, interference claims don't fly with court

    A flight paramedic's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) retaliation and interference claims were rejected because he was terminated for fraudulently misusing and later lying about needing baby-bonding leave.

  • Don't forget to properly classify independent contractors

    You likely recall a time not so long ago when the improper classification of employees as independent contractors was the hot topic for the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In 2011, the agencies entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" in which they agreed to share information about potential misclassifications in an effort to crack down on the common practice. The DOL also entered into similar agreements with roughly 30 state departments of labor.

  • Employee can't prove bias without evidence, even under mixed-motive theory

    The Kentucky Court of Appeals recently examined the mixed-motive theory in a race discrimination case that involved allegations of fraud and whistleblowing. Under that theory, an employee has to show only that discrimination was "a" motivating factor in the employer's adverse employment action, rather than "the" motivating factor, to proceed with his claims. Let's look at how the employee in this case fared.

  • Agency Action

    OFCCP releases directives on equal employment and religious freedom. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in August issued two new policy directives, one focused on equal employment opportunity and the other addressing religious freedom. The equal employment opportunity directive calls for more comprehensive reviews of contractor compliance with federal antidiscrimination laws. The religious freedom directive is aimed at protecting the rights of religion-exercising organizations. The DOL said it is implementing a comprehensive compliance initiative that will include adding focused reviews to its compliance activities. The religious freedom directive instructs OFCCP staff to take into account recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and White House Executive Orders that protect religious freedom.

  • Workplace Trends

    Salary increases expected to remain flat. Research from workforce consulting firm Mercer shows salary increase budgets for U.S. employees are at 2.8% in 2018—no change from 2017. Salary increase budgets for 2019 are projected to be just 2.9%, despite factors like the tightening labor market and a high rate of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs. The information comes from Mercer's "2018/2019 US Compensation Planning Survey." Mercer's research shows that even newly available investment dollars from the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act aren't enhancing the compensation budgets for most companies. Mercer says just 4% of organizations have redirected some of their anticipated tax savings to their salary increase budgets.

  • Forklift driver wins ADA case because medical exam was unlawful

    A forklift operator was terminated for refusing to comply with a company-hired doctor's request that she provide medical records related to her treatment for colon cancer before he would clear her to continue driving a forklift. She sued, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and won her case because neither the medical examination—which the employer periodically requires for all employees who operate heavy equipment—nor the doctor's request for her cancer records was "job-related and consistent with business necessity."

  • Requiring a doctor's note after worker self-reports issues isn't discrimination

    An employee's disability discrimination claim failed because he refused to provide updated information from his doctor after his wife sent a letter to his supervisor claiming he was mentally unstable. The wife's letter also contradicted the employee's doctor's note stating that he was fit for duty.

  • Was employee's requested accommodation actually necessary?

    An employee's disability discrimination claim failed because she couldn't show that her requested accommodation of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise needed to be uninterrupted and she already had sufficient time to exercise throughout her workday.