Nebraska News & Analysis

  • 8th Circuit: City may suspend disabled worker who failed drug test

    The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Nebraska employers) recently held that an employee who was suspended before his employer had any reason to suspect he might be disabled couldn't establish a prima facie (minimally sufficient) case of disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The 8th Circuit noted that if the employer had no reason to know of the employee's disability before it took the alleged adverse employment action, it couldn't have discriminated against him by "regarding him" as disabled.

  • Caution is advised when smelly situation is afoot

    Q We have a new employee with a significant odor problem he says is connected to a foot infection. Numerous coworkers have complained about the odor. He isn't eligible for benefits yet so he has put off going to the doctor, but his manager said he must go for both his own health and the workplace issue his condition is causing. Are we crossing any lines by requiring him to see a doctor?

  • Individual coverage HRAs probably not option for 2020

    On his very first day in office, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to lessen the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) burden on the organizations and individuals who were subject to its requirements. More than two years later, the ACA is limping along, but the Trump administration is still working to carry out that order.

  • How to identify and minimize employee burnout

    You may have seen reports recently that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified employee burnout as a diagnosable medical condition. While that's not exactly accurate, the group has expanded its definition of the term in its latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases.

  • Workplace Trends

    Tight labor market tops HR concerns, survey says. Attracting talent has surpassed regulatory compliance as the top HR concern, according to the 2019 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, released on June 24. More than two-thirds of HR leaders reported difficulty finding and hiring quality candidates, up from 59% last year. When asked specifically about challenges related to hiring, HR professionals most often cited finding qualified candidates (49%), retaining their best employees (49%), and finding candidates who fit their company culture (42%). The survey reported that as a result of those challenges, HR teams are increasingly willing to train job candidates who may not check all the boxes for required skills. The survey showed 85% of HR leaders would be willing to train and upskill an underqualified candidate, and 78% said their organizations have already benefited from upskilling underqualified workers.

  • Old termination can trigger new retaliation claim, 8th Circuit says

    A terminated employee may still be able to sue for retaliation years later if a new adverse action occurs such as refusing to contract a leased employee. The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which governs the federal courts in Nebraska, recently considered a retaliation case filed by an employee who was discharged in 2008 and then lost a contract position with the same company in 2015.

  • Supreme Court ruling raises stakes in Title VII claims

    If an employee files a timely Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge, can she later raise new discrimination allegations after the filing deadline has passed? That's the issue addressed in a new decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Spoiler alert: The answer is no, unless the employer—or more accurately, its attorney—doesn't notice. To understand the Court's ruling, it's helpful to understand the EEOC's role in discrimination claims.

  • 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).

  • Is employee with gout necessarily out?

    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 unpaid until he can do his job?

  • Hanky, panky, and spanky: consensual sexual conduct in the workplace

    It starts with a call—sometimes anonymous, sometimes with a name attached—to inform you about something going on at work that you might not be aware of: Two of your employees have become involved in a romantic relationship, and the caller isn't happy about it. As an employer, your first thought is always who is complaining? A client, a customer, a coworker—someone who has a foundation for a possible sexual harassment claim? And what do I need to do about it?