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Court: Disabled or not, worker must be able to perform essential job functions

The federal appeals court that covers Oklahoma recently ruled in favor of Walmart in a lawsuit filed by a disabled former employee. Disabled maintenance employee terminated after refusing to clean restrooms Simone Mielnicki was a 60-year-old maintenance employee who worked at Walmart in Parker, Colorado.  According to the lawsuit, Mielnicki had a developmental disability that…

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Working on the Sabbath

Religious accommodation need not be employee’s preferred accommodation

Just as employers have a legal duty to reasonably accommodate employees’ disabilities, they also have an obligation to reasonably accommodate employees’ religious practices. Employers often struggle with determining what is reasonable, particularly when the employee requests an accommodation different than what the employer has offered. Recently, the Tenth Circuit clarified that a religious accommodation can…

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Remarks and inconsistent stories fuel pregnancy discrimination claim

An employer’s shifting rationale for termination doomed it to facing a jury trial on a pregnancy discrimination claim in the recent case Fassbender v. Correct Care Solutions. “What, you’re pregnant, too?” Alena Fassbender worked as a medication aide for Correct Care Solutions, LLC, a nationwide healthcare services company that contracts with jails and prisons to…

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New meaning to the Equal Pay Act’s promise of pay equity

“Pay equity” is quickly becoming a term every employer must understand. Never in its 25-year history have the principles of the Equal Pay Act (EPA) received so much attention. Courts have been examining the meaning of pay equity under the EPA, and legislatures are expanding the reach of pay equity and limiting employer inquiries into…

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‘Highly compensated exemption’ not as simple as it sounds

Theoretically, the highly compensated exemption should simplify an employer’s Fair Labor Standards Act classification inquiry. After all, if an employee meets the highly compensated monetary threshold, that employee must only meet one duties test, right? No so fast, friend. Let’s take a trip back in time to the Obama administration in 2016. The revisions to…

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Minimizing liability for overpayment, underpayment of wages

Overpayment of wages is more common than you may think. For example, inadvertent overpayment may occur in the context of processing new hire, promotion or revised benefit election paperwork. Regardless of the reason, employers must address overpayment in a very specific manner. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not address the actual payment of…

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Oklahoma transgender employee seeks reinstatement

In November we alerted employers that an Oklahoma City federal court jury awarded Rachel Tudor, a transgender employee, $1.165 million in her discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment lawsuit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SEOSU). Since that time, at least three other federal appeals courts have likewise held that discrimination on the basis of transgender…

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