Small business owners are often surprised to learn that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) provides for very specific architectural standards applicable to the physical locations where businesses operate. These standards are prescribed by the Department of Justice in a manual referred to as the “ADAAG,” or ADA Accessibility Guidelines. They are incredibly detailed, with down-to-the-inch requirements for things such as urinals and toilet paper dispensers. They prescribe the appropriate slope and dimensions of parking spaces, and the type of permissible door handles and locks. They even prescribe the range of appropriate heights for signs and the size of the lettering on signs used at small businesses. There is no funding available to help small businesses meet the requirements of the ADAAG, but violations can be quite costly, as set out below.
On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it had settled one of its first lawsuits alleging sexual orientation discrimination. The settlement—in the form of a consent decree—requires Pallet Companies, doing business as IFCO Systems (IFCO), to pay $202,200 in addition to a number of nonmonetary requirements. This landmark decree comes less than a year after the EEOC first concluded that discrimination on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation amounted to sex discrimination.
I know, I know. I’ve already blogged about this subject—about how employers shouldn’t be asking about family medical history. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has once again charged an employer with violating the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). And the employer also asked questions about the disabilities of applicants in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Labor Department (DOL) issued its new overtime rules. These new rules primarily address the trigger amount for exempting executive, administrative, professional, and computer employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These exemptions are frequently referred to as EAP exemptions or white-collar exemptions.
As discussed in a previous post, employers cannot terminate employees for using social media to exercise their right to engage in protected concerted activity (typically seen as “unionizing”). Holding that employers cannot fight fire with fire, a recent court decision has now limited the extent of the employer’s ability to use social media to oppose “unionizing” activities.