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Watch For these Trends in 1999

March 1, 1999
Related Topics: Miscellaneous Legal Issues, Featured Article
Employment law claims are increasing, and no one expects them to slow down in 1999. We can expect a continuation of a number of trends to develop through case law on both the federal and state law. These cases will occur in the areas of:

  • ADA.
    When the U.S. Supreme Court found in Bragdon v. Abbott (decided June 1998) that reproduction is a major life activity, the justices took a very broad interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The result of that ruling will be that courts will have to take a deeper look at what a disability is. And, more courts will have to deal with the difficult question of whether reasonable accommodation has been made in the workplace.
  • FMLA.
    There will be more cases defining what is a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as well as the question of when is an employer on notice that an employee has a serious health condition?
  • Religious Discrimination.
    Because of the increasing diversity of the workplace, employees' willingness to express their religious beliefs at work through dressing differently from other employees and requesting additional time off will cause a greater number of cases regarding religious accommodations.
  • Employer Retaliation.
    Employees who have had difficulty proving discrimination will increasingly sue, charging the employer retaliated against them for filing the discrimination suit.
  • More Whistleblower Claims.
    When does a white male under 40 have a claim for discrimination? Usually as a whistleblower. These claims occur most often in hospitals, financial institutions, and in other industries that are heavily regulated. The basis for this type of claim is that the employee claims they opposed employer's illegal conduct, and adverse consequences resulted.


Source: Michael Barabander, partner at Grotta, Glassman & Hoffman, a Roseland, NJ-based management labor and employment relations law firm. Reprinted with permission from Human Resource Management News, 1998. All Rights Reserved. Kennedy Information, LLC/Human Resource Management News. (800-531-0007).

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