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Jun 2013
14
June 14, 2013

Labor News


NLRB’s Authority Murkier Than Ever

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has thrown into doubt virtually everything the National Labor Relations Board has done since January, 2012 (and maybe as far back as August, 2011), when it ruled that the board lacked authority to do business because President Obama’s recess appointments to the board were invalid. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals also invalidated the recess appointments. The NLRB is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. If either or both of the decisions are upheld, any NLRB orders, rules and regulations  put forth during the period in question will have no legal force or effect.

Disability Discrimination

New guidance is available in the form of a Q&A on how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to individuals with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and intellectual disabilities. The guidance provides:
  • General background on the disability
  • How to obtain medical documentation
  • How to accommodate the disability
  • Safety concerns an employer may have regarding the disability
Additionally, there are examples that an employer may find helpful when faced with a difficult decision. Given the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s increased focus on disability discrimination, employers should pay close attention to the guidance.
 
OSHA’s Focus on Temporary Workers

As a result of a number of fatal accidents involving temporary workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently launched an initiative to protect temporary workers from workplace hazards. Based on a memorandum sent to OSHA’s regional administrators, inspectors are to review records and interview temporary workers to determine if the workers have received necessary OSHA training in a language and vocabulary they understand. Given this initiative, employers should review the training given to temporary workers to limit the risk of OSHA citations. 

FMLA Modified for Military Families
 
The Department of Labor has made several changes to the regulations dealing with military service members and their families. Besides requiring a new Family and Medical Leave Act poster that addresses these changes, the Wage-Hour Division has now updated its FMLA forms in order to comply with the new regulations. Employers should use the updated forms and posters and update any policies dealing with military service FMLA leave. More information is available at www.dol.gov.whd/fmla.
 
Cancer an Occupational Hazard for Firefighters?

Recently introduced legislation proposes treating certain cancers as a condition presumed to arise out of the dangers of fighting fires. Types of cancer include respiratory tract, bladder, brain, blood, skin, kidney, thyroid, testicular, prostrate and lymphatic. U.S. Senate Bill 211 protects firefighters who have worked full time for at least five years and have been exposed to the hazards of firefighting, rescue and emergency medical services.  A diagnosis of cancer will be presumed to be work related unless a non-work-related etiology is established or evidence shows tobacco use during the previous 10 years was a significant factor.

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