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Publications | December 9, 2015
3 minute read

HR Focus – News Digests – Winter 2015

Employer Pays $1.7 million Disability Discrimination Settlement

According to an EEOC press release, an Illinois-based employer will pay $1,700,000 to resolve a disability discrimination charge filed with the EEOC. The agreement results from an EEOC investigation which found reasonable cause to believe that the employer discriminated against individuals with disabilities by disciplining and discharging them according to its policies to issue attendance points for medical-related absences, not allowing intermittent leave as a reasonable accommodation and not allowing leave or an extension of leave as a reasonable accommodation. 

Michigan Workers’ Compensation Cost Survey

A recent report from the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute shows Michigan’s costs per workers’ compensation claim were the lowest of the seventeen states studied. The survey, which included Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, analyzed total costs per claims involving greater than seven days of lost time. Michigan’s costs averaged $28,513 per claim. The median claim expense was $39,220, with Louisiana showing a high of over $50,000 per claim.

Employee Interview Now a Part of MiOSHA Investigations

As part of an investigation by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MiOSHA), employee interviews may be conducted. On October 6, 2015, MiOSHA published an Agency Instruction regarding employee interviews. This Agency Instruction outlines the steps an investigator must complete when a person being interviewed by MiOSHA asks to have another person present during the interview. These steps include: (1) determining if the request by the employee was freely and voluntarily made, (2) based on the relationship between the individuals, determining if the person’s presence will be permitted and (3) having the employee complete the MiOSHA Interview Notice of Rights and Consent Form. Employers who are involved in a MiOSHA investigation may want to review this Agency Instruction so they are prepared for any employee interviews that may take place.

Employer’s Win Voided by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Due to Incomplete Voter Data

On October 16, 2015, a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Regional Director ruled that an employer failed to substantially comply with its obligation to produce all available personal email addresses and phone numbers of eligible voters in an NLRB representation election. The employer did provide all addresses and phone numbers in its HR database, but failed to check departmental databases that included the same information for additional employees. Even though 94% of the voters’ phone numbers were provided, the failure to look at all internal databases meant the employer did not substantially comply with its obligation and the employer’s election win, by a vote of 390-346, was voided. Danbury Hospital of the Western Connecticut Health Network, Case No. 01-RC-153086.  

Recent ADA & FMLA Cases Underscore Challenges Associated with Obtaining Information

The White House has published a guide listing various resources and best practices for employers complying with disability protection laws. According to the guide, “It is designed to answer common questions raised by employers and to identify relevant resources for employers who want additional information on specific topics. The goal of this guide is to help employers implement commonsense solutions to ensure that people with disabilities, like all Americans, have the opportunity to obtain and succeed in good jobs and careers.”