Today, I continue a tradition that I started last year – using the week between Christmas and New Year’s to count down the top 10 Labor & Employment Law stories of the past year. We start today, with numbers 10 and 9. We’ll wrap up on Dec. 31 with the top two, and fill in the rest in between.
10. Ohio Supreme Court punts on Employees’ Lactation Rights. In Allen v. totes/Isotoner Corp., the Ohio Supreme Court dodged the issue of whether alleged discrimination due to lactation is included within the scope of Ohio’s employment-discrimination statute as sex discrimination. Before you think that you can deny a female employee’s lactation request, consider that two of the Court’s more conservative justices wrote a separate opinion in which they unequivocally concluded that lactation is covered by Ohio’s proscriptions against employment discrimination on the basis of sex/pregnancy.
9. New FMLA Regulations and ADA Amendments Take Effect. Both are holdovers from the last year of the Bush administration, and both greatly impact how employers handle employees’ medical issues. The FMLA regulations greatly increase employers’ access to medical information. The paradigm-changing ADA amendments shift the focus in ADA lawsuits from whether an employee meets the definition of “disability” to what accommodations will enable an employee to perform the essential functions of the job.