Joan S. Farrell, JD, is a Senior Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. Ms. Farrell has over 10 years’ combined experience in employment law and human resources management. She worked as in-house counsel for an employer that had subsidiaries in several states. Her experience includes representing management in administrative matters and discrimination claims, and providing counseling on employment practices. Ms. Farrell received her law degree from Pace University School of Law.
Interview: See Joan’s interview with the Illinois State Register-Journal on social media and sexual harassment.
Video: Watch Joan's recent video on the ADA and employee discipline.
Subject to certain exceptions, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from requiring medical exams or asking "disability-related" questions. The restriction applies to both job applicants and employees. When is it okay for an employer to ask medical questions or require a medical exam? And what kinds of questions are okay to ask?
Some seemingly neutral job requirements can have an adverse impact on groups protected by federal and state fair employment laws. For example, denying employment to anyone who's been arrested can unfairly impact some minority groups whose members are arrested at higher rates than the general population. And requiring a high school diploma can have an adverse impact on some minority groups, too. But most employers probably didn't associate a high school diploma requirement with a potential violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)--until now.
On Friday, the EEOC announced its filing of sex discrimination lawsuits against two employers claiming unlawful discrimination against transgender employees in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The suits mark the first time in the EEOC’s history that it has filed sex discrimination lawsuits on the basis of transgender status.
On Tuesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2053 into law, effective January 1, 2015. The law amends the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) by adding prevention of “abusive conduct” as a required component of the sexual harassment training employers are currently required to provide under California law (often referred to as AB 1825 training).
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