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Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

  • 06
  • February
  • 2020


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Watch It on Weight Issues in Washington

I recently had occasion to write about cities and states revisiting their laws related to obesity as a protected characteristic and the potential for liability for disability discrimination on the basis of perceived obesity. Case in point, on January 30, the Ninth Circuit overturned a district court’s grant of summary judgment against a job applicant on the basis that a jury could find that his prospective employer BNSF Railway Company’s perception that he was obese played a significant role in the company’s decision not to hire him, in violation of the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”).

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  • 12
  • December
  • 2019


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Obesity & the ADA in Employment Decision-Making

Nobody likes comments about their weight (Heaven help the person who makes one about mine), and most people have learned that weight is a subject best approached with caution. Employers, for their part, would be well-served to exercise some caution as well. Although conversations surrounding obesity may be necessary for employment decisions related to certain positions, including positions often considered “safety-sensitive,” those conversations remain fraught with opportunities for actionable statements.  

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When Poorly Performing Employees Suddenly Get Sick

You finally sit down with an employee who has performed poorly for months, and you give him or her both a detailed performance improvement plan spelling out your expectations and a time frame by which they must demonstrate substantial improvement. The very next morning, the previously healthy employee calls in sick and soon thereafter requests medical leave, supported by a doctor’s excuse, to obtain treatment for work-induced stress and depression.

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Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner

Christopher V. Bacon

Christopher V. Bacon Counsel

Sean Becker

Sean Becker Partner

Stephen M. Jacobson

Stephen M. Jacobson Partner

Martin C. Luff

Martin Luff Counsel

Lawrence S. Elbaum Partner