Law and the Workplace
Laura Fant

Laura Fant

Associate

Laura Fant is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department.

She frequently counsels on matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act, including disability accommodation in the workplace and public accommodations. She is experienced in conducting accessibility audits and providing ADA and accessibility training for clients in a variety of sectors that include retail, hospitality, sports and not-for-profit. She also handles general employment counseling and has experience in reviewing and updating employee handbooks and company policies under federal and state law.

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Second Circuit Addresses Title VII Sexual Orientation Claims And Leaves Door Ajar For Sex Stereotyping Claims

In a three-member panel decision in Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Inc., the Second Circuit revived a homosexual employee’s claims under Title VII on the theory of sex discrimination based on sex stereotyping, but stopped short of reconsidering prior Circuit precedent holding that Title VII does not expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. … Continue Reading

New York Regulations on Wage Payment Methods Declared Invalid

As we previously reported, on September 7, 2016, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) published final regulations on the methods by which employees must be paid, including with respect to direct deposit of wages and payroll debit cards.  These regulations–to be codified in 12 NYCRR Part 192–were scheduled to take effect on March … Continue Reading

Proposed Regulations Issued for New York State Paid Family Leave Law

The New York Workers Compensation Board has issued a proposed rule for implementation of the statewide Paid Family Leave Law (“PFLL”), which goes into effect on January 1, 2018. As we previously reported, the PFLL will require employers to provide all eligible full- and part-time employees with paid, job-protected leave to: (i) care for a … Continue Reading

Philadelphia The Latest To Restrict Employer Inquiries Into Applicants’ Salary History

The City of Philadelphia has passed an ordinance that will make it unlawful for employers to inquire into an applicant’s wage history during the hiring process.  The law, which amends the city’s current Fair Practices Ordinance, will take effect on May 23, 2017. The ordinance states that—absent a federal, state, or local law specifically authorizing the … Continue Reading

UPDATED: EEOC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment

The EEOC is seeking public comment on proposed enforcement guidance addressing unlawful workplace harassment under the federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the agency – namely, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).  … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Publication on Rights of Applicants and Employees with Mental Health Conditions Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

The EEOC has issued a new publication titled “Depression, PTSD & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights” aimed at informing applicants and employees with mental health conditions of their employment rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The publication presents a series of questions and answers regarding applicants’ and employees’ … Continue Reading

Portland, Oregon Adopts First-of-Its-Kind CEO Pay Ratio Tax on Employers

The Portland, Oregon City Council has passed an ordinance that will impose a tax surcharge on publicly traded companies whose chief executive officers are paid at least 100 times more than the median pay of other company employees. Portland is the first locality in the nation to enact such a requirement. The law, which passed by … Continue Reading

NYC Council Introduces Suite of Worker Protection Bills, In Likely Sign of Things to Come

As we noted in an earlier post, the election of Donald J. Trump likely means that states and municipalities—and not the federal government—will lead the charge on worker-protection issues for the next four years.  In this vein, the New York City Council introduced a series of bills on December 6 aimed at tightening restrictions and … Continue Reading

Arizona and Washington Become Latest States to Require Paid Sick Leave

This Election Day, voters in Arizona and Washington approved measures requiring employers to provide eligible employees with paid sick leave. These states are the latest to join the ever-expanding patchwork of jurisdictions around the country entitling employees to paid leave for their own medical needs and those of certain family members, among other covered purposes. … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Seeks Guidance from NY Court of Appeals on Standard for Awarding Punitive Damages Under the New York City Human Rights Law

The Second Circuit is once again seeking guidance from the New York Court of Appeals, this time on the question of the appropriate standard for awarding punitive damages for unlawful discriminatory acts under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”).  The NYCHRL provides that punitive damages may be available where employers are found directly … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Seeks Guidance From NY Court of Appeals on Scope of Liability for Discrimination Based on Criminal Conviction History

The Second Circuit has asked the New York Court of Appeals for guidance on the scope of liability for discrimination based on criminal conviction history under Section 296(15) of the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”). Section 296(15) states that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice to deny employment based on past criminal offenses … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds That Non-Supervisory Employee’s Retaliatory Intent May Be Imputed to an Employer Under Title VII

In Vasquez v. Empress Ambulance Service, Inc., the Second Circuit adopted the “cat’s paw” theory of liability under Title VII and held that the retaliatory intent of a low-level, non-supervisory employee may be imputed to an employer where “the employer’s own negligence gives effect to the employee’s retaliatory animus and causes the victim to suffer … Continue Reading

Zika Virus and the Workplace: What Employers Should Know

News that the Zika virus has reached the United States may be prompting employers to think more closely about employee safety and what steps should be taken to address disease prevention and management in the workplace. What Is Zika? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Zika is a virus that is … Continue Reading

Proposed Law Would Prohibit New York City Employers From Inquiring Into Applicants’ Wage History

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has introduced legislation before the City Council that would amend the New York City Human Rights Law to make it an unlawful employment practice for employers to request job applicants’ wage history during the hiring process. The bill would prohibit any employer or employment agency from asking about … Continue Reading

Proposed Amendment to NYC Human Rights Law Would Prohibit Discrimination Against Uniformed Service Members and Veterans

An amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) introduced before the City Council this week would add current or prior service in the uniformed services as a protected class under the law. If approved by the Council, the bill would give veterans and active military personnel protection against discrimination in employment, as … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Passes Pay Equity Bill Restricting Employers From Inquiring Into Applicants’ Wage History

Massachusetts has passed an amendment to the state’s equal pay law aimed at strengthening prohibitions on gender discrimination in the payment of wages for comparable work. The new bill, signed by Governor Charlie Baker (R) this week and effective starting in July 2018, provides a definition of “comparable work” for purposes of analyzing pay equity … Continue Reading

Philadelphia, PA Bans Use of Credit Information in Employment Decisions

Effective as of July 7, 2016, amendments to the Philadelphia, PA Fair Practices Ordinance make it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to procure, seek to procure, or use an applicant’s or employee’s credit information in connection with making any decisions relating to an individual’s hire, discharge, tenure, promotion, discipline, or in consideration of … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave Law In Effect as of July 1, 2016

Effective as of July 1, 2016, employers in Wisconsin who employ at least 50 individuals are required to provide eligible employees with up to six weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to undergo and recover from bone marrow or organ donation procedures. Under the law, which borrows several provisions from the Wisconsin Family and … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Final Rules On Employer-Sponsored Wellness Program Compliance Under the ADA and GINA

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued two final rules addressing employer-sponsored wellness programs’ compliance with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”). Both rules will become effective for health insurance plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017 and will … Continue Reading

EEOC Releases New Guidance on Unpaid Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has released new guidance on unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The guidance, issued on May 9, 2016, makes clear that employers must not only provide employees with disabilities access to leave as an accommodation on the same basis as similarly situated … Continue Reading

Utah Law Requiring Employers to Provide Reasonable Accommodations Related to Pregnancy and Breastfeeding to Take Effect May 10, 2016

Utah recently passed a new law, which will be effective May 10, 2016, designed to provide additional workplace protections to employees who are pregnant, breastfeeding and/or dealing with other related conditions. Under the new law, which amends the Utah state anti-discrimination statute, employers with 15 or more employees cannot refuse to provide a requested accommodation … Continue Reading

California Court Rules That Retailer Must Make Its Website Accessible For Users With Visual Disabilities Under the ADA

In a significant decision for all businesses that maintain an online presence, a California court recently ruled that a luggage retailer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and California state law by failing to make its website accessible to a blind customer. This summary judgment decision is noteworthy because in addition to holding that … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Holds That Obesity That Is Not Caused By an Underlying Physiological Condition Is Not a Covered “Impairment” Under the ADA

In Morriss v. BNSF Railway Company, the Eighth Circuit recently held that obesity that is not caused by an underlying physiological condition is not a covered “impairment” for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), even following the 2008 amendments to the ADA that broadened the definition of what is considered a protected disability. … Continue Reading
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