Jeff Nowak

Jeff Nowak

Franczek Radelet P.C.

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Sweet Justice! Dismissal of Bully's FMLA Claim Proves Employers Can Safely Terminate an Employee on the Heels of FMLA Leave

I hate bullies. Back in 4th grade, Sister Mary Demetria, OSF, told us that “hating” someone was a sin. I’m convinced Sister never met a bully. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. Cause, you see, whenever I...more

9/8/2016 - Bullying Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues FMLA Harassment Hiring & Firing Hostile Environment Performance Improvement Plans Retaliation Termination Tyson Foods

Why Should Employers Take Pregnancy Discrimination and Accommodation Seriously? Here Are More Than 500,000 Reasons Why.

Doris worked for the Chipotle restaurant chain. And she was pregnant. After she announced her pregnancy to her supervisor, Doris claimed her boss began monitoring her bathroom breaks (then berated her for taking too long),...more

8/26/2016 - Attorney's Fees Chipotle Grill EEOC Employer Liability Issues FMLA Hiring & Firing Pregnancy Pregnancy Discrimination Telecommuting Termination

Does an FMLA Leave Request Double as a Request for a Reasonable Accommodation? Should Employers Care?

There is a hot debate brewing over the tantalizing question, “Does a request for FMLA leave also constitute a request for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA?” The worlds of FMLA and ADA clash! Surely, this...more

7/21/2016 - ADA Employer Liability Issues FMLA Popular Reasonable Accommodation Wage and Hour

Managing Repeated Requests for Leave as an ADA Reasonable Accommodation: Takeaways from My Webinar with EEOC Commissioner Feldblum...

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of conducting a webinar with EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum on the topic of “leave” as an ADA reasonable accommodation in light of the EEOC’s new technical resource issued on this topic in...more

6/29/2016 - ADA Disability Discrimination EEOC Employer Liability Issues FMLA Reasonable Accommodation Title VII

An Employee's "Hope" That She'll Return to Work Isn't Enough to Require Additional Leave under the ADA

One of the most difficult issues an HR professional or in-house employment counsel faces is how to deal with an employee who cannot return to work after FMLA leave expires. Is additional leave beyond 12 weeks required? The...more

1/21/2016 - ADA Employer Liability Issues FMLA Reasonable Accommodation Wage and Hour

How Fowl! Is An Employee's Text and His Girlfriend's Report Enough to Establish Notice of Need for FMLA Leave? Not So Fast...

This one just smells fowl. Delbert (not sure if he goes by Del or Bert, so I’ll just call him Delbert) decided not to show up for work at Tyson Fresh Meats on December 28. Instead, he asked his girlfriend, who also worked...more

6/4/2015 - Best Management Practices Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues Employment Policies FMLA Notice Requirements Sick Leave Tyson Foods

Does FMLA Cover In Vitro Fertilization? Does It Matter if Dad's Sperm is to Blame?

Is that all it takes to get you to click on my blog entry — make a reference to “sperm” in the blog title and post a silly photo of this little guy?  That was like taking candy from a baby!...more

4/9/2015 - Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues FMLA Gender Discrimination Pregnancy Discrimination

Want to Drastically Improve Your FMLA and ADA Expertise? Attend These Can't Miss FMLA/ADA Compliance Conferences

Throughout the year, HR professionals and attorneys ask me for my recommendations on the very best conferences to learn more about the FMLA and ADA. The “best,” of course, is in the eye of the beholder. In my humble...more

2/4/2015 - ADA Chief Compliance Officers Employer Liability Issues Employer Mandates FMLA Human Resources Professionals Professional Conferences

Employer's Poorly Drafted FMLA Policy Allows Employee to Advance FMLA Claim (That Should Have Never Seen the Light of Day)

If this story won’t cause you bring your FMLA policy up to snuff, then I’ve lost all hope. FMLA’s Basic Premise - An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if he meets three basic criteria: With this backdrop in...more

1/28/2015 - Employee Handbooks Employer Liability Issues Employment Policies FMLA Wrongful Termination

Employer Requires Employee to Work During FMLA Leave. Ummmm, Is This a Problem?

Sure, Joan, you can take a leave of absence, but you’re still going to work while you’re out, right? Is this problem?  I guess it depends on whether or not you’re Joan. Let me explain. ...more

1/22/2015 - Employer Liability Issues FMLA Leave of Absence

Employer Fails to Provide Leave of Absence to Probationary Employee, Pays the Price

Adam was a maintenance technician for EZEFLOW, a company which manufactures pipe fittings.  He also was a marine corps veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon his discharge from the marines, Adam started his...more

1/14/2015 - ADA Corporate Counsel EEOC Employer Liability Issues Enforcement Actions Manufacturers Probationary Period PTSD Veterans Wrongful Termination

FMLA FAQ: How Do I Calculate FMLA Leave Where My Employee's Work Schedule Varies From Week to Week?

Q: Several of my employees’ workweeks vary from week to week.  Some might work 30 hours one week and 40 hours the following week. How do I calculate their intermittent FMLA leave in any given week?...more

1/9/2015 - Employer Liability Issues FMLA

The Best of 2014: Sending FMLA Notices by Mail/Email, Requiring Doctor's Notes for Intermittent FMLA Absences Among Most Popular...

It’s the final week of the year, so while everyone else in the world is playing with their latest version of iPhone and other new electronic gadgets, I spend my time analyzing this year’s FMLA blog posts and agonizing over...more

1/2/2015 - Email Employer Liability Issues FMLA Medical Certification Requests Notice Requirements Written Notice

FMLA Leave for Headache Effectively Converts Full-Time Position into Part-Time Position; Employers' Shrieks Heard Across the...

This one is a real headache. Sam oversees a storage area for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) and during certain times of the year, his position requires a fairly extensive amount of overtime. For...more

12/19/2014 - ADA Corporate Counsel Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues FMLA Reasonable Accommodation

When an Employee Falls Off a Ladder at Work, is His Absence Covered by FMLA? An Employer's Misstep Discussed...

Note to self: When one of my employees: -falls off a ladder at work, is taken to urgent care by the company’s HR Director, asks whether the FMLA would apply to his absence, then, as a result of his doctor’s orders,...more

12/5/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Employer Liability Issues FMLA Reasonable Accommodation Workplace Injury

"I Got Stuck in the Blood Pressure Machine at the Grocery Store and Couldn't Get Out!": How Employers Deal with the Most...

Don’t you hate it when someone glues your windows and doors shut so you cannot make it to work? Hasn’t happened to you? According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, this may very well have happened to one of your co-workers...more

11/7/2014 - Employer Liability Issues FMLA FMLA Abuse

When an Employee Requests FMLA Leave for a Workplace Injury, Is the Employer Required to Report it as an OSHA Event?

An issue that implicates both the FMLA and OSHA? Normally, I’d yawn and take a cat nap along with you. But this one is sufficiently interesting: If an employee returns FMLA medical certification confirming the need for...more

10/31/2014 - Employer Liability Issues FMLA OSHA Reporting Requirements Workplace Injury

Court Determines that Employer's FMLA Notice Sent by Email is Not Reliable (Sending Employer World into Tizzy)

We have a mini-FMLA crisis on our hands this week, and the courts are to blame. This issue involves the FMLA notices that employers send to employees, but more importantly, the delivery route in which they send them....more

10/23/2014 - Compliance Email Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues FMLA

Are You a Co-Employer? FMLA Joint Employer Liability Can Be Deadly

To be covered by the FMLA, a private employer must employ at least 50 employees within a 75-mile area. If the employer doesn’t meet this threshold, it is not obligated to provide FMLA leave to its employees. However, an...more

9/25/2014 - Corporate Counsel Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues FMLA Franchises Joint Employers

FMLA FAQ: Can We Terminate an Employee for Working a Second Job While on FMLA Leave?

If the employer has a uniformly-applied policy governing outside or supplemental employment, such a policy may continue to apply to an employee while on FMLA leave. An employer which does not have such a policy may not deny...more

9/19/2014 - Corporate Counsel Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues FMLA Hiring & Firing Termination

Employer Rejects Employee's Fitness for Duty Certification, Faces FMLA Liability

The story is for all you hunt and peck typists out there. But its message is a lesson for all employers when it comes to returning your employee from FMLA leave....more

9/12/2014 - Best Management Practices Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues Fitness for Duty Exams FMLA Hiring & Firing

FMLA FAQ: Can an Employer Persuade an Employee to Work Instead of Taking FMLA Leave Because Her Job is Really Important?

Evans was employed by Books-A-Million (BAM) as a payroll manager. Evans apparently became pregnant at an inopportune time — right at a time when BAM was implementing a new payroll system. As supervisors are prone to do,...more

8/29/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Employer Liability Issues FMLA Hiring & Firing Pregnancy

A Game-Changing Decision? Sending FMLA Notices to Employees by U.S. Mail May Not Cut It Anymore

With all the FMLA paperwork that a leave administrator has to provide an employee during the FMLA process, you’d wonder whether you’re attending a real estate closing. All these documents — whether it’s the Notice of...more

8/8/2014 - ADA Corporate Counsel Email Employer Liability Issues FMLA Mailbox Rule Notice Requirements

Now This is a Headache! Employee Terminated for Migraine Headaches Can Advance FMLA Claim

In the cold, sadistic world that is the FMLA, the Department of Labor tells us that ordinary, run-of-the-mill headaches (a/k/a “non-migraine” headaches) are not covered by the FMLA. Migraine headaches, on the other hand, are...more

7/31/2014 - Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues FMLA Termination

Dear Employers: We Have to Stop Sticking It to Pregnant Moms and Expectant Dads

A few employers apparently have made some rather foolish decisions lately when terminating the employment of an expectant parent, and it’s making the rest of us look like we don’t care much for moms and dads or, for that...more

7/28/2014 - Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues FMLA Hiring & Firing Pregnancy Discrimination Termination

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