Archives: Health & Safety

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Seventh Circuit:  ADA Does Not Prohibit Discrimination Based on Future Impairments (US)

On October 29, 2019, railway operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (“BNSF”) prevailed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit – which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin – in a case in which the company argued that its refusal to hire an obese candidate due to an unacceptably high risk that … Continue Reading

Illinois Legalizes Recreational Marijuana – Cutting Through The Haze To Understand The Workplace Implications (US)

On June 25, 2019, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (“CRTA”), which, as of January 1, 2020, legalizes recreational use and possession of marijuana by adults aged 21 or older.  Illinois is now the eleventh US state to adopt a general law authorizing adult recreational use of … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: Obesity Alone Is Not A Disability Under the ADA (US)

As we previously reported here, the issue of whether obesity is a legally-protected impairment is complex, and jurisdictions differ on the extent to which they consider obesity to be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  On June 12, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit joined the Second, … Continue Reading

Ohio Workers’ Compensation System Does Its Part to Mitigate the Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on the State’s Workforce (US)

In America’s heartland and one of the states hit hardest by the current opioid epidemic, Ohio’s workers’ compensation system will soon drop Oxycontin as a covered prescription. Effective June 1, 2019, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will no longer pay for the most commonly abused opioid painkiller, Oxycontin. This change will affect those … Continue Reading

UK-Based Environmental, Health and Safety Training Now Available

Our Environmental, Safety & Health Practice Group has developed a suite of comprehensive UK-based training programmes to provide you with practical, commercial and tailored assistance where you might need it. These flexible courses cover various topics within the following focus areas: Health and safety Anti-bribery and corruption Food and drink/licensing Product Safety, compliance and recall … Continue Reading

Healthcare Worker’s Vaccine Refusal Not Immunized by Americans with Disabilities Act (US)

On December 7, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously held in Hustvet v. Allina Health System that an employer did not unlawfully terminate an employee who refused to receive a rubella vaccination.  The plaintiff, a healthcare specialist working with potentially vulnerable patients, requested an accommodation exempting … Continue Reading

Employee Wellbeing Programmes (UK)

With a clear link between increased employee wellbeing (both in terms of physical and mental health) and reduced sickness absence, many employers may use renewed New Year ambitions to adopt or promote employee wellbeing programmes. Businesses have introduced measures including step challenges with free pedometers, fruit ‘desk drops’ and health monitoring stations in the workplace. … Continue Reading

Thriving at Work – Part 2

As we mentioned in our previous blog, the Farmer/ Stephenson “Thriving at Work” Report has made a number of recommendations as to steps that businesses, the public sector and the Government can take to increase mental health and wellbeing within the workplace, with the aim not only of increasing the standard of mental health but … Continue Reading

It’s Time to Update Your Workplace Safety Program to Meet OSHA’s New Anti-Retaliation Guidelines

On January 13, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued its latest guidelines for employers to help them keep their workplaces “free of retaliation, including retaliation against employees who engage in activity protected under the 22 whistleblower laws” that OSHA enforces.  While adoption of OSHA’s recommendations is not mandatory, they are intended to … Continue Reading

OSHA to Employers: No Gagging Whistleblowers!

On September 9, 2016, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published new guidelines for approving settlements between employers and employees in whistleblower cases to ensure that those agreements do not contain terms that could be interpreted to restrict future whistleblowing. OSHA reviews settlements between employees and employers to ensure that they are … Continue Reading

Two Timing Employee Caught in the Act – Uber Unfortunate!

An employee of West Australian Newspapers Limited (WAN) who moonlighted for Uber was caught in the act when, one Saturday night, he picked up a WAN manager. Despite being well and truly busted, the employee (who worked night shifts as WAN’s newspaper machinist) denied having any affiliation with Uber, saying that his wife had the … Continue Reading

“A descent into Hell, but less interesting” – can you sue for being bored at work?

The Guardian Online reports the case of Paris resident M. Frederic Desnard last week. He is claiming over £280,000 in compensation for a nervous breakdown allegedly caused by his managerial job at French perfumiers Interparfum.  However, no tale of excessive pressure and punishing working hours, this one.  Instead, M.Desnard claims that his job was so … Continue Reading

French Supreme Court decides that failure to display workplace rules rendered dismissal unfair

A recent case before the French Supreme Court acts as a stark warning to employers of the importance of complying with the requirements in the French Labour Code to display their internal rules in the workplace. After the discovery of empty bottles of alcohol in the employees’ changing room, an employer required one of its … Continue Reading

Acas issues guidance on “legal highs” in the workplace

Don’t trouble yourself with this. It’s only a page long and the messages for employers are shorter still:- (i)         many “legal highs” are actually illegal, but the distinction is broadly irrelevant for workplace purposes.  You should include them as barred under your drugs and alcohol policy, but focus on their impact on the employee’s behaviours … Continue Reading

Managers in Australia beware! – the price of seniority may be personal liability

Health and safety laws rolled out around Australia since 2012 have imposed a new positive duty on company officers to exercise due diligence to ensure their “person conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU – usually the corporate employer) is compliant. The term “officer” extends beyond the PCBU’s executives, directors and secretaries to any person who: … Continue Reading

How a legal compliance audit reduced OSH penalties

A recent decision in the South Australian Industrial Relations Court has shown that an occupational safety and health (OSH) legislative compliance audit can significantly reduce the penalty imposed following an OSH incident by demonstrating a commitment to improve safety. In Boland v Trading Metals Pty Ltd [2015] SAIRC 30, the respondent was charged with breaching … Continue Reading

Mental health in the City workplace – how are you doing?

No job within the Square Mile is immune from its own stresses or strains.  As the City of London Corporation’s Business Healthy blog notes (https://www.businesshealthy.org/blog/), the recent economic climate has exacerbated these through the invariable requirement that businesses reduce their cost base without adversely affecting their profits.  Undoubtedly, this drive to do more with less … Continue Reading
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