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Employers Can Prorate Bonus Payments for Employees on FMLA Leave

Employers frequently wonder when to pay bonuses to employees on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Do employees who do not meet certain goals due to leave qualify for such bonuses? The FMLA regulations provide: "If a bonus or other payment is based on the achievement of a specified goal such as hours worked, products sold or perfect attendance, and the employee has not met the goal due to FMLA leave, then the payment may be denied, unless otherwise paid to employees on an equivalent leave status for a reason that does not qualify as FMLA leave." The key, as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently confirmed, is treating FMLA absences and non-FMLA absences the same for goal-based bonus purposes. The FMLA requires employers to treat FMLA absences the same way they treat non-FMLA absences. However, this means employers can prorate certain bonus payments to employees on FMLA leave, so long as they limit such payments to employees on similar non-FMLA leaves types of leaves. If an employee uses paid time off for non-FMLA leave and qualifies for a bonus, then those who use paid time off for FMLA leave must also qualify for the bonus. Employers should remember that goal-oriented bonuses do not include bonuses awarded to all employees, such as company-wide bonuses. We recommend all employers have SESCO review their Employee Handbook annually to ensure compliance with all federal and state laws.

Employer to Pay $950,000 to Settle Nationwide Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Corizon Health Inc. and Corizon LLC have agreed to pay $950,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The suit claimed that Corizon violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to accommodate employees with disabilities who exhausted their leave under Corizon's 30-day medical leave policy and/or the Family and Medical Leave Act and terminating them. Corizon repeatedly failed to consider accommodations, including, but not limited to, reassignment, unpaid leave and modified work schedules that would have allowed employees with disabilities to return to work. Further, Corizon required employees with disabilities to be 100% healed or to be without any medical restrictions before they could return to work. Elizabeth Cadle, district director of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, states, "Employers should understand that policies which require an employee to be 100% or without any medical restric­tions violate the ADA because they don't leave room for reasonable accommodations. Employers should also remember that leave policies must be administered consistent with the need to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities."

New York City Bars Pre-employment Marijuana Testing

The New York City Council recently passed a bill to prohibit pre-employment screening for marijuana. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio neither signed nor vetoed the bill within the city charter-mandated 30-day time period, so the bill became law on May 10, 2019. The law will take effect on May 10, 2020, one year from its passage.

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– Beverly Boling, Manager/CEO, First Kingsport Credit Union

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