May 02, 2022

Labor and Employment Newsletter

3 min

We Want to Hear from You

What legal issues are keeping you up at night?

We are continuing to monitor key trends and significant updates that affect employers across a wide variety of industries. We want to make sure we touch upon issues that are of concern to you. We invite you to take a moment and let us know what you would like to hear more about in this newsletter. Click below to email our team of attorneys.

Updates

Is Your Website Accessible? The DOJ Is Watching

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination based upon disability in any place of public accommodation. This, in part, requires that places of public accommodation ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to access the goods and services offered by the public accommodation. A place of public accommodation includes stores, restaurants, bars, theaters, hotels, recreational facilities, private museums and schools, doctors' and dentists' offices, shopping malls, and other businesses open to the public. At the time of the ADA's passage, a place of public accommodation was contemplated only as a physical space.

The Continued Expansion of New York's Workplace Harassment Protection

In March 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed three new bills into law that bolster New York State's anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws. These three enacted laws address (i) release of employee personnel files in retaliation for engaging in protected activity, (ii) the establishment of a state-run sexual harassment hotline, and (iii) the exposure of public employers to the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). Employers should also keep an eye on four bills that are in the legislative pipeline, as they will further impact employers' legal obligations under New York State's anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws.

Education Roundup: Discipline or Discrimination? How Institutions of Higher Education Should Navigate Disciplining Students with Known or Reported Mental Disabilities

Colleges and universities are grappling with the proliferation of mental health issues among their student populations in the wake of COVID-19 as they deal with the effects of burnout, limited support resources, and social isolation. However, recent surveys have shown that an overwhelming number of students were already suffering before the global pandemic turned the academic world on its head. These students may act out in violent, disruptive, or other problematic ways that necessitate action on behalf of the institution. However, institutions of higher education (IHEs) need to be particularly careful when disciplining students with mental health issues to avoid running afoul of various federal antidiscrimination laws.

About the Labor and Employment Group

The bicoastal, 40-person Labor and Employment team at Venable provides guidance and support across the full spectrum of workplace dynamics – helping employers control costs, avoid disputes, and defend themselves when litigation arises. As co-editors of this newsletter, Michael Volpe and Doreen Martin invite you to share the content with your colleagues and reach out with any questions.