Date: 08/12/2021
Time: 1 pm eastern
Run Time: 90 minutes including Q & A session
Leader: Dr. Jim Castagnera, Attorney at Law
Credits: Awarded 1.5 credit hours by HRCI and 1.5 PDCs by SHRM
Price: Webinar $295; Webinar + Download $349 (Share the download with your colleagues)
Audience: HR, benefits, finance, managers and supervisors, IT, CEOs, in-house counsel, etc.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

 Employees are uncertain about what the future will bring. Will we ever get back to normal? Are these the early days of the “new normal?”  Many employers are now requiring their employees to return to the workplace. Some employers are also requiring their returning workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Many workers are happy to go back. For others, their willingness to return ranges from reluctance all the way to resistance and refusal. Employees have sued their employers rather than simply returning to the workplace or receiving the vaccine. In this type of environment employers should expect an increasing number of employee claims of discrimination.  Some of these will relate to issues around: age, health, sex, gender, disability, pregnancy, etc. Others will focus on the employer’s Covid-19 return to work and vaccination decisions. Ultimately, for the employee, claiming to be the victim of discrimination may be the best leverage they have for maintaining the work from a remote-location status quo indefinitely.

All claims of discrimination have the potential to become significant problems for the employer, especially since a high percentage of the workforce consists of elderly workers, employees with pre-existing health conditions, and employees with disabilities. Every year the EEOC and the courts hear numerous complaints from employees who charge their employers with discriminating against them because they suffer from one of these conditions. This won’t change in the new normal. The difference is the expected increase in the number of discrimination claims that the EEOC and the courts will be asked to resolve having their roots in the pandemic and the employee’s reluctance to return to the workplace.

Please join Dr. Jim Castagnera, attorney at law, as he discusses the responsibility of employers to adhere to the complex matrix of federal, state, and local anti-discrimination requirements, and offers actionable guidance for how employers can apply these requirements uniformly and fairly across their workforces in the waning days of the pandemic.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHT

During this important webinar Dr. Castagnera will be discussing:

  • Key provisions of the federal anti-discrimination laws and regulations the EEOC is responsible for enforcing including: the ADA, GINA, ADEA, Title VII, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
  • The impact of a more sympathetic Biden Administration EEOC to all types of discrimination charges
  • Relevant state, and local anti-discrimination requirements
  • EEOC interpretation of provisions of the ADA related to going back-to-work and the employer’s right to require employee vaccinations
  • How to use the ADA’s interactive process to support your management decisions and determine if a workplace accommodation is warranted
  • Dealing with workers who harass an unvaccinated fellow worker
  • Important changes to policies and procedures, including sample language
  • Employer latitude in the case of a pregnant employee
  • Age as a disability under the ADA
  • Which illnesses are considered disabilities under the ADA?
  • If the employee requests a work-from-home accommodation, can the
    employer instead substitute alterations in the physical workplace or working conditions?
  • How the employee’s job function impacts the work-from-home decision?
  • Are mental health issues stemming from COVID-19 concerns considered long-
    term disabilities requiring an accommodation?
  • Does a genetic predisposition to an illness warrant accommodation?
  • What if you say “no” to a request for an accommodation?
  • Why does the employer have to document?

PROGRAM LEADER

Jim Castagnera holds an M.A. in journalism from Kent State University, and a J.D. and Ph.D. (American studies) from Case Western Reserve University. He worked 10 years as a labor, employment, and intellectual-property attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr and 23 years as associate provost & legal counsel for academic affairs at Rider University, where in 2018 he received the university’s highest annual award for distinguished service. He also did stints as a full-time law professor at UT-Austin and Widener University Law School.

Having retired from Rider in 2019, he is engaged in a portfolio of activities: member and chief consultant of Holland Media Services LLC, a communications and training company with offices in Philadelphia and Los Angeles; member of Portum Group International LLC, a cyber security & privacy consulting firm in Philadelphia; of counsel to Washington International Business Counsel; and adjunct professor of Law in the Kline School of Law at Drexel University.