Employment Law Changes

By Charles Papy

The Community Papers of Florida (CPF) attorney of record, Charles Papy, Jr., has advised the association of several employment law changes.

In a 7-1 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled on June 10 in Mercham v. Knowles Atomic Power, 128 S. Ct. 2395, that the majority of the Court held that exemption from liability for disparate impact claim under ADA for employer actions based on reasonable factors other than age (RFOA) creates an affirmative defense on which the employer bears both the burden of production and burden of persuasion.

This case involved a reduction in staff by the employer, something that is going on in many businesses because of the downturn in the economy. The employer now has the burden in such litigation to allege and prove that the age of the employee was not the basis for determining who was to be terminated, but that it was determined because of other reasonable reasons.

The Family and Medical Leave Act was amended on January 28. The Act now permits "a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin" to take up to 26 work weeks of leave to care for a "member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list" for a serious injury or illness.

Taking effect July 1 was a new Florida law, 790.251, which allows all employees who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon or firearm to keep their weapon in their vehicle while at work. The new law also prohibits an employer from prohibiting either a visitor or invitee to his parking lot wherein the customer or invitee has a firearm in their car parked in the company's parking lot.

The new law does not apply to school property, correctional institutions, nuclear power facilities, nor on the property of public or private employers if the property is used for national defense, aerospace, or homeland security, or on property owned or operated by someone engaged in the manufacturing of explosive material.

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