The Reader: Work Life Balance in France; Prohibiting Off-Duty Drinking by Alcoholics Violates ADA

Here are the Employment Law Reader Entries for September 22, 2014:

  • Achieving a Work Life Balance in France - Here in America we seem to simultaneously lament the absence of work-life balance while at the same time take pride in our Forty-Hour-Workweeks-Are-For-Wimps work ethic. And while we make light of European views on the topic, my personal opinion is that Western Europe is way ahead of us on this issue. The issue of reconciling work and personal life has been an important issue in Europe in general and in France in particular for many years. Recently it has become a growing concern in France and resulted  in the negotiation of a nation-wide inter-sectoral agreement relating to the quality of working life in 2013. In this context, the issue of flexible working raises, among other things, the question of whether employees benefit from particular rights to request more flexible working organization, i.e. a change in working hours or a request to work from home, on the basis of family-related obligations or, more broadly, personal constraints. The Global Workplace Insider blog has a discussion this week of some of the rules that have been implemented there.  I think it was interesting to see how another country was approaching this vexing issue through legislation. Source: Global Workplace Insider
  • EEOC Says Prohibiting Off-Duty Alcohol Consumption by Alcoholic Employees Violates ADA  - Blanket policies prohibiting alcoholic employees from consuming alcohol permanently – whether on-duty or off-duty – violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in an informal discussion letter dated August 28, 2014. The EEOC rejected such a blanket rule – applied to all alcoholics or individuals perceived to be alcoholics – primarily because no individualized assessment was conducted.  Specifically, the ADA does not permit employers to apply qualification standards that screen out, or tend to screen out, individuals on the basis of disability unless they are job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. Source: Drug & Alcohol Testing Law Advisor