Chicago partner Laura Balson recently spoke to Fortune about an expected rise in EEOC lawsuits as workers return to the office post-pandemic.
Why are disability lawsuits most common?
The L.A. Times recently reported an increase in workers suing their employers who failed to provide reimbursements for their work-from-home expenses. Despite the rise of these cases, these reimbursement lawsuits are a drop in the bucket compared to the peak in disability-related cases.
Lawsuits from employees seeking reimbursement for remote office expenses have been pretty rare due to the relatively minimal cost of office supplies compared to the cost of hiring a lawyer, says Laura Balson, managing partner at Constangy Brooks, Smith and Prophete. But “lawsuits alleging disability discrimination and failure to accommodate have been much more common,” Balson explains.
Mental health is finally entering the equation
As burnout becomes a hot-button topic, there has been a rise in disability lawsuits that involve employees’ mental health issues. Further, studies have shown the adverse effects of the pandemic on mental well-being, as research shows a 25% uptick in depression and anxiety in the U.S.
“Employers should expect to see issues related to employees’ mental health become a huge focus, whether due to the toll that the past two years have had on people everywhere or due to the difficulty in resetting expectations and the stress that inevitably comes during times of transition,” says Balson.
The full article is available here.