Category Archives: Discrimination

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Employee Need Not Give Severance Back Before Moving Forward

Severance
An employee signs a separation agreement and receives severance pay. The employee then has second thoughts, alleges she was coerced into signing the agreement, and wants to pursue her discrimination claims in court. Must the employee give back the severance before suing? On August 13, 2018, in McClellan v. Midwest Machining, the Sixth U.S. Circuit … Continue reading this entry

OFCCP Signals Emphasis on “Religious Liberty” in Federal Contractor Compliance

OFCCP
On August 10, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a new policy directive aimed at protecting the religious freedom of employees and ensuring a “level playing field” for religious organizations to compete for federal contracts. While the 2014 Obama administration rule prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender … Continue reading this entry

The DOJ’s New Posture on Gender Identity Discrimination

On October 4, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) delivered a blow to the rights of transgender Americans. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy concluding that the Civil Rights Act bars workplace discrimination against transgender employees. Specifically, Sessions revoked a 2014 memo authored by then-Attorney General Eric Holder that said gender-identity discrimination fell … Continue reading this entry

Proposed Texas Legislation Would Limit Employers’ Ability to Use Employees’ and Job Applicants’ Credit Information

Texas State Representatives Terry Canales (District 40, serving part of Hidalgo County) and Nicole Collier (District 95, serving part of Tarrant County) have proposed legislation related to employers’ consideration of credit information for employees and job applicants.  HB 317 amends Chapter 52 of the Texas Labor Code by generally prohibiting a covered employer’s use of … Continue reading this entry

Texas Legislator Proposes Bill to Protect Workers' "Political Beliefs"

Last week, Representative James White, a Republican representing District 19 (Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Polk, and Tyler Counties), proposed a new state law that would protect Texas workers from adverse actions for expressing their political opinions and views away from the job.  The key provision of the proposed legislation defines “political beliefs” to include “only” those beliefs … Continue reading this entry

Top 5 Mistakes Employers Make with Their Employee Handbooks

As 2016 winds down and a new year approaches, now is a great time for employers to think about their employee handbooks and employment policies in general.  As employers go about that thought-process, here are a few common mistakes employers should try to avoid: (1) Self-Regulation:  Employers often include items in handbooks that are not … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Part III

With the Presidential election heating up, employers may see an increasing interest in politics among their employees.  As we have covered recently in the Work Knowledge Blog, private employers are not bound by the First Amendment’s right to free speech.  But employees do have certain limited rights in the workplace relevant in election years, including … Continue reading this entry

President Obama to Issue Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Protections

The White House announced on Monday that the President will sign an executive order restricting all federal contractors from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It is an historic expansion of workplace rights affecting gay and lesbian rights in the workplace. The Executive Order is expected to … Continue reading this entry

Being a HERO: Six Things You Need to Know About the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

It’s been described as “an opportunity for sexual predators to have access to our families” and “an historic non-discrimination ordinance.” But rhetoric aside, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (“HERO”) is the law in the Bayou City. So what’s it mean for your business? You can (and should) read the complete ordinance, but here are six … Continue reading this entry

What Employers Should Know About Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Yesterday, the Senate approved the Employment NonDiscrimination Act (“ENDA”).  The ENDA would amend Title VII to include sexual orientation and related issues in the definition of protected classes.  Political pundits do not give the ENDA much chance of passing the House.  This is nothing new.  The ENDA has been proposed periodically in Congress since 1994 and has failed … Continue reading this entry

Yahoo! Takes A Step Back - No Telecommuting?

Less than a year ago, I blogged about Yahoo!’s headline making hire of a pregnant CEO, Marissa Mayer.  She took an abbreviated leave and worked from home during that abbreviated leave.  Now, despite the technology that permitted her to work from home during that leave, Yahoo! has abolished its telecommuting policy and has required all employees to report to … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Issues Revised Guidance on Use of Criminal Records in Employment Decisions

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This guidance is intended to help employers understand the EEOC’s policy relating to the use of such records by employers.  Although this guidance is not … Continue reading this entry

Social Security "No-Match" Letter Guidance

  Dustin J. O’Quinn After nearly a four-year hiatus, in April 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing no-match letters to employers.  There are many reasons for the SSA to generate a no-match letter:   input errors by the SSA, reporting errors by an employer or employee, identity theft, errors in hyphenated or multiple last … Continue reading this entry

Houston Court Rejects "Lactation Discrimination" Claim

Last week, a federal judge in Houston granted summary judgment to an employer being sued by an employee for pregnancy discrimination.  Specifically, the former employee alleged that she was terminated after asking if she would be able to use a back room to express milk when she returned from maternity leave.  The court found that lactation was not … Continue reading this entry