Category Archives: EEOC Developments

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EEOC Issues New Harassment Guidance

discrimination
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued proposed guidance crystallizing the agency’s expectation that employers be proactive in eliminating workplace harassment.  The Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment, which was published on January 10th, requires that employers implement programs to combat “known or obvious risks of harassment,” and states that a failure to do … Continue reading this entry

Mandatory Flu Vaccinations? Immunize Yourself Against Religious Discrimination Claims

Discrimination
You are an HR generalist at a 300-bed community hospital. Your boss has instructed you to make sure that all personnel files document that the employee received the hospital’s annual mandatory flu vaccination. However, you notice that seven employees still have not gotten their vaccinations, two weeks after the deadline. When you email them to … Continue reading this entry

Uncle Sam Wants You! (to Provide Employee Compensation Data)

harassment
A new lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) demonstrates how dogged the government can be in trying to obtain and review employers’ compensation data. The lawsuit, filed against Google with the DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, alleges that Google failed to comply with its obligations to provide compensation data to the … Continue reading this entry

Stepping Out of the Shadows: Accommodating Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

da_eeoc
2016 brought about a host of changes for employers, including new political leaders, ever-changing technology, and new and more open dialogue on a variety of different issues. Aside from politics, perhaps one of the biggest issues brought to the forefront this past year concerns the topic of mental health. Once taboo, discussions of mental health … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Suffers Another Setback – ADA Does Not Require Automatic Reassignment of Disabled Employee to Open Position

di_eeoc
As we have previously reported, under the Obama administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has aggressively sought to expand the breadth of the agency’s authority to collect employee pay data and other private company information. Similarly, the EEOC has sought to expand the scope of federal civil rights laws in a number of areas, … Continue reading this entry

No Stay for Other Pay-Related Regulations

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A trio of recent court decisions staying implementation of the controversial persuader rule, most of the much-criticized Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (“FPSW”) executive order, and the Department of Labor’s highly publicized overtime rule are a breath of fresh air for employers who have been struggling to keep up with the onslaught of new regulatory … Continue reading this entry

Will the Jig Be Up for the Gig Economy?

la_eeoc
Employers who rely heavily on independent contractors or temporary workers should take note: “Gig” economy companies are now a priority of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC recently approved its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for fiscal years 2017 –2021, updating and identifying areas of priority for the agency. In particular, the EEOC … Continue reading this entry

Decision 2016: A Refresher on Politics in Your Workplace

di_hr
Over the next few weeks, millions of Americans will cast their votes, concluding what has been a particularly contentious election cycle. Until then, as Election Day approaches and employees’ political passions continue to rise, employers should be mindful of their rights and obligations when it comes to voting and politics in the workplace.… Continue reading this entry

Worker Privacy and Security in an Internet of Things

la_social
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the phenomenon of everyday objects like phones, refrigerators, and cars connecting to the internet in order to send and receive data. While the IoT promises a future of convenience and control over our daily lives, it also presents challenges outpacing the current body of employment law. For example, … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Issues New Retaliation Guidance

da_discrimination
For the first time since 1998, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new enforcement guidance on retaliation. Retaliation claims have been a growth industry over the last 18 years. Back in 1998 retaliation claims constituted 24 percent of all EEOC claims, behind both race and sex charges. Since then, however, retaliation has become … Continue reading this entry

EEOC’s Revised Proposal to Collect Pay Data Keeps Focus on Pay Discrimination Agenda

li_eeoc
As we reported previously, enforcement of equal pay laws and remedying of pay disparities continue to be top priorities for the U.S.Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The EEOC again highlighted this ongoing focus this past week when it announced revisions to its February 2016 proposal to … Continue reading this entry

EEOC's Select Task Force Study of Harassment Provides Robust Training Guidance

li_eeoc
Last month the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace issued a long-awaited report. That report is a four-part, 88-page document — meaning digesting the report is a hefty task. Fortunately, the Task Force also issued an Executive Summary that provides an excellent overview and makes wading through the findings … Continue reading this entry

New EEOC Rules for Wellness Programs: A 30 Percent Incentive = Voluntary

li_eeoc
For years, employers have been allowed to offer voluntary wellness programs to employees under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both laws generally prohibit health-related questions and medical examinations, such as biometric screenings, but have an exception if done in conjunction with a voluntary wellness program. However, in … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Serves Notice Regarding Transgender Employees Bathroom Access Rights

di_eeoc
In the midst of all the media coverage surrounding transgender bathroom policies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently put employers on notice of its position that denying an employee access to a restroom corresponding to the employee’s gender identity is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights act of … Continue reading this entry

Government Outlines Key Labor and Employment Initiatives

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Representatives of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice (DOJ), participated in an American Bar Association Equal Opportunity Law conference in Austin, Texas, this month. During that conference, EEOC representatives, including three of the commissioners and general counsel David Lopez, addressed a number of … Continue reading this entry

Hostile Work Environments and Sexual Orientation: EEOC Files First Federal Suits

di_eeoc
Normally in this space we write about court decisions that have already occurred and are likely to impact employers. This week, we focus on cases that have just been filed and could have far reaching implications. In a March 1, 2016 press release, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in two separate lawsuits that … Continue reading this entry

The Impact of Justice Scalia’s Passing on Pending Supreme Court Cases

SupremeCourt
The country was shocked to hear of the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Legal scholars and political commentators have since written extensively on Justice Scalia’s contributions to the legal world and his sometimes polarizing opinions. Justice Scalia’s passing will doubtlessly have a significant impact on the Supreme Court, as will the eventual … Continue reading this entry

Proposed EEO-1 Pay Data Requirement Will Increase Risks and Burdens

da_eeoc
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) just announced a proposal to require large employers to provide pay data in the EEO-1 reports submitted annually to the government. While the proposal is completely consistent with the administration’s aggressive labor and employment agenda (and, therefore, should not come as a surprise), there is significant reason … Continue reading this entry

EEOC’s Proposed Retaliation “Guidance” Muddies the Waters for Employers

li_eeoc
For the first time in 18 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has offered proposed revisions to its official guidelines on workplace retaliation. In its proposed revisions, the agency expresses a very broad view of what constitutes actionable retaliation under the applicable equal employment laws. One of the most noteworthy revisions is that the … Continue reading this entry

EEOC May Obtain Private (And Arguably Unnecessary) Employee Information

di_eeoc
Employers served with an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) subpoena requesting private employee information – regardless of its arguable relevance – may nevertheless be compelled to respond, according to a decision from late last year by one of the country’s most influential appellate courts. In the decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Must Conciliate, But Still Few Answers Regarding Routine Separation Agreement Provisions

da_eeoc
In February 2014, the EEOC sent waves through employer communities when it filed a lawsuit against a national retail pharmacy contending some of the company’s separation agreement provisions — which many considered “standard” and largely unremarkable — interfered with employee rights under Title VII and therefore violated the civil rights law. In October 2014, however, the … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Issues Guidance on Rights of Applicants and Employees Infected with HIV

di_eeoc
In a recent press release announcing new guidance for applicants and employees infected with HIV, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) noted that in 2014 alone, it resolved over 200 charges of discrimination based on HIV status, and recovered over $825,000 for job applicants and employees with HIV allegedly denied employment and reasonable accommodation as … Continue reading this entry

Health Conscious? The EEOC Is Expanding Incentives for Employees’ Spouses

di_eeoc
Employee wellness programs are frequently a source of ulcer-causing angst for employers, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is making moves to treat some of the underlying issues. Late last week, the EEOC issued a proposed rule to amend Title II of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) that would “allow employers who … Continue reading this entry

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? When It Comes to Religious Accommodation, the Supreme Court Offers Guidance (Well, Sort Of… )

da_eeoc
What if it looks like someone may need a religious accommodation, but the individual never asks? Does the company still have a duty to accommodate? In a much awaited opinion, the Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, determined that “they never asked” does not necessarily let an employer off the hook. Employers subject to Title VII … Continue reading this entry