Category Archives: EEOC Developments

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The EEOC Is Taking a Close Look at the Challenges Facing the ADEA

EEOC
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is paying close attention to the issue of age discrimination and to the many challenges facing the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) 50 years after its enactment. On June 14, 2017, the EEOC launched its commemoration of the ADEA’s 50th Anniversary during its Commission meeting in Washington D.C. … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Orientation-Bias Guidance Stirs Controversy among Commentators

EEOC
The public comment period for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) proposed workplace harassment guidance closed last week. The EEOC’s broad definition of sexual orientation bias drew attention from practitioners and advocacy groups alike. Amidst the uncertain legal landscape surrounding harassment based on sex, the EEOC’s proposed guidance takes a progressive stance on the … Continue reading this entry

Strategies for EEO Compliance: Focus on Leadership, Not Compliance

EEO Compliance
We observed last year that the legal industry is no more immune to the holdovers of sexism than any other profession. As we noted, in a step toward stemming this problem, the American Bar Association has passed a new model rule for attorney professional conduct, treating discriminatory actions by attorneys as ethical misconduct.  Rule changes, … Continue reading this entry

So – Are LGBTQ Rights Protected Under Federal Employment Law or Not?

LGBTQ
The most accurate answer to this question is, “it depends.” On March 10, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) weighed in on LGBTQ protections – but the decision is not as clear as some of the headlines make it seem. For instance, some reports proclaimed that the court ruled … Continue reading this entry

How Will the EEOC Change Under the Trump Administration?

EEOC Developments
Employers, human resource professionals, and employment attorneys all have the same burning question on their minds – what is the Trump administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), with newly appointed Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic, going to do? An important part of this conversation is understanding the ways in which the EEOC is able to … Continue reading this entry

Federal Court Shoots Down EEOC Subpoena

EEOC Developments
Employers facing Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge investigations may find themselves on the receiving end of overly broad, unduly burdensome and/or irrelevant information requests from the EEOC. If an employer refuses to comply with the requests, the EEOC has the authority to issue a subpoena.  However, the agency’s subpoena power is not without limitations. … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Issues New Harassment Guidance

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

EEO Compliance
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

EEOC Developments
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

Wage and Hour
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?

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

Employer
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

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

EEOC
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

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

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

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

EEOC Developments
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

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

EEOC Developments
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

EEO Compliance
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