Tag Archives: EEOC

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

Obesity Not A Disability Without An Underlying Medical Cause

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In June of last year, we pondered whether obesity is a mere physical characteristic or a disability protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as now amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). In that inquiry, undertaken in the context of a pending appeal of a federal court’s dismissal of a … Continue reading this entry

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Happy New Year! What Will Employment Compliance Require in 2016?

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They say the future tends to repeat the past. When it comes to employment compliance, this may be especially true. With the exception of the laws and regulations applicable to federal contractors, not much changed on the federal employment law landscape (except by some case decisions). Rather, most of the changes with respect to workplace … Continue reading this entry

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

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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

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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… )

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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

Sometimes You Just Cannot Make This Stuff Up

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Warning: The following is true. Some readers may find the content disturbing. Reader discretion is advised. We have previously stated, although in somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion, that labor and employment is the “TMZ” of the legal world. While that metaphoric comparison may be open for debate, many human resources professionals and employment law practitioners know that … Continue reading this entry

Employer Wellness Programs: Finally (or at Least Potentially) Some Clarity

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Late last week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its long-anticipated proposed regulations regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to employer-sponsored wellness programs for employees, and the news for employers is not all bad. In fact, while the guidance only comes in the form of proposed rules (meaning there is … Continue reading this entry

U.S. Army Loses Battle to Regulate Bathroom Selection of Transgender (Civilian) Employee

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On April 1, 2015, the EEOC ordered the Army to pay damages for discriminating against a transgender employee when it prevented her from using the common women’s bathroom and routinely demeaned her by calling her “sir” and other names meant to deprive her of equal status, respect, and dignity in the workplace. The complainant is a … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Delivers New Life to Pregnancy Discrimination Act Claim

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In an eagerly awaited ruling expected to provide greater guidance on an employer’s obligation to accommodate pregnant employees, last week the U.S. Supreme Court established the standard an employee must meet to state a discrimination claim under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) when an employer provides accommodations to non-pregnant employees, but does not provide the same … Continue reading this entry

What Is a “Direct Threat” to Health or Safety Under the ADA?

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Most employers understand that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. However, an employer may legally decide not to hire an individual with a disability if he or she poses a “direct threat to the health and safety” to themselves or others. So, what is a “direct threat?” The … Continue reading this entry

Seek “Recent Graduates” for a Job Opening, Risk a Lawsuit

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Employer job advertisements are, once again, coming under scrutiny. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made headlines when it filed a lawsuit against a restaurant chain over its job posting in which “only females would be considered” for summer positions in a Utah resort town. Last year, Facebook settled a lawsuit with … Continue reading this entry

Employers Beware: Increased Attention to Workplace Harassment and Wellness Programs by the EEOC Coming in the New Year

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Newly appointed U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny Yang recently offered some insight into the EEOC’s areas of focus for 2015, providing employers with a preview of some of the key regulatory and enforcement actions on the horizon. Two primary issues have emerged: workplace harassment and wellness programs.… Continue reading this entry

Watch Your Back: The Growing Threat of FCRA Background Check Class Actions

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Class action suits against employers alleging a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act when using background checks performed by a credit reporting agency have more than tripled in 2014, with new cases continuing to be filed this month. There have also been numerous settlements during the year, with some ranging from $2 million to … Continue reading this entry

Mental Health and the Workplace — Accommodations

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Depression. Anxiety. Bipolar Disorder. These and similar mental health diagnoses may affect your boss, the CEO of your company, the head of HR, your assistant, two of your peer workers, or maybe even you. And their symptoms may also affect how well employees perform their jobs. Just as with physical disorders, mental disorders that rise … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Signals Intent to Process and Litigate Claims of Sexual Orientation Discrimination Under Title VII

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Signaling its intent to pursue its viewpoint that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (including transgender identity), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken several recent steps to advance its theory that Title VII’s statutory term “sex” has broad application within the meaning of … Continue reading this entry

Contemporary Clothing’s “Look” Collides With Title VII

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There is more than a little bit of irony when a clothing company with a target market of teens and young adults has a fashion dilemma. However, a national retailer has just such a dilemma arising from a potential religious accommodation dispute that has just taken a front and center position in the national legal … Continue reading this entry

Hurry Up and Wait: Court Decision Gives No Substantive Guidance on the EEOC’s Challenges to Standard Separation Agreement Provisions

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As we noted last month, a federal district court in Illinois announced it was dismissing a controversial lawsuit brought by the EEOC against a nationwide pharmacy chain challenging that employer’s separation agreement containing standard provisions used by many employers. However, at that time, the court had not yet issued its written decision explaining the dismissal. … Continue reading this entry

Ban the Ban-the-Box? Proposed Law May Clarify Background Check Dilemma in Regulated Industries

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On the heels of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) increased scrutiny regarding criminal history questions during the hiring process and the wave of new state ban-the-box laws, Congress has proposed legislation that actually protects certain employers when they seek to comply with the laws that regulate their industries. The “Certainty in Enforcement Act of … Continue reading this entry