Tag Archives: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Scores Victory in Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuit

EEOC
In recent years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has increasingly focused its enforcement initiatives on prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Now, the agency has a concrete victory to show for its efforts. A federal district court in Pittsburgh recently awarded more than $55,000, representing the statutory maximum in compensatory and punitive damages, … Continue reading this entry

Employers Must Use Caution When Basing Pay Decisions On Prior Salary History

Employer
Imagine a scenario where an employer hires two individuals – a male and female – to fill two identical jobs (i.e., same job qualifications and same job duties). Both individuals satisfy the educational, skill, and other technical requirements for the job and they have similar employment histories.  However, at their prior places of employment, one … 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

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

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

Obesity Not A Disability Without An Underlying Medical Cause

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

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

Time To Stop And Actually Look At Your Bulletin Boards

Employer
When was the last time you stopped and looked – really, truly looked – at all of the workplace posters on your company’s bulletin boards? Many employers take the Ron Popeil philosophy of workplace posters and “set it, and forget it.” But failing to keep your workplace posters up to date can lead to unnecessary … 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

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

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

EEOC Developments
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?

Employer
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

EEOC Developments
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

A Prompt Response to a Harassment Complaint Can Be the Difference Between Liability and No Liability

Discrimination
A recent federal district court from Illinois graphically demonstrates the benefits of a prompt response when an employer receives an internal harassment complaint from an employee. In this case, a female employee complained that two male employees had harassed her. She claimed that a coworker constantly harassed her starting in September 2010 and continuing into 2011, … Continue reading this entry

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

EEOC Developments
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… )

EEO Compliance
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

EEOC, Court Flip Flops Reveal Challenges to Employers Facing Accommodation Requests

If even the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the courts cannot agree how far the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) accommodation obligation extends, how is an employer supposed to do so? As we noted recently, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Kentucky Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee) has determined that the obligation does … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Calls Out the EEOC for Arguing It Alone Can Determine Whether It Followed the Law

We suggested last year that if you felt paranoid that the federal agencies seemed out to get employers, perhaps it was not paranoia at all. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) spate of recent lawsuits — or at least its apparent haste to sue employers and make examples out of them over such things as … Continue reading this entry