Tag Archives: Title VII

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

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

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

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

EEO Compliance
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

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

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

Transgender and Sexual Orientation Anti-Discrimination Protections — Maybe not yet the Law of the Land, but Your Policies Better Include Them

Discrimination
Though most Americans do not seem to realize it, anti-discrimination legal protections in employment for transgender, gay, bisexual, and lesbian (LGBT) employees are not uniform across the U.S. In fact, the federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would amend Title VII to explicitly include these protected categories, has never passed. Therefore, it is still legal to … Continue reading this entry

Bullies at Work? It’s Time to Take Action Because It May Be More Common Than You Think

EEOC
You may recall some recent high profile stories in the media involving teenagers committing suicide as a result of being bullied by their peers. However, bullying is not limited to the playground or teenagers engaged in social media. Recent surveys indicate that bullying is also prevalent in the workplace. For example, a survey commissioned earlier … Continue reading this entry

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

LGBTQ
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

li_eeoc
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

la_eeoc
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

When You Wish Upon a Scheduling Accommodation, Dreams Come True…

Employer
The obligation for an employer to generally make scheduling accommodations to enable an employee to follow the basic tenets of his or her religious faith is a well-established requirement under Title VII’s anti-discrimination provisions. For example, employers are generally required to accommodate a request by a Catholic employee for a schedule change so that he can … Continue reading this entry

Accommodating Nursing Home Patients' Racial "Preferences" Violates Title VII

Usually it’s a good thing when health care providers accommodate the wishes of their patients, but what happens when the patient says, “I don’t want any black employees working on my case. I don’t even want them in my room.” In a recent case, Chaney v. Plainfield Healthcare Center , a nursing home was accommodating … Continue reading this entry

Derogatory and Vulgar Language Can Create a Hostile Work Environment, Even if Not Directed at a Particular Employee

In Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., (11th Circuit, January 20, 2010), the employee, who worked as a transportation sales representative in a shipping company, claimed that she was subjected to a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. Although not directed at or referring to the employee, she overheard her male co-workers refer … Continue reading this entry