Title VII (EEOC)

What We Can Expect From the EEOC In 2017

In recent years, it has been difficult to predict with certainty what employers can expect from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). While it is unlikely the agency will dramatically shift gears during the coming fiscal year, the following are some of the anticipated trends for fiscal year 2017. The EEOC will continue…

EEOC Settles First Sexual Orientation Lawsuit

In early March, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed its first lawsuits, in which it alleged that employer had violated Title VII by discriminating based on sexual orientation. Late last week, one of those lawsuits settled. (A second, against Scott Medical Health Center, is pending.) Dani Kass from Law360 reports here that the EEOC…

EEOC Says Transgender Employees Can Choose Their Bathroom

Around this time last year, I blogged here about OSHA’s Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers. According to OSHA, “all employees should be permitted to use the facilities that correspond to their gender identity.” And, it’s up to the employee to determine for him- or herself “the most appropriate and safest option.” It…

How Far Must You Go to Accommodate Wild Religious Beliefs?

By Eric B. Meyer Most employment lawyers — especially us blogger types — are never at a loss for a good war story. Like that time I sat through the deposition of a construction site employee who testified about how the walls of the control room were covered ceiling-to-floor with porn. Not a single…

One Good Reason Why You Never Want to Deal With a Retaliation Lawsuit

By Eric B. Meyer What happens when an employee’s national origin claim becomes a retaliation lawsuit? Late last week, Kurt Orzeck at Law360 wrote about a lawsuit that the EEOC initiated in California federal court against a bakery. In that lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that one of the bakery employees complained to the EEOC that…

A Sobering Lesson: Why HR Needs to Be Up to Date on Accommodation Requests

By Eric B. Meyer It was the bottom of the first page of this recent federal court opinion in EEOC v. Star Transport, Inc. really grabbed my attention: In December 2008 or January 2009, Edward Briggs became Star Transport’s Human Resources Manager. He received no training on anti-discrimination laws, was not aware of…

Why Is Pregnancy Such a Touchy Subject In Employee Wellness Health Assessments?

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News “Are you pregnant?” It’s a topic employers generally avoid, since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibited sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. But women’s advocates fear these long-standing protections could be undermined by some workplace wellness programs. That question and “How old were you when you first…

What the Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision Means For the Workplace

OK, presumably I’m not the only employment lawyer trying to apply the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to the employer-employee relationship. But, I can guarantee that this will be the best post you read about it today. In case you’re just returning from a long-weekend sojourn to Mars, on Friday, the Supreme…

Protected Workplace Conduct Is “As Simple as Telling a Supervisor to Stop.”

By Eric B. Meyer When I think about retaliation, I think about who gets fired after complaining about discrimination to an HR Manager or the EEOC. These actions epitomize the “opposition” and the “participation” clauses of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal anti-discrimination statute. By what about when…

Dealing With the “Bathroom Issue” and Transgendered Employees

By Eric B. Meyer On my speaking gigs around the country, what’s the biggest issue I hear from HR professionals involving transgender employees? Yep, it’s the use of the bathroom. Folks, it’s not that complicated. But, I’ll get to that in a sec. First, with a tip of the hat to Joshua Block…

Court: Demanding a Social Security Number Isn’t Religious Discrimination

By Eric B. Meyer Remember that blog post I had from July of last year, the one you contemplated getting tattooed on your back? Yeah, you know the one — about the Fundamentalist Christian, who, upon filling out his new-employee paperwork, refused to provide a Social Security number because it would cause him…

Federal Court Allows Discrimination Against Transgendered Employee

By Eric B. Meyer Under federal law (Title VII), employers cannot discriminate because of one’s sex. While Title VII does not explicitly coverage transgender employees (i.e., someone born female who presents male, and vice-versa; also known as gender identity), the EEOC’s position is that transgender employees are protected too. Indeed, they’ve begun filing…

EEOC Guidebook Cranks Up the Push to Combat LGBT Discrimination

By Eric B. Meyer Even without a federal law that specifically bans discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identify, it’s no secret that one of the EEOC’s top priorities is to protect LGBT workers from discrimination. And the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is being quite transparent about it, with a…

A Lesson on Religious Accommodation From Monday Night Football

By Eric B. Meyer After scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots on Monday night, Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah dropped to his knees and prayed. As Kevin Draper at Deadspin.com reports, a tweet from Abdullah’s brother further confirmed that the player’s post-TD celebration was a Muslim prayer. Except the referees…

EEOC Files Its First Ever Transgender Discrimination Lawsuits

By Eric B. Meyer Bending iPhone6‘s? Derek Jeter’s last home game in Yankee pinstripes? Attorney General Eric Holder to resign? Bah! The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was the one stealing the headlines yesterday — err, doing something that I decided to be most blogworthy.

Title VII Prohibits Retaliation Based on Good Faith Claim of Harassment

By Eric  B. Meyer Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on a number of protected classes. Sexual orientation isn’t one of those protected classes specifically listed in the statute. So, if an employee complains about sexual-orientation harassment and is later fired because she complained, then that won’t…

A Split EEOC Issues New Guidelines on Pregnancy Discrimination

By Ilyse Wolens Schuman The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues, despite reservations expressed by some EEOC Commissioners. In general, the five-part guidance explains Title VII‘s prohibition against pregnancy discrimination, describes individuals to whom the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) applies, discusses the expanded definition…

How Is Your HR Department Doing Covering Its … Assets?

HR departments are the sentries of the office, with access to sensitive personnel records such as health information, I-9 documents as well as salary details, records that can take up loads of file cabinet space, and not to mention, archived data that is located off site. But what If you suddenly find yourself…

Changing Definition of a Supervisor Would Increase Employer Liability

By Gregory Hanscom Sen. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders, I – VT, recently joined 14 other Senators as co-sponsors of the Fair Employment Protection Act of 2014. The intent of this legislation, which was introduced in the Senate last March, is to change the standard for holding employers vicariously liable for claims brought under federal…