Archives: Discrimination

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EEOC Issues New Enforcement Guidance On National Origin Discrimination

On Nov. 21, 2016, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination for the first time in 14 years. Some may speculate whether this has anything to do with increased ethnic tensions in the wake of the presidential campaign and election results. Some also recognize that in … Continue Reading

Transgender Issues in the Law and in the Workplace

UPDATE: On Friday, October 28, 2016, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the Fourth Circuit case arising out of Virginia, which was discussed in our Sept. 21, 2016 blog post.  The Fourth Circuit case related to a high school student’s ability to use the bathroom of the sex with which he identifies.  In August, the Court also … Continue Reading

Who Is Houston’s New “HERO”? Houston City Council Passes Sweeping Equal Rights Ordinance

***UPDATE*** Houston’s controversial equal rights ordinance (commonly referred to as HERO) failed by a wide margin on Tuesday. Houstonians rejected the proposition by a vote of 61% to 39%. Largely conservative opponents pursued an ad campaign arguing that the ordinance would allow sexual predators dressed as women to enter women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers. … Continue Reading

Financial Agencies’ Joint Diversity Standards Voluntary for Regulated Entities

Six federal financial agencies—the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Agencies”)—joined forces to issue a final interagency policy statement on June 9, 2015, which establishes joint standards for … Continue Reading

“Spacious Accommodations”: Supreme Court Breaks New Ground in Pregnancy Discrimination Case

On March 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, revived a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by Peggy Young against United Parcel Service (“UPS”). The decision vacated the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that Young could not make a case for discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) and sent the case … Continue Reading

Thirty Years of Law in Thirty-Some Pages: The EEOC’s New Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued its “Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues.” It was no minor undertaking. According to the EEOC’s Questions and Answers about the Guidance, it “updates prior guidance on this subject in light of legal developments over the past thirty years.” This Guidance comes as little surprise. … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Petition that Proceeding as a Collective Action Under the FLSA is a Non-Waivable Substantive Right

In the last week, we have seen several significant decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court.  On Monday, however, the Court made a noteworthy “non-decision” by declining a petition for certiorari that raised the question of whether a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act is a non-waivable, substantive right. In Walthour v. Chipio Windshield … Continue Reading

Anti-Discrimination Laws Going “Intern”-ational? New York City Extends Its Human Rights Law to Unpaid Interns

As we reported last October, a federal court in New York found that an unpaid intern could not bring a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”).  (Wang v. Phoenix Satellite Television US, Inc., Case No. 1:13-cv-00218-PKC (S.D.N.Y. 2013).  On March 26, however, the New York … Continue Reading

The EEOC Amplifies its Focus on Religious Discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) received 3,721 charges alleging religious discrimination in fiscal year 2013.  In partial response to these charges, earlier this month, the EEOC issued new technical assistance publications addressing religious dress and grooming in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”).  Given the … Continue Reading

Another Reminder That Inflexible Employment Policies and the ADA Don’t Play Well Together – Court Refuses to Dismiss EEOC Action Based on “100% Healed” Policy

One theme that resonates throughout court decisions and EEOC filings over the last few years is that application of inflexible employment policies to disabled employees often runs afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Such is the case with “100% healed” policies, which require employees returning from leaves of absence to do so without … Continue Reading

Pregnant Employees Become the Subject of Heightened Attention and New Legislation

Over the past decade, the number of claims pregnant workers have filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has risen by almost 50 percent, according to the National Women’s Law Center (“NWLC”).  Most of these workers assert that their employers denied them reasonable accommodations, such as bathroom breaks, periodic rest breaks, breaks to facilitate … Continue Reading

Walking in a Winter Litigation Wonderland: Top Employment Mistakes to Avoid at Your Company Holiday Party

As 2013 draws to a close, attentions turn to the festivities and merriment of the holiday season, and many employers gear up for office holiday parties.  A holiday party is a great way to reward employees for a long year’s work, encourage employees to mingle with coworkers outside of their immediate work groups, and set … Continue Reading

Texas Files Suit to Strike Down EEOC Background Check Guidance

bigstock-Criminal-background-check-11618633-320x2131-160x106  Don’t mess with Texas. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) usually forces employers who are subject to Title VII to play defense.  The State of Texas, however, has upended that approach.  On November 4, 2013, Texas filed a federal lawsuit that seeks to strike down the EEOC’s April 2012 Enforcement Guidance limiting employers’ use … Continue Reading

Staffing Agency Employee May Sue Multiple Employers for Wrongful Discharge, Federal Court Rules

Employment-Word-CloudWhose employee is it anyway? The answer may be everyone’s. Companies who use staffing agencies to supply workers may be considered joint employers of those workers, even if the staffing agency hires and pays the workers.  Both companies may be held liable for retaliation and wrongful termination, a federal court in New York has just … Continue Reading

Court Slams EEOC on Background Check Lawsuit

bigstock-Criminal-background-check-11618633-320x213[1]Last week, a district court in Maryland granted summary judgment in favor of Freeman, Inc. (“Freeman”), a service provider for corporate events, with respect to a nationwide pattern and practice lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).  EEOC v. Freeman, No. 09-CV-2573 (D. Md. Aug. 9, 2013).  In its lawsuit, the EEOC … Continue Reading

EEOC Files Two Race-Based Class Action Lawsuits on Criminal Background Checks

bigstock-Criminal-background-check-11618633On June 11, 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed separate class action lawsuits against two employers – Dollar General Stores and BMW – alleging that these employers engaged in racial discrimination by using criminal background checks to disqualify applicants from employment.  The BMW case filed in South Carolina has a 69-person class, and is location specific.  … Continue Reading
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