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Showing 63 posts in Discrimination.

Title VII Enforcement Powers Against Employers Clarified by EEOC Opinion Letter

On Thursday, September 3, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an Opinion Letter shedding light on the agency's own ability to sue employers under Section 707(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The letter clarifies two notable areas for employers. First, the EEOC does not have broad authority to file a civil lawsuit against an employer under Title VII without a finding of discrimination or retaliation. Second, the EEOC must follow procedural guidelines—investigate a charge of discrimination, find reasonable cause, attempt to remedy such practice by conciliation—before a civil lawsuit may be filed. More ›

District Court Permits Walmart to "Rollback" Job Offer Because of Undue Hardship from a Religious Accommodation

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin recently addressed an employer's responsibilities to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs. In EEOC v. Walmart Stores East, LP, the court examined whether Walmart was required to accommodate a candidate for an assistant manager position who informed Walmart—after he received his offer—that he could not work on Saturdays due to his religion. Walmart ultimately withdrew the offer of employment, but offered the employee the opportunity to seek a non-management position as well as the assistance of human resources in his job search. The employee refused Walmart's offer and asserted claims of religious discrimination and retaliation under Title VII. More ›

"Ok Boomer"... From Internet Meme to Workplace Age Discrimination

Conflict exists between every generation, at least to some degree, and this is not new. Advancements in technology, the status of the economy, and other large-scale factors create differences in perspective between older and younger generations. But employers should be vigilant and warn employees about the use of "Ok Boomer" and other age-related comments, as well as dismissive attitudes directed towards older workers. Given the prevalence of lawsuits alleging age discrimination and harassment, this latest popular phrase is cause for concern. More ›

New York State Prohibits Employee Discrimination Over Reproductive Health Decisions

On November 8, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded the list of protected categories under existing New York City Human Rights Law by signing the New York Reproductive Choice Law. Under this provision, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees or their dependents for their reproductive health decisions. Specifically, the law prohibits employers from accessing personal information about an employee or dependent's "use or access of a particular drug, device or medical service without the employee's prior informed affirmative written consent." Further, employers cannot retaliate against or treat an employee differently because they "use or access a particular drug, device or medical service." More ›

Electioneering at the Water Cooler: Protections and Pitfalls of Politics in the Workplace

With the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election less than a year away, political conversations and activities are seeping into almost every aspect of daily life—even the workplace. While discussions on the topic can be harmless, they may also be heated. The Seventh Circuit's decision in Daza v. State of Indiana serves as a cautionary tale and reminder to both public and private employers to proceed with caution when it comes to politics in the workplace. More ›

New York Passes Significant Amendments to Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Law

In an effort to align its legislation with the broader standards of the New York City Human Rights Law, New York State recently passed an amended anti-harassment bill which will significantly impact how employers handle harassment claims. Governor Cuomo signed the bill on August 12, 2019. Many of the new provisions, if not already in effect, will be effective within sixty days. All employers will be subjected to the new amendments, regardless of the number of employees. More ›

Major League Baseball Umpire Strikes Out in His Assertion of Union Privilege in Discrimination Claim

A Federal District Court in New York recently fielded the issue of whether there is such a thing as a union relations privilege and the extent of that privilege. In Hernandez v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball (18 Civ.No.35), baseball umpire Angel Hernandez alleged that Major League Baseball (MLB) had discriminated against him with respect to crew chief assignments and post-season umpiring assignments. There was no evidence Hernandez filed a grievance under his collective bargaining agreement regarding his discrimination claim and this was key to MLB's defense. Hernandez asserted union privilege in order to protect any discussions with representatives of the Major League Baseball Umpires Association (the "Union"). A New York District Court Judge, agreeing with the Magistrate Judge's recommendation, determined that under federal common law, any union relations privilege would only cover communications made in the context of representation by a union representative during disciplinary proceedings under a collective bargaining agreement. More ›

Hair Today…Discrimination Tomorrow? California and New York Adopt Hair Style Protections, Others Surely to Follow

On July 3, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom approved Senate Bill No. 188 providing legal protection from discrimination in the workplace and in public schools for natural and protective hairstyles historically worn by black people and people of color. This bill expanded the scope of what is considered a protected race category under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to include traits "historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles." Following California's lead, New York then became the second state to ban discrimination based on natural hairstyles on July 12, 2019, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law S.6209A/A.7797A, which amends the Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Students Act. There is now proposed legislation in New Jersey as well, modeled after Senate Bill No. 188. This means employers in other states should take a hard look at their workplace hair and grooming policies to avoid discrimination actions. More ›

Employer Alert: SCOTUS Holds That EEOC Charge Processing Rules can be Waived by a Defendant Since they are not Jurisdictional

On June 3, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States made a ruling that employers and their legal counsel need to be aware of. In Fort Bend County v. Davis, the Supreme Court ruled that the charge-filing requirements for EEOC discrimination claims filed under Title VII, including that Act's scope of charge and filing rules, are not jurisdictional and instead are claims processing rules which can be waived by a defendant if not timely raised in federal court proceedings. This decision resolves a split among multiple federal Circuit Courts which have confronted the issue. More ›

Hair today...discrimination case tomorrow?

California is well on its way to unanimously becoming the first state to ban discrimination in schools and workplaces based on hair/hairstyles, hair textures, and protective hairstyles such as twists, braids, updos, and wigs. The CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) Act would prohibit employers and schools from enforcing discriminatory grooming, hair keeping policies, or dress codes that could disproportionately affect people of color. Going forward, California employers should look at their related polices to ensure they are non-discriminatory and do not specifically target hairstyles or hair textures of people of color. More ›

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