EEOC issues updated enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination

by Kevin McCormick

On July 14, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its “Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues.” This is the first comprehensive update the EEOC has provided on the subject since 1983. The guidance supersedes the earlier EEOC publication and incorporates significant developments in the law during the past 30 years.  Pregnant Employee

In addition to addressing the requirements of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the guidance discusses the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008 to individuals who have pregnancy-related disabilities. Much of the analysis in the new guidance is an update of long-standing EEOC policies that set out the fundamental PDA requirements that an employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions and that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions must be treated the same as other persons similar in their ability or inability to work.

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EEOC to update guidance on English-only policies?

by Amanda Shelby

Chief among the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) current priorities are (1) eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring and (2) protecting immigrant, migrant, and other vulnerable workers. It therefore should come as no surprise that the EEOC might be setting its sights on revising its guidance relating to English-only policies since those policies arguably implicate both of its top two priorities. So what does the EEOC’s guidance currently say? What are the agency’s concerns? And what precautions can you take now to minimize your risks in the future?  SpeakEnglish

EEOC’s current guidance

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OFCCP issues new rules on hiring of disabled individuals

by Elizabeth Bradley

On August 27, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a final rule intended to promote the hiring and employment of people with disabilities by federal government contractors. The rule makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).  GovernmentRegulations

The final rules were published in the Federal Register on September 24 and can be kindly described as voluminous and difficult to decipher. This article provides guidance on the key revisions to the Section 503 and VEVRAA regulations that affect contractors that are required to prepare affirmative action plans (AAPs).

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EEOC steps up enforcement of genetic information nondiscrimination

by Roberta Fields

Each year, scientific advancements in the field of genetics broaden our understanding of health issues and, specifically, the impact heredity plays on a person’s chances of developing certain medical conditions. Such research has led to more and more genetic tests designed to help people understand their risks for getting cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other diseases and conditions.

While such tests are beneficial in understanding, detecting, treating, and preventing disease, the information they yield―if it falls into the wrong hands or is used for the wrong purposes―can be used to hurt people as well.

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OFCCP issues new compensation directive

by Melineh Verma

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) formally rescinded the Bush-era guidance on pay discrimination in February, criticizing the 2006 “Voluntary Guidelines and Compensation Standards” as improperly limiting its ability to conduct full investigations of compensation matters. The OFCCP replaced the 2006 voluntary guidelines with Directive 307, which specifies the procedures that OFCCP investigators must follow when conducting compensation audits.

“Today, we are lifting arbitrary barriers that have prevented our investigators from finding and combating illegal pay discrimination,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu in a press release. “At the same time, we are providing clear guidance for contractors to facilitate their success when it comes to providing equal opportunity to all of their workers.” Directive 307′s investigative procedures apply to all scheduling letters issued by the OFCCP on or after February 28, 2013.

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Categories: Agency Insight

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Balancing act: religious accommodations vs. diversity goals

by Tara Martens Miller

Freedom to believe and practice your own religion is a strongly held American value as well as a right recognized by  the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and most state organizations charged with receiving and investigating claims of discrimination. Sometimes, however, an employee’s expression of religious beliefs in the workplace can be disruptive―especially if the employee’s beliefs clash with the beliefs of her coworkers. When does an employer’s attempt to control religious expression become discriminatory? And how does a company reconcile its efforts to promote workplace diversity with an employee’s right to push back against “diversity” he opposes?

Basic protections under the law

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DOL releases toolkit to combat child and forced labor

April 14, 2013 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of International Labor Affairs has released “Reducing Child Labor and Forced Labor: A Toolkit for Responsible Businesses,” the first guide developed by the U.S. government to help businesses combat child labor and forced labor in their global supply chains. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), worldwide there are 215 million children in child labor, with 115 million performing hazardous work. It also estimates that 21 million people are in forced labor, six million of them children.

Using the DOL’s toolkit should help employers reduce “the chance that your products—and the raw materials they come from—are manufactured, mined or harvested by children who should be in school, or by workers locked in sweatshops or forced into work through false promises or threats.” read more…

FMLA leave may be used to care for a disabled adult child

by Edward Sisson

The acting deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Administrator’s Interpretation (AI) No. 2013-1 on January 14 to explain the WHD’s position on who is considered a son or daughter under Section 101(12) of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The administrator concluded that parents who are eligible employees of covered employers are entitled to take FMLA leave to care for an adult child who is disabled or has a serious health condition without regard to the child’s age when the disability began.

FMLA refresher

Under the FMLA, an eligible employee of a covered employer is entitled to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. One of the specified reasons is to care for a son or daughter who is disabled or has a serious health condition.

The FMLA military caregiver provision entitles an eligible employee who is a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty to take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for the servicemember. read more…

EEOC’s use of ‘race raters’ against Kaplan University gets failing grade

by Judith E. Kramer

On January 28, a federal court ruled in favor of Kaplan Higher Learning Education Corp. and Kaplan University in a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC had alleged that Kaplan’s use of credit history reports in making hiring decisions violated certain provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because the practice has a disparate impact on black applicants.

Background

The defendant in this case was a group of educational institutions. As the court noted, educational institutions operate in a highly regulated industry. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) provides financial aid to many students enrolled at Kaplan University and Kaplan Higher Learning Education and requires its participants to have in place quality controls that limit access to student and parent information. read more…

Recent EEOC settlements and enforcement actions

by Cynthia Ozger-Pascu 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is continuing its aggressive pursuit of sexual harassment and discrimination claims through systemic enforcement actions.

EEOC settles long-standing sexual harassment suit

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