EEOC announces new strategic enforcement priorities

by Leslie E. Silverman

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) broke new ground in late 2012 with the release of its first Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) publicly identifying its top enforcement priorities. Since that time, the EEOC’s enforcement and litigation program has largely focused on the priority areas laid out in the SEP:  Book of Compliance

  1. Eliminating barriers for recruiting and hiring;
  2. Protecting vulnerable workers;
  3. Addressing select emerging and developing issues;
  4. Ensuring equal pay protections;
  5. Preserving access to the legal system; and
  6. Preventing systemic harassment.

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DOJ and EEOC release ‘Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement’ report

by Sean D. Lee

On October 5, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a joint report aimed at helping law enforcement agencies across the country recruit, hire, and retain diverse workforces.  Police presence at Trump rally

The comprehensive report, “Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement,” presents the findings of a joint research initiative by the DOJ and the EEOC launched in December 2015 to understand the barriers that undermine diversity in law enforcement and highlight “promising practices” to increase diversity. The report arrives amid an intensifying national conversation about race and policing, although it stresses that diversity also includes characteristics like sex, sexual orientation, religion, language ability, and life experience.

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EEOC Richmond office, Mexican Consulate tackle national origin bias

by Jayna Genti

As part of its multiyear Strategic Enforcement Plan, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made protecting immigrant, migrant, and other vulnerable workers a national priority. Because it has found that “many of these workers are unable or afraid to assert their rights under federal law,” the EEOC has instituted outreach and education, particularly among Hispanic workers, with the goal of making them aware of their rights in the U.S. workforce, regardless of their work authorization status. EEOC-jpg

The most recent outreach efforts of the EEOC occurred last month when the EEOC’s Richmond Local Office and the Consulate of Mexico in Washington, D.C., pledged to work together to tackle discrimination in the workplace and its unique impact on Mexican nationals. Mexican Consul General Juan Carlos Mendoza Sánchez and Reuben Daniels, Jr., director of the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish an ongoing collaborative relationship between the EEOC and the Mexican Consulate.

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EEOC revises national origin discrimination guidance for changing workforce

by Arielle B. Sepulveda

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released proposed enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination for public comment. Once finalized, the guidance will serve as a reference for agency staff when they investigate and litigate national origin discrimination claims as well as a resource for employers and employees on the law and the EEOC’s interpretation of it.  EEOC-jpg

Basics of national origin discrimination

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Preventing discrimination against Muslim and Middle Eastern workers

by Anna C. Lukeman

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has warned employers to be proactive and take measures against discrimination aimed at those who are or are perceived to be either Muslim or Middle Eastern.  Middle eastern people having a business meeting at office

In her statement to address this issue, EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang said, “America was founded on the principle of religious freedom. As a nation, we must continue to seek the fair treatment of all, even as we grapple with the concerns raised by the recent terrorist attacks. When people come to work and are unfairly harassed or otherwise targeted based on their religion or national origin, it undermines our shared and longstanding values of tolerance and equality for all.”

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EEOC issues new guidance on leave of absence and ADA accommodations

by Paige Hoster Good

On May 9, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new guidance document addressing the intersection of employer-provided leave of absence and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This document doesn’t create any new EEOC agency policy or propose any new law. Rather, it consolidates current guidance on the ADA, employer leave policies, reasonable accommodations, the interactive process, undue hardship, and other relevant subtopics.  EEOC-jpg

It appears the motivation behind this document stems from the overall rise in disability-related charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC, which increased over six percent from fiscal year 2014 to 2015. Moreover, recent charges received by the EEOC indicate employers may not know they should consider modification of leave policies as a reasonable accommodation of an employee’s disability.

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EEOC issues bathroom guidelines for transgender employees

EEOC aids national strategy to protect workers with HIV/AIDS

by Natalie B. Virden

In 2010, the White House issued a National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States (NHAS). One step identified in the NHAS is to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been utilizing its enforcement and litigation functions in recent years in an attempt to eradicate employment discrimination based on HIV status. In fiscal year 2014, the EEOC resolved almost 200 charges of discrimination based on HIV status and obtained more than $825,000 for job applicants and employees with HIV/AIDS who were unlawfully denied employment and reasonable accommodations. AIDS Awareness Ribbon

For example, in one recent case, the EEOC alleged that an employer withdrew a conditional employment offer after the applicant submitted a health status certification that revealed he is HIV-positive but also stated that he was cleared to work. In settling the case, the EEOC received $75,000 for the rejected applicant. In another case, the EEOC sued an employer for terminating an employee after he disclosed that he is HIV-positive. To settle the case, the employer agreed to pay the employee $125,000 and admit that his continued employment after he became HIV-positive was not a health threat.

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How far will DOJ extend ADA’s Title II and Title III requirements?

by Monna Lea Bryant, Robert Sniffen, and Jeff Slanker

Retailers and businesses may soon need to begin preparing for a new public accommodations issue related to an altogether different kind of access barrier: websites. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is developing a plan to amend Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to require websites to become accessible to disabled users. The DOJ is concerned about the accessibility of websites operated by public entities, such as state and local governments, which are subject to Title II of the ADA, as well as those run by private-sector businesses actively involved in e-commerce, which may or may not be covered by Title III of the ADA. 

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EEOC’s controversial EEO-1 change would root out pay discrimination

by Amanda Shelby

On January 29, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency charged with administering and enforcing the civil rights laws that prohibit workplace discrimination, proposed a significant revision to its Employer Information Report (also known as the EEO-1). The federal government uses the EEO-1 to collect demographic data about an employer’s workforce. The EEOC’s proposed amendment to the EEO-1 would require employers with 100 or more employees to report pay data in addition to their workforce demographics. So what’s the purpose of the proposed change, and how will it impact you?  Pay Discrimination

EEOC’s proposed EEO-1 changes

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