EEOC offers website and guidance for young workers

December 16, 2012 0 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Youth@Work program is designed to educate working-age young people about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace and how they can protect themselves against illegal discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The program consists of three main components:  the Youth@Work web site, free outreach events, and partnerships with business leaders, human resource groups, and industry trade associations.

The Youth@Work website explains the different types of job discrimination that young workers may encounter and suggests strategies they can use to prevent, and, if necessary, respond to such discrimination. The site includes an interactive tool called “Challenge Yourself!” that provides an opportunity for young workers to test their knowledge by analyzing sample job discrimination scenarios. The site, created with the assistance of EEOC student interns, also includes examples of EEOC cases filed on behalf of of young workers. read more…

Ex-EEOC employee met requirements to pursue disability claim against agency

September 16, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Nancy Williams

Just as private-sector workers are required to file an administrative charge of discrimination before filing a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, federal employees also have prefiling requirements. In a disability discrimination case against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the 9th Circuit recently decided that the employee had taken all necessary steps and could proceed with her claim.

Was filing of lawsuit fatally premature?

Mary Bullock was an administrative law judge (ALJ) for the EEOC from 1999 to 2007. She suffers from both multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus. In January 2003, she filed an informal disability discrimination complaint, and four months later, she filed a formal complaint. She claimed the EEOC had failed to accommodate her condition and thus had violated the federal Rehabilitation Act. The informal and formal complaint steps track the requirements of Title VII for federal employee claims. read more…

EEOC Declares that Title VII Protects Transgender Employees

June 16, 2012 2 COMMENTS

By Heather Knox

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that interprets and enforces employment discrimination laws, recently considered whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender employees from workplace discrimination. The case involved an employee who claimed she wasn’t hired by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to work at a crime lab, despite being otherwise qualified for the job, after she revealed that she was in the process of transitioning from male to female. Let’s take a closer look at the case.

Facts

Mia Macy, a transgender woman, was working as a police detective in Arizona when she decided to relocate to California in December 2010 for family reasons. At the time, she hadn’t yet transitioned from male to female and was still known as a man. When she learned of an open position in an ATF crime lab for which she was qualified, she applied for the job. She was interviewed over the telephone, and the discussion covered her experience, credentials, salary, and benefits. The agency told her the job would be hers so long as she passed the required background check. read more…

Pepsi Pays $3M to Settle Race Case Based on Background Check Policy

May 20, 2012 0 COMMENTS

By Jennifer Melton

On January 11, 2012, Pepsi Beverages Company agreed to pay more than $3 million to resolve race discrimination claims filed in 2006 by more than 300 African American job applicants. The claims alleged that the company’s criminal background check policy (1) disproportionately excluded African Americans from employment with Pepsi and (2) violated federal and state legal limits established by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The settlement sends a clear message to other employers: Be more proactive and conduct frequent and comprehensive reviews of criminal background check policies to minimize the likelihood of similar sanctions and fines by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Legal Ramifications

Following an EEOC investigation, the commission ruled that Pepsi’s long- standing policy (which denied employment to job applicants who had been arrested) resulted in race discrimination. Statistics show that minorities tend to have higher arrest and conviction rates than whites. The investigation revealed that in this case, none of the applicants had been convicted of a crime and therefore should have been considered suitable for employment (provided they met the job requirements and qualifications). read more…

Employers, Beware of Looming “Pattern-or-Practice” Charges

March 18, 2012 0 COMMENTS

By Diane Pietraszewski

The vast majority of all equal employment opportunity lawsuits are filed by individual employees or job applicants. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may file cases on behalf of individuals, but it rarely does so because of limited resources. To get more “bang” for its litigation bucks, the EEOC is increasingly turning to “pattern-or-practice” cases. You should respond to any EEOC charges against your company with that in mind, crafting your responses to avoid creating issues that trigger federal court litigation funded by the agency.

EEOC Focus: Systemic Claims

In recent years, the EEOC has shifted much of its focus to systemic claims, otherwise known as pattern-or-practice claims, which target discriminatory patterns, practices, or policies that have a broad impact on certain groups of individuals. In 2005, for example, the EEOC created the Systemic Task Force for the primary purpose of improving its methods and strategies for targeting systemic discrimination. In fact, although the EEOC has recently filed fewer lawsuits on behalf of individual employees, the number of systemic discrimination lawsuits it has initiated has approximately doubled in the past 10 years. In 2010 alone, out of 165 systemic investigations, the agency obtained 29 settlements or conciliation agreements, bringing in approximately $6.7 million. read more…

This Decision May Not Make the Grade

March 18, 2012 0 COMMENTS

By Jeanine Poole

It may seem that requiring a high-school diploma for a job is a correct answer. However, a recent “informal discussion letter” from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicates that you may need to do more studying before making that choice.

Background

In October 2011, the state of Tennessee wrote the EEOC, asking whether “the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), prohibits the state of Tennessee from requiring students with learning disabilities to take ‘Gateway tests’ or ‘end-of-course assessments’ in order to receive their high-school diplomas.” The EEOC initially responded by referring the state to the Tennessee Department of Education. However, the EEOC then took the opportunity to address one statement in the letter that raised employment-related concerns for the agency under Title I of the ADA. We want to ensure you are aware of the agency’s position on the matter. read more…

EEOC Reports Record Highs, Reductions in 2011

January 15, 2012 0 COMMENTS

According to the annual Performance and Accountability Report released in November, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finished fiscal year 2011 with a 10 percent decrease in its pending-charge inventory, the first such reduction since 2002. At the same time, the agency achieved the highest-ever monetary amounts through administrative enforcement, and it received a record number of discrimination charges.

The fiscal year ended on September 30, 2011, with 78,136 pending charges, a decrease of 8,202 charges. The agency received 99,947 discrimination charges during the fiscal year — the most in the agency’s 46-year history. More than $364.6 million in monetary benefits was recovered in workplace discrimination cases — another highest-ever-in-agency-history figure. The report also estimates that the EEOC’s public outreach and education programs reached approximately 540,000 persons directly. read more…

The Rule Is ‘English only’! Capice?

June 19, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Lauren M. Cooper

A much-debated issue is whether you may lawfully require employees to speak only English in the workplace. The simple answer is yes. This article will address the circumstances in which you may legally enforce an English-only policy and the potential legal risks that follow.

Status Quo Ante

Employers increasingly ask employees to refrain from speaking languages other than English in the workplace to promote productivity and efficiency and preserve workplace harmony. Certainly, a policy that targets only a particular language or national origin, such as a “non- Spanish” policy, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on national origin. But what about rules requiring employees to speak English while on the job? read more…

Disability Etiquette: A Primer

November 14, 2010 1 COMMENTS

The Disability Access Office in San Antonio, Texas, has published The Disability Etiquette Handbook. The handbook, which is on the web, covers a variety of issues. We thought we’d give you a sample.

Reception Etiquette

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Ninth Circuit Reinstates Male Worker’s Harassment Claim

November 14, 2010 2 COMMENTS

A federal trial court in Nevada apparently couldn’t believe that a woman’s sexual overtures to a male coworker would ever be unwelcome and rejected the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) attempt to file a harassment suit on his behalf. But in a recent decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) disagreed. Sexual harassment laws protect men on the same basis as women.

Woman Preys on Male Coworker

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