Equal pay issues gaining attention

March 20, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Gesina (Ena) M. Seiler

The concept of equal pay for equal work is receiving attention from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), President Barack Obama, and the 2016 candidates for president. That means there’s no better time than the present for a review of what “equal pay” does and doesn’t mean, recent amendments to the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and proposed regulatory changes.  equal pay

What is the EPA?

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EEOC releases FY 2014 enforcement stats

May 17, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Christopher J. Pyles

According to newly released statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the state in which the most administrative charges were filed in fiscal year (FY) 2014 was Texas, which had more than 8,000. Where did your state rank?  Statistics!

Discrimination by the numbers

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Return-to-work woes: EEOC challenges medical release requests under ADA, GINA

December 14, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Geoffrey D. Rieder

In a lawsuit filed in September, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges that a Minnesota-based power company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) by requiring an employee returning from medical leave to execute overbroad medical release forms for a fitness-for-duty medical examination. In EEOC v. Cummins Power Generation, currently pending in the federal district court in Minnesota, the agency asserts that the employer violated both the ADA and GINA when it attempted to obtain certification that the employee was medically qualified to return to work from medical leave. The EEOC’s aggressive approach in this case suggests that employers may be well-advised to review policies and practices governing employees’ return to work following medical leaves of absence.  PrivateMedicalInformation


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EEOC brings first lawsuits alleging transgender discrimination

December 14, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Arielle B. Sepulveda

On September 25, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed two lawsuits, the first actions by the agency in which it has alleged that discharging an employee because she is transgender constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex and therefore violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In light of the increasing societal and judicial recognition of LGBT rights, employers must be aware of the potential workplace issues faced by employees who don’t conform to traditional gender norms.  Transgender


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EEOC issues updated enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination

August 17, 2014 0 COMMENTS

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 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.


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…

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