EEOC to update guidance on English-only policies?

January 19, 2014 0 COMMENTS

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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Can I ask that question on a job application?

April 14, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Toni Everton

An increasing number of unsuccessful job applicants are filing discrimination charges, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state enforcement agencies are taking a close look at job applications for evidence of unlawful bias. So the question is, what can you ask on a job application? This article doesn’t contain an all-inclusive list of what to ask on a job application; rather, it provides guidance on a couple of issues the EEOC and state enforcement agencies have recently questioned.  read more…

Criminal and background reports as evidence in EEOC class actions

April 14, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Steven Collis

In its first class action lawsuit challenging an employer’s use of criminal records, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ended up dropping its case against PeopleMark and getting socked with $750,000 in sanctions. Recently, the EEOC suffered another stinging loss when a federal court dismissed its discrimination case against Kaplan Higher Education Corporation (which was discussed in a previous blog post, “EEOC’s use of ‘race raters’ against Kaplan University gets failing grade”) based on an unsound analysis by the commission’s expert witness. With the same expert providing statistical evidence in another case, could the agency strike out in a third background check class action lawsuit?

Over the past few years, the EEOC has aggressively challenged the use of credit reports and criminal history checks in hiring decisions, alleging that use of the information results in a discriminatory impact on candidates in protected groups. In 2012, the commission successfully negotiated a $3.13 million prelawsuit settlement of a race discrimination charge against Pepsi in which the soda giant’s criminal background check policy was called into question for allegedly discriminating against African Americans. However, the agency has been less successful pursuing similar cases in court, mainly because of its struggle to proffer reliable evidence of discriminatory impact. Despite the EEOC’s mixed results, the recent settlements and case filings indicate that the use of credit and criminal history checks in the hiring process is a hot topic. read more…

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

March 17, 2013 2 COMMENTS

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

February 17, 2013 0 COMMENTS

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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EEOC has a banner year

January 20, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Edward Sisson

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was very busy in fiscal year (FY) 2012. The agency reported that it finished the year with record-high monetary recoveries for victims of discrimination.

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Long-term unemployment seen holding back jobseekers

November 18, 2012 3 COMMENTS

No law specifically says employers are prohibited from discriminating against job applicants who have been out of work for months or even years. The long-term unemployed don’t have protections spelled out in any antidiscrimination laws – or do they?

When jobseekers are part of a protected class that has a disproportionate number of people unemployed, they can begin to wonder if they’re stuck in unemployment because of their race, age, gender, disability, or some other characteristic protected under discrimination laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been wondering the same thing. read more…

Reassignment as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA

October 14, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Burton J. Fishman

Of the many contentious accommodation issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), perhaps the most hotly debated is whether reassignment to a vacant position is a reasonable accommodation. Although the ADA lists “reassignment” as a possible accommodation and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) supports that position, many courts have been reluctant to accept this part of an ambiguous statute at face value. The abiding issues are whether disability “trumped” all other work-related factors and whether the disabled had a superior place among protected groups.

Reassignment complications

It isn’t difficult to imagine the kinds of conflicts reassignment as an accommodation creates. What if:

  • The disabled employee is minimally qualified with few hopes of improvement?
  • There are better-qualified candidates who had bid for the open job?
  • Among the better-qualified candidates are members of other statutorily protected groups (e.g., racial minorities, women, foreign- born workers, or individuals over 40)?
  • Among the better-qualified protected employees there are other disabled employees who don’t need an accommodation to do the job? read more…

Faithfully expecting: religious accommodations and employer-mandated vaccination policies

October 14, 2012 0 COMMENTS

An “informal discussion letter” from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicates that employers should carefully weigh religious objections by pregnant employees, specifically in the context of employer-mandated vaccination policies.

Background

In February 2012, a healthcare provider wrote the EEOC requesting a formal interpretation of the application of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, to healthcare workers’ requests for exemption from employer-mandated vaccinations. The healthcare provider specifically asked whether hospitals must accommodate their employees’ religious objections to mandatory vaccinations and whether an accommodation must be considered for a pregnant worker who refuses to take a vaccine. The EEOC didn’t issue any formal guidelines, but it did release an informal advisory letter. We want to ensure you are aware of the agency’s position on the matter. read more…