New guidance shifts federal policy on religious liberty in employment

October 10, 2017 0 COMMENTS

New guidance from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on religious liberty in employment “signals a shift in federal employment law and policy,” according to an attorney who focuses on employment law.

Sessions issued the new guidance to all administrative agencies and executive departments on October 6. It identifies 20 principles that administrative agencies and executive departments are to use “to ensure the religious freedoms of Americans are lawfully protected,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

J. Steven Massoni, a contributor to Kansas Employment Law Letter and attorney with Foulston Siefkin LLP in Wichita, Kansas, says the new guidance, which purports to expand the religious exemption in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, represents a change at the federal level. However, he says “it remains to be seen” what effect the DOJ’s guidance may have on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) position in cases involving religious liberty in employment. The EEOC interprets and enforces Title VII, which, among other things, prohibits discrimination based on religion.

read more…

Sessions memo changes DOJ position on transgender discrimination

October 06, 2017 0 COMMENTS

Transgender snipby Tammy Binford

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement changing his department’s position on transgender employment discrimination marks a change in the legal landscape, but it doesn’t alter employer obligations under various state and local laws or the position taken by other federal agencies.

read more…

Who is a “supervisor”? Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling sides with employers

June 24, 2013 0 COMMENTS

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today held that an employee is considered a supervisor under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 only if the employer gave him or her the authority to take tangible employment actions (such as hiring, demoting, or disciplining) against the complaining employee.

The employee in the case, Maetta Vance, claimed she was harassed on the basis of race by a worker whom she viewed as a supervisor. She claimed the alleged harasser had the authority to direct her daily activities, but there was no evidence of any authority to fire, discipline, or take other tangible job actions. The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that even if the worker directed Vance’s day-to-day activities, those responsibilities weren’t enough to make her a supervisor for purposes of a harassment claim under Title VII.

read more…

EEOC plan reveals enforcement priorities

September 07, 2012 1 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a draft of its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) that spells out priorities such as stepped-up efforts against hiring discrimination and harassment, new protections for various vulnerable workers, preserving access to the legal system, and dealing with emerging issues like changes brought by the ADA Amendments Act.

Recruitment and hiring
The SEP says the EEOC will target class-based intentional discrimination as well as practices that seem neutral but adversely affect particular groups. The plan specifically mentions racial and ethnic minorities, older workers, women, and people with disabilities.

read more…

Supreme Court Ruling Expands Statute of Limitations for Title VII Claims

May 26, 2010 0 COMMENTS

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 changed the scope of claims for pay discrimination, stating that each additional paycheck issued under a discriminatory pay decision constitutes a new act of discrimination, which then resets the clock on the limited time during which employees may file suit. In a unanimous decision issued Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court has applied a similar theory to discrimination claims filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In Lewis v. City of Chicago, a group of black firefighters filed race discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that the way the city used a written application test unfairly eliminated a significant number of black applicants. The city argued that the charges were filed outside the statute of limitations because they were filed more than 300 days after the initial announcement of the examination results.

read more…

Supreme Court Hands Down Retaliation Decision

June 30, 2006 0 COMMENTS

by Peter Panken

On June 22, the U.S. Supreme Court decided an employment retaliation case in which it held that any action by an employer against an employee, applicant, or even a former employee constitutes unlawful retaliation if the action would deter a reasonable employee from filing a discrimination charge against an employer.

Retaliation cases now make up 30 percent of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s docket and will increase substantially as a result of this decision. Moreover, employees now will want to get their cases before juries because they hope jurors will be so mad at the employer that they’ll award compensatory and punitive damages.

read more…