Three Key EEO Cases to Watch on the SCOTUS Docket This Term

The Supreme Court is set to weigh in on several key questions for employers this term related to employee discrimination.  When does an employer have to accommodate a pregnant employee?  How about a job applicant who wears a head scarf in an interview but does not make it clear she is doing so for religious reasons and needs an accommodation?  Can a court decide whether the EEOC has done enough to resolve your case?  Here are three key EEO cases to keep your eye on in the coming months. Read More

EEOC Won’t Get its Prescription Filled at CVS: Case Challenging its Releases Dismissed on Summary Judgment

On October 7th, a federal district judge granted summary judgment against the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in its lawsuit against CVS. The EEOC had challenged the nation’s largest integrated provider of prescriptions and health-related services for its employee separation agreement. The EEOC’s Chicago office had filed the suit in February, alleging the company’s separation agreement violated its employees’ Title VII rights to communicate with the EEOC and file discrimination charges. Read More

An Attorney is an Attorney is an Attorney? Not So Fast Says Second Circuit, Shutting Down EEOC Equal Pay Act Claim

The EEOC suffered another fatal blow to its systemic discrimination initiative on Monday when the Second Circuit held that the Commission’s Equal Pay Act (EPA) complaint against the New York Port Authority was too barebones to survive.

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At Long Last, OFCCP Announces OMB Approval of a New Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing

More than three years after the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) first announced its intent to issue a new Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing, the Agency finally has obtained approval to do so from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  The OFCCP’s Scheduling Letter provides a contractor with notice of its selection for a compliance evaluation (audit), and the Itemized Listing constitutes OFCCP’s standard initial request for submission of the contractor’s Affirmative Action Plan and supporting personnel activity and compensation data.  OFCCP announced the OMB approval in a September 30, 2014 Notice, and published the final versions of the Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing on October 1, 2014.

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A Dressing Down – Dress Codes in the Modern Workplace?

According to research cited by the British Association of Dermatologists, one in five Britons now has a tattoo.  Amongst US 30 somethings, the estimate rises to about two in five, with facial piercings being almost as common in both countries.  As a result, this is becoming an issue that more and more employers have to grapple with.

Employers may wish to promote a certain image through their employees which they believe reflects the ethos of their organization and tattoos and piercings may well not fit with that image.  So how should this be handled and are there any pitfalls of imposing rules of this nature on employees?

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Let’s Talk About Sex: U.S. Department of Labor Targets Transgender & Gender Identity Discrimination

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a directive to “clarify that existing agency guidance on discrimination on the basis of sex . . . includes discrimination on the bases of gender identity and transgender status.”  This directive follows President Obama’s Executive Order 13672, issued on July 21, 2014, amending existing orders to specifically prohibit federal contractors from discriminating based on gender identity.

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Employers Should Act Now to Avoid Potential Data Minefields: The OFCCP’s New Proposed Rules for Collecting Compensation Data from Federal Contractors

On August 8, 2014, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (“OFCCP”) proposed new annual reporting requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors.  The proposal requires additional pay information and will become effective in early 2015, unless the OFCCP decides to amend them.

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Obama Executive Order Places New Burdens and Restrictions on Federal Contractors

In an unwelcome, mid-summer surprise for the business community, President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order on Thursday July 31, 2014 requiring federal contractors to report violations of federal and state labor and employment laws and prohibiting certain contractors from requiring that employees arbitrate disputes alleging violations of Title VII or claims for sexual assault or harassment.  The Executive Order also requires federal contractors to provide relevant information about hours worked and overtime on employee paychecks.

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Perhaps Overdue, Pregnancy Discrimination Update Issued by the EEOC

Following up on our recent post regarding pregnancy discrimination developments, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued the Enforcement Guidance: Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues on July 14, 2014.  This is the first comprehensive update of the EEOC’s guidance on discrimination against pregnant workers in thirty years, since its 1983 Compliance Manual chapter.  One major development in the new Enforcement Guidance is that pregnancy discrimination claims are not limited to the current pregnancy under the PDA – they can be based on “past pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”  Thus, the EEOC will more likely find a causal connection between a past pregnancy and the challenged employment action if there is close timing between the two, however a longer time gap between the pregnancy and the challenged action will not foreclose a finding of pregnancy discrimination.

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The German Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) rejects doubtful discrimination complaints

Even if a potential Employer does not know that an applicant is unsuitable for the offered job from an objective point of view, compensation claims based on discrimination would not be granted.

The first comprehensive anti-discrimination law, regulated in the General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – “AGG”), was introduced in Germany in 2006. In the early years of this Act, many so called “AGG-Hoppers” have abused this situation by applying for discriminatory job offers to assert a compensation claim against inexperienced employers as a second step.

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