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Understanding Your Equal Employment Opportunity Obligations

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 3/18/2015
EEOC-Compliance

The most recent enforcement and litigation data released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirm that employment-related liabilities remain one of the most significant risks facing employers. Controlling these risks requires an understanding of what employers can and cannot do under the various equal employment opportunity laws enforced by the EEOC, including:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII)
  • the Pregnancy Discrimination Act
  • the Equal Pay Act (EPA)
  • the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

These laws generally make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of a person’s protected characteristic, such as an employee’s or applicant’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

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EEOC Updates Pregnancy Discrimination Act Enforcement Guidance

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 8/27/2014
pregnant woman's stomach

In 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was added to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to prohibit employment discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions. In July 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued enforcement guidance regarding pregnancy in the workplace. It has been over 30 years since the EEOC last issued any PDA guidance.

The EEOC’s guidance identifies two fundamental requirements of the PDA:

  • Covered employers, which are generally employers with 15 or more employees, may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
  • Women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions must be treated the same as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.

The PDA, which covers all aspects of employment, including firing, hiring, promotions and fringe benefits (leave, health insurance, etc.), prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s:

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When Does Disability Leave Become an Unreasonable Accommodation?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 7/9/2014
court room

When has an employer done enough to avoid liability for disability discrimination? Though hard and fast rules are rare in employment discrimination cases, particularly those involving disabilities, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that employers are almost never required to provide more than 6 months leave to an employee with a disability.

The quality versus cost argument is nothing new especially when it comes to insurance. Consumers who pay less tend to get less, whether in the form of coverages, limits or financial security. And, when people choose cost over quality, it usually means they are uninformed about what they really need.

In Hwang v. Kansas State University, an assistant professor working under a one year employment contract was diagnosed with cancer. KSU gave Ms. Hwang a six-month paid leave of absence so she could get treatment. On the advice of her doctor, Ms. Hwang requested additional time off. According to Ms. Hwang, KSU refused her request and effectively terminated her employment.

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ADA Court Ruling Shocks Employers - Reassignment may be a Reasonable Accommodation

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 10/17/2012

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued United Airlines since disabled employees who could no longer do their jobs had to compete for vacant positions instead of being automatically reassigned. According to the EEOC, this practice violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

When the EEOC made a similar argument to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2000, the Court held that the ADA does not require an employer to reassign a disabled employee to a job for which there is a better applicant—provided it is the employer's consistent and honest policy to hire the best applicant for the particular job in question.

Undeterred, the EEOC again asked the Court to answer the same question. This time around, the EEOC got a different answer. More...

At Last! The EEOC Publishes Final ADA Amendments Act Regulations

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 4/14/2011

Enacted on September 25, 2008, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) directed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to amend its regulations to reflect the changes made to the Americans with Disabilities Act by the ADAAA. Though the ADAAA became effective on January 1, 2009, the final regulations were not published by the EEOC until March 25, 2011. They will not become effective until May 24, 2011.

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Categories: 2011, Human Resources

Reasonable Accommodation for Probationary Employees?

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 10/13/2010

Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require me to provide a reasonable accommodation for a probationary employee who qualifies as an individual with a disability? More...

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The ADA Amendments Act: How Courts Are Interpreting the Amended Law

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 9/19/2010

The purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is to generate and protect employment opportunities for individuals living with a disability. More...

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Categories: 2010

The Importance of Written Job Descriptions Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 11/16/2009

For the most part, the only time any real thought and effort goes into drafting a job description is when a job vacancy needs to be filled. More...

Written Job Descriptions under the ADAAA

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 1/14/2009

Does the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which went into effect on January 1, 2009, diminish the importance of having detailed, well-written job descriptions for the purpose of helping employers defend against claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? More...

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Categories: 2009

Driving a Major Life Activity Under the ADA?

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 11/20/2008

One of my employees was recently diagnosed with a form of epilepsy that makes it unsafe for him to drive his delivery truck. Does this employee’s inability to drive due to his epilepsy entitle him to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act? More...

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Categories: 2008

ADA - Unreasonable Accommodation

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 11/13/2008

One of my employees has asked that an accommodation be made for the employee's legally recognized disability. More...

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Categories: 2008

Importance of Employee Performance Appraisals

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 9/18/2008

Some of my mid-level supervisors have a habit of hastily and inattentively preparing performance appraisals for employees they supervise. Might their carelessness eventually prove harmful if an employee terminated for cause files a discrimination lawsuit against my company? More...

Reasonable Accommodation for Probationary Employees?

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 6/27/2008

Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require me to provide a reasonable accommodation for a probationary employee who qualifies as an individual with a disability? More...

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Categories: 2008

Association Discrimination under the ADA

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 6/16/2008

One of my employees has requested a modified work schedule to care for his wife, who was rendered paraplegic by an automobile accident. Am I required to provide such an accommodation under the "association discrimination" provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act?  More...

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Categories: 2008

Diabetes Under the ADA

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 5/30/2008

One of my employees has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. Does this employee automatically become entitled to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act as a result? More...

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Categories: 2008

Evidence of Discrimination

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 5/22/2008

When terminating an employee, I try to prevent a negative or humiliating confrontation by giving a neutral reason for the termination rather than stating outright that the actual cause is the employee's poor performance. More...

ADA Training in the Workplace

by David Khan on 12/31/2003

In 1990, Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This federal legislation prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and all supervisors and managers responsible for hiring, firing, and accommodating employees should be trained in ADA compliance. More...

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Categories: 2004

The Human Equation's newsletters and publications are intended as an information source for the clients and friends of the firm. Their content should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon the information in these publications without professional guidance. Please note that newsletters and publications that are archived by The Human Equation are not updated after initial publication and may not contain the most current information available.

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