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How Can Employers Avoid the EEOC in 2017?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 2/14/2017
EEOC-equal-employment-diverse-workforce

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing a number of federal equal employment opportunity laws. Every year, the EEOC releases information about its enforcement and litigation efforts during the previous fiscal year. If 2016 is any indication, employers must be vigilant to avoid hearing from the EEOC in 2017.

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Are You Ready for the New Form I-9?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 12/29/2016
form-I-9-I9-immigration-EEOC-US-citizenship

Employers must use Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of each individual hired in the United States. Though the last version of Form I-9 expired in March 2016, employers were instructed to keep using the expired form until they received further notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. On November 14, 2016, employers received their further notice when USCIS published a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

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Will You Be Hearing from the EEOC in 2016

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 1/13/2016
people_around_the_table_at_work

Should employers be concerned that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) achieved record enforcement results in 2015? Yes! Enforcement of federal equal employment opportunity laws is essentially a zero-sum game. If the EEOC is winning, employers must be losing, and according to the EEOC’s 2015 Performance Report, employers have been losing a lot.

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Categories: Human Resources, Risk Management

EEOC Releases 2014 Enforcement and Litigation Data

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 3/18/2015
EEOC2014FYData

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing various federal equal employment opportunity laws. Every year the EEOC releases information about its enforcement and litigation efforts during the previous fiscal year (FY), which runs from October 1st to September 30th. This data can be used to get a better understanding of potential employment-related liability exposures that continue to pose a significant risk to most employers.

In FY 2014, the EEOC received a total of 88,778 charges of workplace discrimination, which is lower than recent fiscal years. There were 93,727 charges filed in FY 2013 and 99,412 charges filed in FY 2012. According to the EEOC, this decrease is due in part to the government shutdown during the first quarter of FY 2014.

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Categories: 2015, Human Resources

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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Is There a Bully in Your Workplace?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 4/23/2014
workplace bully

Chances are there is a bully in your workplace, and that’s bad for business. The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defines bullying as repeated mistreatment involving physically or verbally abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating or humiliating, or that interferes with or prevents work from getting done. According to the WBI’s 2014 Workplace Bullying Survey:

  • 27% are or have been victims of workplace bullying
  • 21% have witnessed workplace bullying
  • 23% are aware of workplace bullying
  • 65 million workers are affected by workplace bullying

Though the frequency of workplace bullying may come as a surprise to some, the consequences should not. Workplace bullying typically increases employee turnover, decreases productivity, reduces job satisfaction, undermines morale, increases workers’ compensation costs and increases employment-related litigation costs.

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Religious Garb and Grooming Accommodations under Title VII

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 3/12/2014
woman putting on sari

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charges of religious discrimination brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act are steadily increasing. These charges often involve religious dress and grooming practices, such as:

  • wearing religious clothing or articles, such as a Muslim hijab (headscarf), a Sikh turban or a Christian cross
  • observing a religious prohibition against wearing certain garments, such as a Muslim, Pentecostal Christian, or Orthodox Jewish woman's practice of not wearing pants or short skirts
  • adhering to shaving or hair length observances, such as a uncut hair and beard (Sikh), dreadlocks (Rastafarian) or peyes/side locks (Jewish)

    Title VII, which protects all aspects of religious observance, practice and belief, defines religion very broadly. It protects not only traditional, organized religions, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or may seem illogical or unreasonable to others.

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Grading the EEOC in 2013

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 1/29/2014
employee and employer

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is on a mission. According to its Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012 through 2016, the EEOC is focused on:

  • combating employment discrimination with administrative (investigation, mediation, conciliation) and litigation enforcement mechanisms
  • preventing employment discrimination with education and outreach activities
  • delivering excellent and consistent services with effective systems.

The EEOC’s enforcement objectives and activities provide valuable insight into what employers should pay special attention to when dealing with equal employment opportunity matters. According to its Fiscal Year 2013 Performance and Accountability Report, the EEOC:

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Who is a Supervisor under Title VII? Why does it Matter?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 7/17/2013
supervisor and employee

Who is considered a supervisor under Title VII? Since our last article discussing Vance v. Ball State University, the U.S. Supreme Court has given us the answer. According to the Court, a supervisor is a person

empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim; to effect a significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or a decision causing a significant change in benefits.

Vance involved allegations of racial harassment and discrimination in violation of Title VII. Though the parties disputed the precise nature and scope of the harasser’s duties, it was clear that the harasser did not have the power to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer or discipline the plaintiff. Given the harasser’s inability to take a tangible employment action against the plaintiff, the Court held that the harasser does not qualify as a supervisor under Title VII. More...

EEOC Focusing on Employers Using Criminal Background Checks

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 6/18/2013
background check

In a previous article we discussed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) position on the use of arrest and conviction records in the employment context. According to the EEOC, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) prohibits the use of arrest and conviction records in a manner that discriminates on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. The EEOC recently reaffirmed its position by filing two lawsuits involving the use of criminal background records.

BMW Manufacturing Co.

The EEOC claims that BMW’s criminal conviction policy, which disproportionately screened out African Americans, is not job related and consistent with business necessity. The lawsuit alleges that BMW’s policy is a blanket exclusion that does not provide for an individualized assessment of the nature and gravity of the crimes, the ages of the convictions, or the nature of the workers’ respective positions. More...

Employers May See More Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 11/20/2012

An employer’s liability for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act depends on whether the harasser is a supervisor. If the alleged harasser is the victim’s co-employee, the employer may have various defenses to liability. However, if the harasser is a supervisor, Title VII’s strict liability standard may be triggered and the employer may be left defenseless.

So, who is considered a supervisor under Title VII?

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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...

Title VII Liability for Considering Criminal Histories in Employment Decisions?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 5/21/2012

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued its Enforcement Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII). A survey cited by the EEOC found that 92% of responding employers subjected all or some of their job candidates to criminal background checks. More...

Employers Take Note: EEOC Reports Record Number of Complaints, Revenue Generated, and Cases Resolved in 2011

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 12/12/2011

According to its annual Performance and Accountability Report, 2011 proved to be a record year… for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC’s fiscal year, which ended on September 30th, culminated with a record 99,947 charges of discrimination. This is the highest number of charges in the EEOC’s 46-year history. The $364.6 million in monetary benefits for victims of workplace discrimination, including $170 million from the private sector, also marks a record year for the EEOC.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

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act: Answers to Your GINA Questions

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 3/7/2011
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which became effective November 21, 2009, prohibits the use of genetic information in employment, restricts covered entities from requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information. Under GINA, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is required to issue implementation regulations within one year of the effective date. On November 9, 2010, the EEOC issued its final regulations, which became effective on January 10, 2011.More...
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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