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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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03 Nov 2017 EEOC Complaint Inquiries Now a Click Away With New Public Portal

  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on Nov. 1 its new online portal available for individuals to submit discrimination and retaliation inquiries. Previously, prospective complainants either called a toll-free number or contacted a field office.   Individuals can subsequently use the public portal to digitally sign and file a charge of discrimination the EEOC has prepared for them.   An individual can use the portal to upload documents, agree to mediation, receive messages and schedule appointments, and check on the status of…

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16 Oct 2017 The Government Seal on EEOC Anti-Harassment Training: Is It Worth It?

  Does putting the U.S. government seal on workplace training make it more or less appealing? The EEOC’s recent announcement that it is offering workplace training modules on Respect in the Workplace has colleagues on the employment and human resources circuit asking each other, “At its core, is this a really a good idea for us?”   After all, there appear to be some immediate advantages: Pre-packaged. The EEOC is offering turn-key, ready-to-deliver training for employees. Let’s face it, who has enough time to develop and…

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13 Oct 2017 Attention Illinois Employers: 3 Handbook Policies to Revisit Now

  If you haven’t reviewed your attendance, sick leave, or pregnancy-related policies in a while, the time is right to ensure you stay up to date and prevent potential pitfalls.   Parental leave and pregnancy accommodation policies may need updates   Recent lawsuits, such as the one that the EEOC filed against Estee Lauder, claim companies’ parental leave policies violate sex discrimination laws if they provide male employees with less bonding leave upon the birth of a child than female employees receive. This serves as…

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06 Oct 2017 R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the Workplace? The EEOC Becomes Trainer-in-Chief

  The EEOC announced this week that it is launching training programs to help employers foster respectful, inclusive work environments.   The EEOC Training Institute is offering to send trainers into your workplace and lead separate modules for supervisors and employees. Supervisor training titled “Leading for Respect” is a four-hour program; the one for all employees, “Respect in the Workplace,” is a three-hour program.   This week’s announcement culminates a long inquiry into workplace harassment. In January 2015, the EEOC formed the Select Task Force…

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22 Sep 2017 Teacher’s ADA, Age Discrimination Claim Given New Life by Sixth Circuit

  A school district’s decision to eliminate a teacher’s position while the teacher was out on Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) leave may have been pretext to disability discrimination, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.   While on approved FMLA leave, a high school economics teacher was notified by the school’s principal that the economics position would be one of several eliminated due to budget cuts. All teachers in the eliminated positions received notices that their contracts would be…

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31 Aug 2017 Lessons Learned: As Flu Shot Season Approaches, Inflexible Rules Can Cause Accommodation Headaches

  It’s the end of summer. Our children are returning to school, the evenings are turning a bit cool and hospitals are educating their workforces on mandatory flu vaccination programs.   Each year at about this time, we look to recent court decisions for guidance on how best to balance a hospital’s interest in protecting its patients (among other things) with a healthcare worker’s sincerely held religious belief that conflicts with the hospital’s requirement that its employees  get the flu vaccine.   Last summer, I…

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30 Aug 2017 OMB Immediately Stays Revised EEO-1 Form, Including Pay Data Collection

  In a move that affects every U.S. business with 100 or more employees (and federal contractors with 50 or more employees), the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has leveraged the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) to direct the EEOC to immediately stay the effectiveness of the EEO-1 form issued Sept. 29, 2016, that included new data requests for wages and hours worked.   For fiscal year 2017, businesses will use the previously approved EEO-1 form to comply with reporting obligations that track race/ethnicity…

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17 Aug 2017 Seventh Circuit Says EEOC May Press on With Enforcement Efforts After Right-to-Sue

  In a matter of first impression for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (which covers Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana), the Court considered whether the EEOC’s authority terminates upon its issuance of a “right to sue” letter or the dismissal of a subsequent lawsuit on the merits. The Court’s decision in EEOC v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., arose out of the EEOC’s efforts to enforce a subpoena in a matter in which a “right to sue” letter had been issued (after the…

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22 Jun 2017 Fourth Circuit Upholds ‘Mark of the Beast’ Jury Verdict

  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously upheld a West Virginia’s jury verdict of nearly $600,000 in favor of the EEOC on behalf of an employee who alleged the company failed to accommodate his religious belief. The employee believed that using the company’s biometric hand-scanning time clock would affix the “Mark of the Beast” as described in the book of Revelation in the Bible. By using the hand scanner, the employee believed he would be marked as a follower of the…

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08 Jun 2017 The Age Discrimination in Employment Act Turns 50

  Put 50 candles on the cake. In 1967, the U.S. Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) with the stated purpose “to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; (and) to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment.”   Now 50 years later, as baby boomers are moving through the workforce and reaching retirement, the ADEA retains its relevance even…

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