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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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18 Nov 2014 The EEOC Sues Yet Another Employer for Allegedly Violating the ADA With Its Inflexible Leave Policy

The EEOC’s position is clear. The ADA requires employers to incorporate flexibility into their leave of absence policies or face the consequences. In late September, we were reminded of this yet again when the EEOC sued a Chicago-area manufacturer for capping the amount of leave provided to employees, without considering whether a reasonable accommodation may exist for each employee. In this latest suit against Doumak, Inc., the EEOC alleged that an employer and its employees’ respective union had violated the ADA by placing a cap…

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31 Oct 2014 EEOC Part of Increasing Focus on LGBT Issues

We seem clearly to be in the midst of a shift towards greater employment protections for LGBT employees, evidenced both by discrimination legislation largely at a state and local level and less directly in the legal environment by developments such as greater acceptance of gay marriage including the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to consider lower court decisions invalidating state statutes prohibiting gay marriage.   EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum recently released this interesting summary of the EEOC’s activities and positions on LGBT issues. Highlights include:   Title…

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13 Oct 2014 Don’t Mess With Texas…Roadhouse

Being directly in the cross-hairs of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) can be a daunting experience for any employer. In response to what to what it believes to be overreaching litigation tactics by the EEOC, however, Texas Roadhouse is swinging back. According to Texas Roadhouse, the EEOC – on its own accord and without a single complaint from a job applicant or employee – initiated an investigation of the restaurant’s hiring practices of “front of the house positions,” such as hostesses. The Restaurant asserts…

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02 Oct 2014 There’s No Question – The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan Is In Full Bloom

  You’ll recall that the EEOC put out a Strategic Enforcement Plan to cover FY 2013-2016. This Plan offered a peek into what the Agency might tackle in the coming years. One of the Agency’s six national priorities was to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, which, in the Agency’s words included “issues associated with significant events, demographic changes, developing theories, new legislation, judicial decisions and administrative interpretations.” Well, based on the Agency’s actions over the past week or so, no one…

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30 Sep 2014 EEOC SUES TWO EMPLOYERS FOR TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION

  In June, we wrote about a landmark decision where the EEOC found that discrimination against transgender individuals constitutes sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. Because it has been a while, here is a recap.   The administrative decision stems from a case where Mia Macy, a transgender individual, was denied a job as a ballistics technician by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The facts are straightforward:  Macy previously was a police detective in Phoenix, Arizona. In December 2010, she decided…

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15 Aug 2014 When “I Love You” May Be Too Much

  Normally, the words “I love you” make a person feel good, happy, confident and host of other emotions. However, in the employment context, saying these three little words can cause a host of potential issues for both employers and employees. Typically, as employment attorneys, we see these words leading to claims of sexual harassment. But, now it appears saying “I love you” (among other things) also can create a claim of religious discrimination.   In June of this year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity…

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14 Aug 2014 Could Corporate Wellness Programs Land A Business in Hot Water?

The EEOC recently filed suit against an employer after it established a self-improvement program based on the “Onionhead” belief system.   The Onionhead belief system is related to the Harnessing Happiness Foundation. The Harnessing Happiness Foundation is a “501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to emotional knowledge and intelligence, conflict resolution and life handling skills for all ages.” The Foundation’s website offers the following description of the belief system: “Onionhead is part of Harnessing Happiness. We used an onion as a medium to express peeling our feelings,…

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11 Aug 2014 OFCCP PROPOSES RULE TO COLLECT COMPENSATION DATA FROM FEDERAL CONTRACTORS

  On August 6, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring certain federal contractors to submit an annual Equal Pay Report on employee compensation. Under the proposed rule, Companies that file EEO1 reports, have more than one hundred employees and hold federal contracts or subcontracts worth more than fifty thousand dollars would need to submit an Equal Pay Report each year to the OFCCP. The Equal Pay Report would “provide summary data…

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15 Jul 2014 New EEOC Guidance – Pregnant Employees May Now Be Entitled To Accommodations

  On July 14, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its first new comprehensive enforcement guidance regarding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act since 1983, significantly expanding protection for pregnant employees. The EEOC’s guidance goes so far as to state that pregnant employees may be entitled to accommodations even if they do not have pregnancy-related disabilities.   The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to treat pregnant employees in the same manner as other workers who are not pregnant, but are similar in their ability or inability to…

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08 Jul 2014 Missouri Law Paves Way for Increase in Unpaid Volunteers on Public Works Projects

  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon recently executed H.B. 1594, which allows for workers on public works projects to agree in writing to volunteer their services and avoid being classified as “employed” for purposes of such work on the projects.  In doing so, the volunteer will not be entitled to the prevailing wage rate for any work performed. H.B. 1594 expressly defines a “workman who agrees in writing to volunteer his or her labor without pay” as someone who “volunteers his or her labor without any promise…

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