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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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05 Apr 2018 Accommodate Much? Restrictive Seventh Circuit Leave Ruling Lives On

  Letter of the Law: A Revival!  No employment lawyer worth her salt would choose anything other than “Accommodation” for the Letter A.  And so it begins….   HR professionals know all too well that the ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.   While accommodations often include overcoming physical obstacles such as inaccessible workplace areas and unwieldy equipment, they more commonly pertain to workplace rules. For example, employers are asked to change when or where work is performed, leave…

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12 Mar 2018 Sixth Circuit Holds Transgender Status Protected Under Title VII

  On March 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit weighed in on the continuing debate surrounding the scope of Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination. In a landmark decision, the court ruled that Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status and further held that bare compliance with Title VII presents no substantial burden upon an employer’s sincerely held religious beliefs, precluding a defense under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”).   In EEOC v. R.G. &…

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26 Feb 2018 Beginning of a New Trend? Illustration of EEOC Stats Confirms Plummeting Number of Charges

  A few weeks ago, our team wrote about the latest charge filing statistics published by the EEOC.  The agency posts records of charges going back to 1997 – 20 years of data.  Since a picture speaks a thousand words, here is the latest information relative to the total number of charges filed with the agency since 1997:     Stepping back and putting the new numbers into their relative place, a few things are made clear.  The overall rise and fall of charges over…

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30 Jan 2018 What’s the EEOC Up To These Days?

  Are you curious as to what the EEOC has been up to in the past year? The wait is over — in its 2017 Enforcement and Litigation Data released last week, the EEOC identified the volume and types of workplace discrimination charges keeping its staff busy during FY2017 (ending in September 2017). While FY2017 saw 84,254 charges coming through the EEOC’s doors, this figure is the lowest the EEOC has seen in 10 years, and reflects a nearly 8 percent drop in charges filed…

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29 Dec 2017 Asking: “How much do you currently make?” in 2018?

  Not in California.  California law (A.B. 168) is the latest in a batch of state and local laws prohibiting employers from asking job candidates how much they currently or have made.  It takes effect January 1.  Candidates can voluntarily disclose their salary history and in that case the employer can use that information in setting initial compensation.  Employers are also required to provide job candidates with a pay scale for the positon upon request.   New York City’s pay history inquiry ban went into…

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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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