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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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12 Sep 2012 Unverified EEOC Filing Not Good Enough, Says Northern District of Indiana

As many employers know, before proceeding to court, Title VII discrimination lawsuits must first be filed with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) or a parallel state agency.  Aiming to protect employees by ensuring that a charging party is at least willing to make his or her claims subject to the penalties for perjury, federal statutory law further requires that the agency charge be filed “in writing under oath or affirmation[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(b). It is this less well known requirement that recently tripped…

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10 Sep 2012 Seventh Circuit Reverses Course on Reassignment Accommodation

In arguably its most significant decision under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in years, the Seventh Circuit, in EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., reversed its own previous holdings regarding the viability of competitive transfer policies for disabled employees. The case can be found here.  For over a decade, employers in the Seventh Circuit have been able to rely on EEOC v. Humiston-Keeling, 227 F.3d 1024 (7th Cir. 2000), to adopt perfectly valid policies allowing for disabled employees who can no longer perform the essential…

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05 Sep 2012 EEOC Releases Its Draft Strategic Enforcement Plan Discussing Key Priorities for Fiscal Years 2012-2016

As part of its broader Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a draft Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2012-2016, setting forth its primary priorities for the coming years, and seeks public commentary on same prior to voting on the SEP at the end of September 2012. The SEP, which can be found here, discusses the EEOC’s history, composition, and responsibilities, as well as the background events giving rise to the development of the SEP in…

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27 Aug 2012 EEOC Sues Burger King Franchisee Over Employee’s Religious Accommodation Request

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing a Burger King franchisee – Fries Restaurant Management, LLC – for religious discrimination, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The facts underlying the lawsuit are straightforward: Ashanti McShan, a member of the Pentecostal Church, adheres to an interpretation of scripture regarding the wearing of clothing that is befitting of one’s gender. McShan allegedly informed Burger King of her religious belief during her employment interview, and was told she could wear a…

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13 Aug 2012 Obama nominates Yang for EEOC Commissioner

According to a recent White House press release, President Obama will nominate Jenny R. Yang for EEOC Commissioner. This nomination follows the recent early resignation of Stuart J. Ishimaru, leaving a vacancy on the five-seat Commission. Ms. Yang is currently a partner at a law firm in Washington, D.C., where she has practiced in the Civil Rights and Employment Practice Group since 2003. If her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, she will serve as Commissioner until July 1, 2017 and she will be the fourth…

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03 Aug 2012 Split Among Federal Circuits Deepens Regarding Administrative Exhaustion of Post-Charge Retaliation Claims

Year after year, retaliation is at or near the top of the list of the most common charges filed with the EEOC.  After receiving a right to sue notice, many plaintiffs, however, add a retaliation claim to their federal court complaints based on alleged employer conduct occurring after the EEOC charges have been filed. Traditionally, these claims have been allowed to proceed – despite not having been raised in the EEOC charge – under the theory that such claims grow out of or are sufficiently…

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17 Jul 2012 EEOC Meeting on Strategic Enforcement Plan

In February 2012, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved a Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016. The first performance measure of the Plan requires the EEOC to approve a Strategic Enforcement Plan, which it currently is developing. The purpose of the Plan is to leverage agency resources to focus on high impact lawsuits that will obtain relief for large numbers of individuals.  The text of the Plan can be found here.  To that end, the EEOC will hold an open meeting on…

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06 Jun 2012 Are Your Summer Interns Covered By Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws?

Several months ago the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an informal discussion letter addressing whether interns (paid and unpaid) are covered by the anti-discrimination laws enforced by the agency (e.g. Title VII, GINA).  The Commission’s letter can be found here. With the summer months upon us, we thought it would be helpful to revisit the issue. The analysis for paid and unpaid interns will differ.  For unpaid interns, coverage likely will turn on whether the intern receives “significant remuneration” for his or her services (e.g. workers’ compensation benefits or access…

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