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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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15 Feb 2017 Trump-Appointed EEOC Acting Chair Says Continuity in the Near Term

For the first time since her appointment by President Trump as acting chair of the EEOC, Victoria Lipnic last week provided a glimpse into the commission’s future. Her central message is not to expect to see any major changes in the near future. Acting Chair Lipnic occupies only one of a total of five commission seats at the EEOC. However, there are only four sitting commissioners, as one of the seats is currently vacant. Potential major policy shifts likely will have to wait for other…

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13 Feb 2017 Blog Update: North Carolina Business that Fired Pregnant Employee Agrees to Three-Year Consent Decree with EEOC

  If there’s anything worse than government regulation, perhaps it’s the government breathing down your neck for the next three years. That is what a North Carolina furniture company is facing after it was sued for pregnancy discrimination last summer by the EEOC.   You might remember our blog post last summer about the EEOC’s lawsuit against RTG Furniture Corp. of Georgia d/b/a Rooms to Go (RTG) that fired a pregnant employee who was working with potentially dangerous chemicals. The EEOC had accused RTG of…

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31 Jan 2017 EEOC’s Latest Guidance On Mental Health Accommodations Adds Little

  Employee mental health conditions often present some of the more challenging disability accommodation situations.  While no less real and potentially debilitating, we can’t see them, and some of them may be less predictable.  (Include fibromyalgia as another disability in this category.)  Mental health issues may also be stigmatized in ways that other health issues are not, presenting challenges in managing the conduct of employees other than the employee seeking accommodation.  Thus, even the most well-meaning and enlightened supervisors and colleagues may confront challenging scheduling…

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30 Jan 2017 Trump Administration Quick Hitters: Acting EEOC Chair Named, Chief of Staff Requests Regulation Freeze, and DOJ Requests Delay in Fifth Circuit Appeal of OT Rule

  It’s only been a week, but the Trump administration has already been busy making its presence felt in the world of labor and employment.   New EEOC Acting Chief   On Wednesday, President Trump appointed current EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic, a Republican, as the Acting Chair of the Commission.  Originally appointed to the Commission by former President Barack Obama in 2010, her term is set to expire in 2020. Lipnic had previously served in a high-level position in the Department of Labor during the…

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27 Dec 2016 EEOC and Hospital Settle Flu Vaccine Religious Accommodation Lawsuit

  Six hospital employees who refused influenza vaccines will be offered re-employment and will receive payments totaling $300,000 to resolve the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) religious accommodation lawsuit against their former employer.   The EEOC and Saint Vincent Health Center in Pennsylvania entered into a consent decree, filed Dec. 23, that includes the hospital’s agreement to terms requiring careful consideration of requests for accommodations based on sincerely held religious beliefs, practices and observances with respect to mandatory influenza vaccination programs. As part of…

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20 Dec 2016 EEOC Offers Compliance Tips for Small Businesses

  The EEOC has expanded its online resources aimed at small-business owners to assist with compliance with equal opportunity laws, highlighting its small business liaisons who can offer training and answer questions about the laws the EEOC enforces. But employers should keep in mind that the EEOC’s tips are not tailored to specific facts and circumstances.   The small business section of the EEOC’s website includes helpful information on basic equal employment opportunity issues, such as recordkeeping and notice posting, non-discrimination in hiring, and prevention…

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23 Nov 2016 EEOC Issues New Guidelines on National Origin Discrimination

  Earlier this week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidelines on national origin discrimination. These extensive guidelines, which update those issued in 2002, define what constitutes national origin discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and provide more than 30 examples as well as “promising practices” that can help employers avoid such discrimination. Title VII is wide-reaching, applying to employers with 15 or more full- or part-time employees.   The new guidelines offer the following definition of national origin discrimination:…

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30 Sep 2016 Should Appeals Courts Give Deference to Lower Courts in EEOC in Subpoena Enforcement Actions? U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Take on the Issue

  As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to open its fall term, the Court has agreed to consider the appropriate standard for court review of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) subpoenas that the agency issues during its investigations of discrimination charges.   In EEOC v. McLane Co., Inc., the issue is whether the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals should have given deference to a lower court’s decisions regarding enforcement of an EEOC investigatory subpoena or whether appellate courts should take a completely new look…

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29 Sep 2016 EEOC Continues Fight Against Mandatory Flu Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers

  Just as another flu season is upon us, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is ramping up its battle against mandatory healthcare workers influenza vaccination programs by filing at least its third lawsuit this year on the subject of accommodations for individuals who profess religious objections to being vaccinated.   In EEOC v. St. Vincent Health Center, the EEOC is alleging that a Pennsylvania healthcare organization failed to accommodate the religious beliefs of six healthcare workers who sought exemptions from mandatory flu shots…

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08 Sep 2016 EEOC Issues Anti-Retaliation Guidance First Guidance in Nearly Two Decades Puts Employers on Notice of EEOC’s Workplace Retaliation View

  On Aug. 29, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) issued its much awaited Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues – its first enforcement guidance on workplace retaliation in more than 18 years. In addition to retaliation, this guidance also addresses the “interference” provision under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits threats, coercion or other actions that inhibit the exercise of ADA rights.   This guidance was highly anticipated as “retaliation is asserted in nearly 45 percent of all charges [received]…

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