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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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25 Aug 2016 Ray of Hope Peeks Through a Mound of Proposed EEOC Data Requirements: Senators Fight to Nix EEOC Plan

  The way things are going at the EEOC, the next time it requires additional information on the annual EEO-1 report, it will want to know what kind of underwear each employee wears broken down by race, sex and national origin. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but many employers probably wouldn’t be surprised.   In January, the EEOC proposed a rule requiring larger employers to report pay and hours worked data, in addition to standard demographic data. The new information is intended to give government agencies…

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19 Aug 2016 More Flu Vaccine News: EEOC Once Again Alleges Hospital’s Mandatory Flu Vaccine Policy Violates Title VII

  For years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been silent over whether a hospital’s mandatory flu vaccine program violates Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination. The courts also generally have been silent (or have not reached decision) on the issue, with the notable exception of Robinson v. Children’s Hospital Boston, issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts earlier this year, which found that the hospital’s mandatory flu vaccine program did not violate Title VII, which was reported here.  …

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12 Aug 2016 Seventh Circuit Addresses EEOC’s Stance that Sexual Orientation is Protected by Title VII

  In a recent opinion, the Seventh Circuit held that a plaintiff who claimed she was discriminated against on the basis of her sexual orientation had failed to state a claim under Title VII, reaffirming the Seventh Circuit’s stance that sexual orientation is not a protected classification. However, Judge Rovner’s opinion presents a more nuanced opinion than the Court has taken on the issue in the past, acknowledging logical difficulties in the state of the law.   The plaintiff was a former community college employee…

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04 Aug 2016 Five Lessons from Fox News on Sexual Harassment

  The recent accusations of sexual harassment against Roger Ailes at Fox News, and the response of a high-profile candidate for public office about how women should respond to sexual harassment have crystallized into an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others.   Since the mid-1980s, we’ve all read about sexual harassment and been trained on it. For the last 25 years, I’ve studied it, investigated it, seen it, taught about it, warned about it, developed policies to guard against it, and defended companies…

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20 Jul 2016 Classic Conundrum: Protecting Employees from Themselves

Last week, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against a furniture company in North Carolina for firing a pregnant employee, allegedly because her job involved using potentially dangerous chemicals.   According to the EEOC’s regional attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina, “pregnant women have the right to make their own decisions about working while pregnant, including the risks they are willing to assume. Companies must not impose paternalistic notions on pregnant women, as doing so can result in unlawful discrimination.”   In the case filed against RTG…

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11 Jul 2016 More Flu Vaccine News – EEOC Alleges Hospital’s Mandatory Flu Vaccine Policy Violates Title VII

  As summer temperatures soar, one might think the last thing to worry about is the upcoming flu season. And while that may be true in most respects, the flu is on the minds of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A lawsuit filed by the EEOC sheds light on the issue for healthcare employers who impose mandatory flu vaccine requirements on employees as a condition of continued employment.   The EEOC alleges in EEOC v. Mission Hospital, Inc. – a lawsuit that includes class…

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