Archives: Sex Discrimination

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Managing Political Speech In The Workplace

In the current political environment, employers and employees alike may be wondering – what, if any, political conversation in the workplace is acceptable or appropriate?  Tones of “freedom of speech,” “freedom of association,” on one hand, intersect with tenors of “workplace harassment” or simple annoyance, on the other.  Although like the political debates themselves, the … Continue Reading

One Racial Slur May Be Sufficient To Create a Hostile Work Environment, Says Second Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held last week that a single racial slur might provide sufficient basis for a hostile work environment claim.  In the case, Daniel v. T&M Protection Resources, LLC,  Plaintiff Daniel, a black, gay man from the Caribbean, alleged he was harassed at work on the basis … Continue Reading

U.S. Appellate Court Declares That Title VII Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation

On April 4, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit became the first federal appellate court to hold that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a prohibited form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).  And it did so in no … Continue Reading

If there’s something weird and it don’t look good, who you gonna call? Mythbusters!

Courtesy of Acas, here are the top ten myths to be “busted” by the Government’s promised campaign to make the Gender Pay Gap Regulations look less over-engineered than they really are together with some italicised comments of our own. MYTH: We did an equal pay audit a while ago so we’re fine FACT: Equal Pay deals … Continue Reading

Extended Comment Period Gives Employers More Time to Weigh In On EEOC’s Proposed Guidelines On Unlawful Harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided additional time for public comment on its recently-issued proposed guidelines on unlawful harassment.  The 75-page draft, which issued on January 9, 2017, expands upon existing interpretations of many aspects of workplace harassment, including prohibited bases for harassment, conduct constituting illegal harassment, the role of social media, … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Judge Sides With EEOC, Holds That Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based Upon Sexual Orientation

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees by prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and sex.  This much is clear.  What is not clear is whether the prohibition on sex-based discrimination extends to sexual orientation-based discrimination?  The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) – the government … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Long-Awaited Retaliation Guidance

On August 29, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final “Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues,” which replaced the Agency’s nearly-20-year-old 1998 Compliance Manual, Section 8: Retaliation.  As the title clearly implies, the guidance primarily sets forth the Agency’s evolving interpretations of the law of retaliation.  It also focuses on the … Continue Reading

New TUC report on sexual harassment in the workplace lacks vital statistics

It is sadly impossible to write anything critical about a report on sexual harassment in the workplace without coming over like some frightful old golf club misogynist. To be clear, therefore, none of what follows seeks to belittle the distress of those genuinely harassed at work, but balance nonetheless dictates a counter-point to the TUC’s … Continue Reading

“Ladies’ Night” promotions in Hong Kong – good business or unlawful discrimination?

The hospitality industry is no stranger to the rules prohibiting discrimination in accommodations. The average restaurant or hotel operator is fully aware that he cannot deny goods, facilities or services to a customer on the basis of gender. What appears to be less well known is that, at least in Hong Kong, the same business … Continue Reading

EEOC Warns US Employers That State Law Cannot Be Used to Justify Transgender Discrimination

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) reminded employers this week in no uncertain terms that they are required to provide transgender workers with access to bathrooms that corresponds with their gender identity.  A failure to do so – the EEOC warned – runs the risk of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights … Continue Reading

EEOC Files First – and Second – Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuits

The EEOC has been pursuing equal protection based on sexual orientation for years, and recent moves by the agency prove their position is more than just talk. In December 2012, the EEOC approved a Strategic Enforcement Plan identifying “coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII’s sex discrimination provisions” as an agency … Continue Reading

Equal Pay Momentum – New Jersey Senate Labor Committee Approves Proposed Equal Pay Legislation

A week ago, President Barack Obama announced further efforts by the White House and EEOC to combat gender pay equality issues. The momentum from last week’s announcement carried its way up the coast from the District of Columbia to the state legislature of New Jersey. Yesterday, New Jersey’s Senate Labor Committee approved Senate Bill 992 … Continue Reading

President Obama Announces Further Efforts To Combat Gender Pay Inequality

A little-known (or perhaps forgotten) fact is that the very first bill President Obama signed into law was an employment law:  the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  This law unwound the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and was intended to make it easier for employees to … Continue Reading

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Rules That Sexual Orientation Discrimination Violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

    In a potentially groundbreaking decision that increases legal protections throughout the U.S. for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled on June 15, 2015, that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination.  The EEOC addressed the question of whether the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII … Continue Reading

Government launches gender pay gap consultation

The Government has today launched a consultation on its commitment to introduce regulations to require private and voluntary sector businesses with at least 250 employees in Great Britain to publish gender pay gap information.  A gender pay gap shows the difference between the average earnings of men and women as a percentage of men’s earnings.  … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules EEOC Conciliation Efforts Are Subject to Oversight

On April 29, the US Supreme Court held unanimously that courts may review the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) efforts to informally resolve disputes between employers and employees. The EEOC, which is charged with policing compliance with employment discrimination laws, is required by statute to first try informal mediation methods to resolve disputes between employers … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit clarifies: Demanding a supervisor cease harassment is a protected activity

On April 22, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that clarifies that, for purposes of Title VII retaliation cases, an employee’s demand that a supervisor stop his or her harassing conduct constitutes protected activity under the statute. Affirming the findings of several district courts in the circuit, the appeals court held that … Continue Reading

Can you sack an employee for having ‘friends with benefits’?

You won’t be surprised to know that the word “poly” comes from the Greek word “polýs” which means ‘many’.  But did you know that, earlier this year, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Bunning v Centacare [2015] FCCA 280 was faced with the question of whether an employee of a religious organisation could be … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Revises Test For Pregnancy-Based Discrimination

Court Revives 2008 Pregnancy Bias Suit by Former UPS Employee Who Was Denied Light Duty Work Accommodation On March 25th, the United States Supreme Court vacated a lower court’s ruling in favor of United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) against a former delivery truck driver, Peggy Young, who claimed, among other things, that she was discriminated … Continue Reading

Utah Passes Law Prohibiting LGBT Employment Discrimination

On March 12, Utah Governor Herbert signed into law S.B. 296, which amends the Utah Antidiscrimination Act to prohibit discrimination in employment by Utah employers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Notably, and perhaps not surprisingly given that 60% of Utah residents identify as Mormons, although the law had the support of … Continue Reading

EEOC Internal Memo Reveals LGBT Discrimination Remains Enforcement Priority

On February 3, 2015, the EEOC’s Director of the Office of Field Programs issued a memorandum to the agency’s district directors regarding the handling of LGBT-related discrimination claims. Although Title VII does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of an employee’s identification as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, the memorandum states that the EEOC … Continue Reading

EEOC Charge Filing in 2014: Number of Charges Down, Retaliation Claims Up

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released its annual statistical report  detailing charge filing activity in 2014.  The EEOC, the federal administrative agency which investigates and prosecutes claims of employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation under a number of employment and civil rights statutes, reported 88,778 charges filed in 2014, down from 93,727 charges filed … Continue Reading
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