Discrimination

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Recent Ninth Circuit Equal Pay Act Decision A Reminder To Examine and Eliminate Gender-Based Pay Disparity (US)

On Monday, March 15, 2021, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, in part, a district court’s order denying a federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) claim filed by a former University of Oregon tenured psychology professor who claimed she was paid significantly less than her male colleagues. The decision serves as a reminder to employers … Continue Reading

EAT refuses to swallow stale discrimination training – keeping up the statutory defence (UK)

As a rule, an employer will be liable for the discriminatory acts of its employees towards each other unless it has taken all reasonable steps to prevent them doing that sort of thing (section 109(4) Equality Act, often known as the “statutory defence”). Allay (UK) Limited –v- Gehlen is one of really not very many … Continue Reading

Arizona Expands State Law Employment Protections for Pregnant Workers (US)

Arizona employers are now expressly prohibited by state law from discriminating against employees on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth. On January 28, 2021, the Arizona Legislature passed, and on Thursday, February 4, 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law, HB 2045, which amends the state civil rights statute to clarify that existing statutory … Continue Reading

2020’s parting gift to UK employers – you really shouldn’t have

It is easy to dismiss some EAT decisions as a storm in a teacup, legally-speaking, all very traumatic for those bobbing about in them, but of little significance to the wider world of employment law or practice. Steer – v – Stormsure Limited earlier this month is not one of those decisions. It has the … Continue Reading

State Law Round-Up: Year End Edition – PART TWO (Illinois – Washington, D.C.) (US)

In Part One of our year-end State Law Roundup, we covered national minimum wage developments and developments in states at the beginning of the alphabet: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, and Hawaii.  In Part Two below, we look at developments in the rest of the states (and localities), from Illinois to Washington D.C. Illinois: Illinois employers … Continue Reading

State Law Round-Up: Year End Edition – PART ONE (California – Hawaii) (US)

As we (thankfully) reach the end of 2020, we wanted to provide a year-end update on recent and upcoming state law developments.  Despite the fact that state and local governments had their hands full with the COVID-19 pandemic (and passed many laws relating to that topic, which we will not cover here), they managed to … Continue Reading

EEOC Announces Intent to Provide Official Agency Interpretations of Federal Employment Discrimination Laws In Response to Public Requests (US)

Except for a brief hiatus between 2010 and 2017 (see here), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has for decades issued formal opinion letters in response to requests from employers, employees, and others for the DOL’s official interpretation of novel or complex issues relating to the application of the minimum wage and overtime compensation provisions … Continue Reading

Employers needled by vaccine refusals, Part 2 – the role of reasonableness (UK)

Having established in the first of this series that a request to take the covid-19 vaccination is probably a reasonable management request, then what? Can you go straight from there to enforcing it as an issue of disobedience? Only if the refusal is unreasonable. Will refusal to take the vaccine be an unreasonable failure to … Continue Reading

Court OKs EEOC’s Lawsuit Against Employer Notwithstanding Lengthy Delay (US)  

It’s a not-so-uncommon scenario for employers. An employer terminates an employee. The employee files a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging her termination was the motivated by unlawful discrimination. The EEOC asks the employer to provide a comprehensive response to the charge, supplemented with voluminous documents requested by the agency in … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown flexible working, Part 6 – when childcare goes bad (UK)

Time to answer another interesting question which came up at our Managing Working Parents webinar a couple of weeks ago: Where the employee is unable to come into work for childcare reasons, what are my duties to provide him with work suitable to be done from home?  This was a question which we might have … Continue Reading

A Timely Redux: Walking The Tightrope: Dealing With Employees’ Different Viewpoints On COVID-19, Racial Justice, and Partisan Politics (US)

In June 2020, we added a post to Employment Law Worldview addressing the complicated situation employers are in when employees express – sometime respectfully, sometimes not – different, and indeed, opposite views on COVID-19 issues (e.g., legitimate public health emergency versus hoax or “plandemic”), racial justice (“Black Lives Matter” versus “All Lives Matter”), and politics … Continue Reading

EEOC Provides Welcome COVID-19-Related Guidance To Employers As Employees Return To The Workplace (US)

On September 8, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance concerning COVID-19 and the workplace. The update provides much-needed answers to questions that have been troubling employers struggling to adapt to circumstances presented by the still-ongoing public health emergency. Can we test employees for COVID-19 prior to allowing them back in … Continue Reading

“Go back to work or risk losing your job” – fact and fiction in the return to the workplace (UK)

Friday’s headline in The Telegraph above heralds the launch of a new Government campaign to encourage those currently working from home back into their physical offices.  A series of noticeably unnamed Government Ministers and “sources” told the paper that “bosses at struggling firms will find it easier to hand out P45s to people they never … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Allows Title VII “Sex-Plus-Age” Claims (US)

The Tenth Circuit – covering Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming – just became the first federal appellate court to explicitly rule that employees can bring “sex-plus-age” claims against employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—a claim alleging discrimination on the basis of gender against individuals over the age … Continue Reading

NLRB Provides Much-Needed Reality Check, Lowers Barrier To Employers’ Ability To Discipline And Discharge Employees Who Engage In Arguably Protected, But Plainly Disruptive, Workplace Conduct (US)

An employee confronts you – a small business owner – and calls you a “f***ng mother f***cker,” a “f***ing crook,” an “a**hole,” and “stupid,” tells you that none of your employees like you and everyone talks about you behind your back, and warns you that you’ll regret firing him, if you do. Or you’re a … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Adopts Broad Interpretation of the “Ministerial Exception,” Protecting Religious Schools Against Employment Discrimination Claims (US)

The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission. Judicial review of the way in which religious schools discharge those … Continue Reading

Black Lives Matter, Racial Unrest and Corporate Culture – How Do Employers Respond? (US)

As the daily news continues to show protests and calls for justice in response to the death of George Floyd and others at the hands of police officers, there is, unsurprisingly, a desire from employees to hear from their employers regarding the ongoing violence and racial unrest in our communities and across the country. Many … Continue Reading

Walking The Tightrope: Dealing With Employees’ Different Viewpoints On COVID-19, Racial Justice, and Partisan Politics (US)

We’re living through a period of time in the US unlike any we have previously experienced,  simultaneously grappling with a deadly public health emergency, mass protests – some peaceful, some not – seeking racial justice and police reform, and an increasingly bitter, partisan political landscape that likely only will intensify as we get closer to … Continue Reading

Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Prohibits Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity-Based Discrimination In Employment (US)

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable … Continue Reading

BREAKING: US Supreme Court – Title VII Prohibits Discrimination In Employment Based On Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity

Resolving a question that previously had vexed lower courts and resulted in inconsistent rulings across the country, on Monday, June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition against sex-based discrimination in employment set forth in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes claims of sexual orientation and gender … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown flexible working, Part 3 — the big questions (UK)

If we are right to think that the unravelling of lockdown will be accompanied by a sharp increase in the number of employees requesting to work from home, then many employers will shortly start to face some serious posers in relation to the flexible working scheme. These are not new questions, but will be thrown into … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates COVID-19 Guidance With Answers To More Return-To-Work Questions (US)

Throughout the current public health emergency, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been providing regular updates to its guidance on COVID-19 and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal employment statutes (see our prior posts here). On June 11, 2020, the EEOC provided answers to approximately 10 new questions, … Continue Reading
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