Discrimination

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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

Navigating Employee Return-to-Work Issues (US)

On Friday, May 15, 2020, Arizona’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order will expire. At that time, only a handful of states (Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey) will still be under broad stay-at-home restrictions, but even those remaining states will begin the phased reopening process between May 15 and 30. As employers begin … Continue Reading

U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s Equal Pay Act Claim Dismissed, But Other Gender-Based Claims Remain (US)

Our colleague Jacob Davis at Squire Patton Boggs’  Sports Shorts blog discussed the recent ruling in the Equal Pay Act and Title VII case brought by members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team against U.S. Soccer alleging that they were discriminated against by being paid less than their male counterparts.  On Friday, May 1, … Continue Reading

Employer’s Guide to Return-to-Work Issues: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (US)

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has changed life as we know it, including by severely disrupting business on a nationwide scale.  In some cases, employers have been forced to temporarily close their doors and cease operations, while others have had to make radical changes to the workplace in order to maintain operations. … Continue Reading

Employer’s After-the-Fact Discovery of Lack of Job Qualification Sinks Employee’s ADA Discrimination Claim (US)

Sunny Anthony worked for TRAX International as a technical writer.  During the course of her employment, she asked TRAX to accommodate her disabilities–post-traumatic stress disorder and related anxiety and depression—by letting her work from home, which TRAX denied or otherwise declined to allow.[1]   So Ms. Anthony sued TRAX, alleging that it violated the Americans with … Continue Reading

America Reopens: What Employers Need To Be Thinking About in Light of the Guidelines

On April 16, 2020, President Trump unveiled broad new federal guidelines laying out conditions for states to begin relaxing the strict measures imposed to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The new guidance identifies the necessary circumstances for areas of the country to allow employees to start returning to work.  Trump emphasized that … Continue Reading

Update on Federal Agency Activity – EEOC, NLRB, OSHA, and DOL – Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis (US)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on all aspects of life for all Americans and we are all still adjusting to this new “normal,” which is anything but normal.  Federal administrative agencies and their employees of course have not been immune to the effects of the current crisis and they, like private sector … Continue Reading

OFCCP Exempts New Federal Contracts Entered Into to Provide COVID-19 Relief From Certain Equal Employment Opportunity Requirements (US)

On March 17, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a temporary, three-month exemption from certain equal employment opportunity requirements for new supply and services and construction contracts “entered into specifically to provide Coronavirus relief.”  In the National Interest Exemption Memorandum (NIE Memorandum), the OFCCP provided modified equal … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit: Obese Employee Not Disabled Under the ADA (US)

As discussed in our prior posts on obesity and disability law, there is continuing disagreement in the courts concerning whether obesity alone constitutes a disability, or whether obesity must result from a physical disease or condition in order to be a disability.  On February 27, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit … Continue Reading

UK Equality Commission issues new sexual harassment guidance

Earlier this month, the Equality and Human Rights Commission issued new guidance on sexual harassment and harassment at work. The guidance is very comprehensive, running to some 82 pages, but if you are responsible for drafting your company’s harassment policies or for handling such complaints in the workplace, you should still take a look at … Continue Reading

Spoiler Alert! It’s Going to Be a Roaring 2020 With Many Impactful Laws On The Horizon (US)

Who will be cheering and who will be jeering in this new decade may depend on the outcome of several key cases, pending regulations, and potential state and local law reforms. Below, we provide you with a brief overview of some key issues that may dominate the legal landscape in 2020 and beyond.… Continue Reading

NLRB Must Consider An Employer’s Obligation To Maintain A Harassment-Free Workplace When Evaluating An Employee’s Allegedly Protected Conduct (US)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently refused to enforce a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that involved a conflict between an employer’s obligation to maintain a harassment-free workplace under federal and state equal employment opportunity laws (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which, … Continue Reading

Veganism as a protected belief – putting flesh on the bones for UK employers

Much noise in the press last week about the decision of the Norwich Employment Tribunal that veganism is a philosophical belief protected under The Equality Act, so the obvious question is what this all means in practice. First, less than it looks.  The decision applies to “ethical veganism” only, not a regime adopted on fashion … Continue Reading

Genetic Mutation Is Not A Disability under the ADA, Says Ohio Federal Court (US)

In Darby v. Childvine, a recent decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the Court considered whether a genetic mutation can constitute a “disability” as that term is defined under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). In that case, the employer terminated the plaintiff/then-employee Sherryl Darby two weeks … Continue Reading
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