The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) invited interested parties to submit feedback about when an employee’s offensive or inappropriate workplace comments should lose the protection of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Specifically, the NLRB is inviting employers and other parties to submit briefing about whether it should reconsider its standards for determining whether Section 7 of the NLRA protects employees who make “profane outbursts and offensive statements of a racial or sexual nature…during the course of otherwise protected activity.” By way of background, Section 7 of the NLRA gives employees the right to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” That can include raising work-related disputes or complaints. This right extends to all non-management employees, not just those represented by a union. But what if the employee raising specomplaints uses obscene or otherwise offensive language directed at a supervisor? In some NLRB cases, employee outbursts that have included offensive language have been shielded from punishment by the employer because the language was considered a part of protected speech.
Continue Reading NLRB invites businesses to provide feedback on when an employee’s offensive comments should lose the protection of federal labor law

A federal lawsuit alleging discrimination under Title VII must be filed within ninety days after the EEOC has completed its handling of the related discrimination charge and issued its Notice of Right To Sue. Some employers attempt to shorten the time for filing discrimination charges by getting employee or applicants to sign agreements to that

Employers with facilities in New York are probably aware of the significant piece of anti-discrimination legislation Gov. Cuomo signed recently. The new law:

  • expands coverage to all employers regardless of size;woman in conference room
  • expands protections against discrimination to certain non-employees;
  • increases the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims from one to three years;
  • adds punitive damages and mandatory attorneys’ fees as potential remedies;
  • prohibits mandatory arbitration of discrimination claims;
  • adds to the notice requirements an employer must provide regarding its sexual harassment policy, including in the language identified by any employee as their primary language; and
  • places significant specific restrictions upon the use of non-disclosure agreements

While these changes are certainly significant, the more troubling aspect of the law for employers and their counsel may be its expansive definition of sexual harassment as well as its open dismissiveness of federal law.
Continue Reading New York’s new discrimination law—Aberration or the start of a trend?

 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced the filing window for the newly required Component 2 pay data opens July 15, 2019. Private employers with at least 100 employees are required to submit pay data for calendar years 2017 and 2018 by Sept. 30, 2019. This new requirement is ordered by the court decision in the National Women’s Law Center v. Office of Management and Budget case.

The EEOC has taken a number of steps to assist employers with this new filing requirement.


Continue Reading EEO-1 reporting: Pay data filing begins July 15, 2019

When did canned web-based presentations become the norm for harassment, discrimination and other inappropriate workplace conduct training? Companies who rely on pre-prepared, generic materials often find those trainings for HR, management, supervisors and employees to be ineffective, particularly now that #MeToo is a part of our vocabulary. For the employer who has the goal of

Pay Data Required by September 30, 2019

Further action has occurred in the National Women’s Law Center v. Office of Management and Budget case, about which we reported here. Employers will need to report 2018 pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019. While it is clear that employers

UPDATE – Pay Data Required by September 30, 2019

Further action has occurred in the National Women’s Law Center v. Office of Management and Budget case, about which we reported here. Employers will need to report 2018 pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019. While it is clear that employers will be required to report 2018 pay data later this year, it is unclear whether pay data for 2017 will also be required at that time. The EEOC has until May 3, 2019 to decide what time period must be reported on September 30, 2019.

Porter Wright will continue to provide updates on this breaking news as more details become available.

It’s that time of year again. The 2018 EEO-1 Survey is open and must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics’ Employer Data Team. Employers must submit their reports by Friday, May 31, 2019.

What is the EEO-1 survey?

Federal law mandates that certain employers submit employment data for compliance purposes. The survey requires employers to submit data on employee race, ethnicity and sex categorized by one of ten job categories. Employers must gather this data from one pay period in October, November or December of each reporting year. Data must include both full-time and part-time employees.

In addition to sex, employers must report data on the following race and ethnicity categories:
Continue Reading EEO-1 reporting; Now open for business

Employers facing workplace discrimination claims in the 6th Circuit should find some comfort in the court’s recent decision in DeBra v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., which endorses a heightened standard for plaintiffs to demonstrate that they were treated less favorably than similarly situated employees outside their protected class.

The plaintiff worked as a bank teller for Chase until she was terminated for on-the-job errors, such as overpaying customers, leaving bank funds unsecured on counters and accidentally failing to return bank cards to several customers. She alleged, however, that the bank’s reliance on these errors for her termination was really a pretext for age discrimination because other, younger tellers committed the same errors yet were retained.


Continue Reading Sixth Circuit decision shows similarly situated employees must truly be similarly situated in discrimination cases

Agreeing with the district court’s assessment that “résumé misrepresentations by a senior human resources professional represent an infraction so egregious as to defy correction by mere counseling or other lesser discipline,” the 6th Circuit on April 23, 2018, rejected an appeal from a summary judgment order on claims of pregnancy, race, and age discrimination and retaliation in Bailey v. Oakwood Healthcare, Inc..

Michelle Bailey, a 40 year old African-American woman, was fired from her position as a senior staffing professional at Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. (Oakwood) on the day she returned from a three-month maternity leave. During her maternity leave, her supervisor had identified deficiencies in her work performance that prompted the supervisor to go back and review her qualifications. When she checked, she found what Ms. Bailey acknowledged in deposition were “embellishments” on her employment application. In notifying Ms. Bailey of her termination, Oakwood relied on both the deficiencies and the misrepresentations. Ms. Bailey later sued, claiming that she was fired because of her pregnancy, her race and her age as well as in retaliation for concerns she had expressed about the rejection of employment applications of certain African-American candidates for employment at Oakwood prior to her maternity leave. The district court granted summary judgment in Oakwood’s favor on each of these counts.
Continue Reading Sixth Circuit upholds termination of human resources employee for employment application misrepresentations and performance deficiencies

Never underestimate the power of a pro se litigant. That’s one lesson to take away from the Seventh Circuit’s en banc opinion in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, which is the first appellate decision to hold that Title VII bars employment discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation. Because Ivy Tech has stated that it does not plan to seek Supreme Court review (despite a Circuit split on the issue), employers subject to Title VII, particularly in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, should know about this opinion and consider how and whether it may apply to them.

Surprisingly, this momentous decision resulted not from a national impact-litigation strategy but rather from the humble efforts of one pro se litigant. Math teacher Kimberly Hively filed a form complaint in federal court that alleged she was denied full-time teaching positions and promotions based on her sexual orientation, and sought damages based on Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Ivy Tech Community College moved to dismiss and the Northern District of Indiana granted the motion. Undeterred, Ms. Hively retained advocacy group Lambda Legal to prosecute an appeal. Although she initially lost in a now-vacated opinion filed by a Seventh Circuit panel, Ms. Hively successfully sought reconsideration by the en banc Seventh Circuit with the support of amici EEOC and five Members of Congress, among others. The full Court voted 8-3 in favor of Ms. Hively and issued four opinions.


Continue Reading Pro se litigant sets off Title VII avalanche: Seventh Circuit holds that Title VII prohibits sexual orientation discrimination