Employer Law Report

Tag Archives: EEO

UPDATE: EEO-1 reporting; Now open for business

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.…

EEO-1 reporting; Now open for business

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

When can an employer be found liable for ‘supervisor’ harassment?

In an opinion issued this week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee) affirmed dismissal of a case alleging same-sex sexual harassment primarily based on the prompt and effective action taken by the employer in response to the plaintiff employee’s complaint.

Plaintiff (Hylko) and the alleged harasser (Hemphill) worked closely together at U.S. Steel. Hemphill trained Hylko and assigned his duties. Both reported to an area manager.

Hylko claimed that Hemphill harassed him as soon as they started working together, that Hemphill regularly asked Hylko about his sex life and that Hemphill grabbed …

November election results likely will significantly impact labor and employment law in coming years

Now that it is clear that Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States, questions are continuously being asked about how the regime change when he takes office in January of 2017 will impact labor and employment law. Acknowledging that any discussion of Trump’s policies before he takes office on Jan. 20, 2017 is purely speculation, it is important for employers to consider the potential implications on labor and employment law.…

EEOC issues fact sheet in response to state bathroom laws

Likely in response to laws recently passed in North Carolina and Mississippi (and being considered in other states, including Ohio), the EEOC has issued a fact sheet regarding bathroom access for transgender employees under federal anti-discrimination law. In the fact sheet, the EEOC takes the position that transgender status is protected under Title VII and, accordingly, employers may not:

  • Deny an employee equal access to a common restroom corresponding to the employee’s gender identity is sex discrimination
  • Condition this right on the employee undergoing or providing proof of surgery or any other medical procedure
  • Avoid the requirement to provide equal

Website accessibility case shows big risks to companies

We have reported previously on the emerging trends in litigation over website accessibility. Briefly, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires accessibility for disabled persons to places of public accommodation. Increasingly, disabled persons are pursuing litigation or threats of litigation, arguing that a company’s website which provides access to goods and services must be accessible under the ADA. The law remains somewhat unsettled. Federal courts have reached varying conclusions on the question of whether websites are places of public accommodation and, if they are, what steps are required to make them accessible under the ADA. The …

Update: the EEOC enters the digital age with electronic notice of charges

Earlier this week we reported on the EEOC’s new “digital charge” system. The EEOC has issued a press release announcing it will now, on a nationwide basis, share position statements with charging parties. In the past, many EEOC offices would provide a verbal summary of the employer’s position statement to the charging party but would not share the document with him/her. That has now changed. Apparently the EEOC “may” redact confidential information before providing it to the charging party, so employers should clearly indicate information they consider confidential, including any attachments submitted with the position statement. The policy is …

The EEOC enters the digital age with electronic notice of charges

We are seeing more and more employers receive electronic notice of new EEOC charges through the EEOC’s new “digital charge” system. This system was piloted in certain EEOC districts starting last May. Starting Jan. 1, 2016, all EEOC offices will notify employers via email of new EEOC charges filed against them. However, this last month and a half we have continued to see a few new charges come in the traditional way via snail mail.

What happens when you receive a digital charge? The EEOC will send an email to the email address on file for the employer. The EEOC …

EEOC proposed wage reporting rules: could be a major problem

Think for a moment about all of the employment law obligations you face as a Human Resources professional or employment legal counsel. As extensive as those are, there is actually very little that you have to report to the federal or state government on a regular basis about your employment activity. You have very few obligations to report to the government on your personnel actions, including compensation – at least as of now. In fact, about the only obligation to report information to the federal government is the annual federal EEO-1 report, which must be filed by companies with 100 …

OFCCP’s final compensation reporting rule expected in May

OFCCP has said that it will issue final rules in May 2016 requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to submit electronic pay data.  This rule has been highly controversial since it was first proposed in 2011.  Currently there is no obligation for contractors to submit pay data to OFCCP except in the course of an affirmative action compliance review.  The proposed rule would require contractors with 100 or more employees and federal contracts or subcontracts totaling $50,000 or more to submit summary compensation data by race, ethnicity, and sex annually.  The  data would then be aggregated by industry groups and published …

Courts can (barely) weigh in on whether EEOC satisfies its conciliation obligations

On Wednesday of this week, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated and remanded a 7th Circuit decision that said courts could not review whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) satisfied its conciliation obligations under Title VII. Mach Mining LLC v. EEOC, No. 13-1019 (2015). The review the Court permitted, however, remains limited and courts are only to enforce the EEOC’s obligation to give an employer notice and a chance to achieve voluntary compliance. The court made a point to recognize that the EEOC still had “extensive discretion to determine the kind and amount of communication with an employer …

Ohio Supreme Court Holds A Public Teacher Shall Not Disobey a School Board’s Directive Not To Display Religious Materials in the Classroom

This week, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a sharply divided 4-3 opinion in Freshwater v. Mt. Vernon City School Dist. Bd. of Edn., Slip Opinion No. 2013-Ohio-5000(Nov. 19, 2013), which held that the Mt. Vernon City School District had “good and just cause” under Ohio Revised Code §3319.16 for terminating a controversial middle school science teacher for insubordination because he refused to remove religious displays from his classroom after being ordered to do so. While the Court also held that the school district violated Freshwater’s First Amendment rights when it ordered him to remove his personal Bible from …

EEOC’S Campaign Against Criminal Background Checks Takes Recent Hits

As we have previously noted, the EEOC in April 2012 issued enforcement guidance addressing the use of arrest and criminal records in employment decisions under Title VII. Since then, the EEOC has filed two separate lawsuits in South Carolina and Illinois alleging that employer criminal background check policies violated Title VII because they adversely impacted minorities and were not job related and consistent with business necessity. In response, the Attorneys General of nine states (West Virginia, Alabama, Kansas, Montana, Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, South Carolina and Utah) wrote a letter to the EEOC urging the EEOC to dismiss the lawsuits …

Major Changes to Affirmative Action Requirements Effective March 24, 2014

Companies covered by federal affirmative action obligations have some major changes for which to prepare. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued two new rules which take effect March 24, 2014. The new rules expand the affirmative action requirements for covered veterans and disabled persons.

For over 30 years, regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 have required covered employers to engage in good faith efforts to recruit and employ covered veterans and disabled persons. The requirements include the obligation to invite …

The Supreme Court Lands a Stunning Blow to Employees

After putting employees on the ropes with its decision in Vance v. Ball State University (which we blogged on here), the United States Supreme Court finished employees off with the 5-4 decision in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, No. 12-484 (June 24, 2013). The Justices held a plaintiff making a retaliation claim under Title VII must establish that his or her protected activity was the “but-for” cause of the alleged adverse action by the employer, rather than just a motivating factor.

Background
The University of Texas medical system is affiliated with Parkland Memorial Hospital (“Hospital”). The …

SCOTUS Defines “Supervisor” For Title VII Cases as One Who Can Take Tangible Employment Actions

In Vance v. Ball State University, No. 11-556 (June 24, 2013), the United States Supreme Court held that an employee is a “supervisor” for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII only if the employee is empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions, i.e., to effect a “significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or a decision causing a significant change in benefits, against the victim. In defining the term “supervisor” under the more narrow definition proposed by the parties, the Supreme Court refused to define …

Pick Your Poison – Violate State or Federal Law? Court Finds That Complying with State Law On Employee Criminal Background Checks Is Not a Defense to a Title VII Disparate Impact Claim

I present on the topic of background checks often, and when it comes to Q&A time, I almost always get the question (or some variation of it): "How does Title VII come into play when an employer has state law requirements regarding criminal background checks?" In Waldon v. Cincinnati Public Schools, No. 1:12-CV-00677 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 23, 2013), the Southern District of Ohio shed some light on this particular employer predicament and demonstrates the potential for employment discrimination liability for employers who have overly broad exclusionary hiring policies based on past criminal conduct, even when those policies are required …

It Is All About How You Handle an Equal Opportunity Harasser: Sixth Circuit Finds Employer Correctly Killed Two Birds with One Stone

Cases involving an equal opportunity harasser are usually entertaining, but Colston v. Cleveland Public Library, (6th Cir. Apr. 15, 2013) is also educational because it demonstrates how an employer can properly get rid of an equal opportunity harasser and defeat discrimination and harassment claims based on the harasser’s conduct at the same time.

Plaintiff Mary Jane Colston was, and still is, a union security officer with the Cleveland Public Library ("CPL"). Ms. Colston alleged that the CPL, along with several of its employees, sexually harassed her, retaliated and discriminated against her because of her gender, and was liable to …

OFCCP Enforcement and Regulatory Agenda Heightened for Fiscal Year 2013

Federal contractors and subcontractors should take notice that, in the last couple of years, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has been pursuing a much more aggressive enforcement and regulatory agenda. Final revised rules on disability and veterans affirmative action are expected soon. Later in 2013, proposed new rules for construction contractors and gender discrimination are expected. We will post to this blog when these are available.

As we are awaiting these new regulatory frameworks, it should be noted that OFCCP has also been conducting more in depth and more aggressive compliance evaluations of federal contractors and subcontractors. …

Employers, Protect Yourself From Class or Collective Actions: New and Developing Case Law is Giving Employers a Number of Proactive Defensive Measures

All too often it seems employers are entirely unaware of the steps they can take to proactively protect themselves from employment litigation. Instead, employers and their attorneys do not address potential issues until litigation has actually been threatened or filed, by which time preventative measures have likely become a moot point. Yet, the law is providing more and more innovative opportunities to strategically protect an employer in ways much cheaper than actual litigation. This protection can reduce an employer’s potential monetary exposure for labor and employment matters by either minimizing litigation or by placing an employer in a position of …

Caution: Recent Case Highlights Importance of Broad, Early Preservation Efforts

This blog post was co-authored by Margaret M. (Peggy) Koesel and Tracey L. Turnbull.

A company may discard data, documents or records in the ordinary course of its business. But routine destruction of information that may be relevant to a government investigation or a lawsuit must be suspended and information must be saved as soon as possible after a party has notice that it must preserve evidence. A recent case from the district court for the Southern District of Ohio looks at the events that triggered a bank’s duty to save particular data considered relevant by its opponent and …

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover! The Sixth Circuit Provides Employers With A Roadmap For Hiring Persons With Disabilities

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Michigan district court’s ruling in Keith v. County of Oakland, finding a deaf applicant’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") may have been violated when Oakland County ("the County") revoked its job offer to hire him as a lifeguard.

Nicholas Keith, who was born deaf, trained and successfully completed the County’s lifeguard training program in 2007. After receiving his lifeguard certification, Keith applied for a lifeguard position at Oakland County’s wave pool. The job announcement required each applicant be at least 16 years of age and pass the County water …

Be Careful What You Dismiss as Not a “Real” Religion When Employees Seek Religious Accommodation: Court Holds Veganism Could Plausibly Be a “Religious Belief”

In a recent decision in Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Case No. 1:11-cv-00917, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati held that sincerely held beliefs in veganism could plausibly be considered religious beliefs protected against religious discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio state law. The Court rejected the argument that veganism was merely a social philosophy or dietary preference.

Sakile Chenzira was a customer service representative for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for over 10 years. In 2010, the Hospital terminated Chenzira for her refusal to be …

Sometimes It Is Best to Bite Your Tongue! Sixth Circuit Holds University’s Diversity Interests Outweighed First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech

In Dixon v. Univ. of Toledo et al., the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a high-level human resources official who writes publicly against the policies her government employer charges her with creating, promoting and enforcing, is not engaging in protected speech. Crystal Dixon, an African-American woman, who was the acting Interim Associate Vice President for Human Resources at the University of Toledo ("the University") when she penned a riveting op-ed column rebuking comparisons between the civil-rights and gay-rights movements. The piece ultimately led to her termination.

On April 4, 2008, Toledo Free Press Editor-in-Chief Michael Miller …

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