Earlier this week, the EEOC issued new guidance addressing what it described as common issues it continues to see in discrimination charges filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This new guidance provides nothing new that has not already been included in its Revised Enforcement Guidance: Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but does highlight, among other issues, the EEOC’s view that the ADA requires employers to:
Continue Reading EEOC issues new guidance on employer-provided leaves as a reasonable accommodation

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 does not provide much guidance on how it determines which email address to use, but encourages employers to update their contact information with the EEOC by contacting their local EEOC office. Ask yourself who in your organization you want to receive first notice from EEOC that a charge has been filed, then make sure the EEOC has that person’s contact information. For employers in Columbus and points generally east and north, the appropriate local office is the EEOC Cleveland Field Office. For employers everywhere else in Ohio, your local EEOC office is the EEOC Cincinnati Area Office. Have operations outside Ohio? The EEOC’s local offices are listed here. We strongly recommend employers ensure the EEOC has the right contact information so that charges are routed appropriately within their organizations. If the EEOC local office sees that the employer has not logged into the system within ten days of the EEOC’s email notice, the local office is instructed to attempt to notify the employer again of the charge.
Continue Reading The EEOC enters the digital age with electronic notice of charges

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 or more employees and by federal contractors with 50 or more employees. As you know, the federal EEO-1 currently requires only that you report the number of employees at each covered establishment and corporate-wide, by ten broadly defined job categories and broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity. If adopted, the EEOC’s recently-announced proposed wage reporting rules will require that compensation data be added to the EEO-1 report. In addition to the administrative burden this will cause, employers have real concerns about the ways in which the EEOC promises to use the data.
Continue Reading EEOC proposed wage reporting rules: could be a major problem

2016 has arrived, marking the beginning of a year of political transition. While we cannot be certain what the upcoming Presidential election holds for 2017, we can expect to see at least seven employment law trends as we move through this year.

1. Increase in Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) initiatives and enforcement

The Department

Whether the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking advantage of the fact that HIV infection has been in the news lately (thanks to Charlie Sheen’s recent disclosure about his own HIV status) or the timing is pure coincidence, the EEOC earlier this month issued two publications regarding the rights afforded by the Americans with

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

Almost a year ago, we wrote that a panel of the Sixth Circuit in EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, bucking the trend elsewhere, had held that an employer could be required to permit an employee to work from home as a reasonable accommodation for a disability. Last week, however, the entire Sixth Circuit, in an 8-5 decision, issued an opinion overturning the panel’s decision and finding that in-person attendance at the work site is generally an essential function of most jobs, particularly those that are interactive. The court recognized that advances in technology may mean that regular on-site attendance won’t be necessary for every job, but noted that the job of Jane Harris, on whose behalf the EEOC brought suit, as a resale buyer for Ford was not one that could be done from home.

Through the years, Ford had made numerous attempts to reasonably accommodate Ms. Harris, who suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, but none of these attempts, which included trials of telecommuting, were successful. Ultimately, Ms. Harris asked Ford to be permitted to work from home up to four days per week. The nature of her job, however, required teamwork, meetings with suppliers and stampers and on-site availability to participate in face-to-face interactions. These factors in the Court’s opinion all necessitated Ms. Harris to achieve regular and predictable on-site attendance. Accordingly, the Court upheld her termination from employment.
Continue Reading Sixth Circuit in EEOC v. Ford: Sometimes showing up really is an essential function of the job