Employment & Labor Insider

Employment & Labor Insider

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Category Archives: Discrimination

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LGBT charges are rolling in, EEOC Commissioner says

Posted in Discrimination, Gender Identity Discrimination
Chai Feldblum, a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recently presented an update on the EEOC’s handling of charges alleging sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. At the meeting, reported this week in Bloomberg BNA, Commissioner Feldblum said that the EEOC is now tracking the intake and resolution of these charges, which I’ll … Continue Reading

Halloween in the workplace? Bah! Humbug!

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment
When it comes to Halloween in the workplace, just call me Scrooge. A reader writes, Hi, Robin. I dread the prospect of employees coming to work in inappropriate Halloween costumes. I’ve seen costumes that are sexually provocative, or that reflect racial or ethnic stereotypes. Some people even say that employers shouldn’t have Halloween parties because … Continue Reading

Eggs in the workplace

Posted in Discrimination, Pregnancy
No, not that kind of egg. This kind of egg:   Eggs – human eggs, aka ova – have been in the news this week. First, it was announced that Facebook and Apple will begin offering insurance coverage for female employees to freeze their eggs for later fertilization and implantation, a procedure that can cost as … Continue Reading

A reader asks: “Is it me, or has job interviewing become really complicated?”

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Pregnancy
Last week, I wrote about the two situations in which an employer should ask an applicant about a disability or a religious belief or practice that might require reasonable accommodation. (As I emphasized last week, 99 percent of the time, you should stay away from these topics in job interviews.) My post prompted one reader … Continue Reading

An employer should never ask about disability or religion. Except when it should.

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination
Everybody knows that an employer should never, ever, ever ask an applicant about religion or disability until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. And maybe not even then. Right? Right? Well, mostly right. But, as a couple of EEOC lawsuits show, there may be times when you have to make an exception … Continue Reading

The EEOC has been a busy bee this week. (It stings!)

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Class actions, Discrimination, Employment Law Blog Carnival, Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, GINA, Harassment, Pregnancy, Settlements
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been on a tear this week, suing employers right and left, and getting some “wins” including a couple of big settlements . . . Train-wreck boss. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) vacated a summary judgment decision for a Tex-Mex restaurant franchisor … Continue Reading

Yes, employers, you can win a transgender discrimination suit

Posted in Discrimination, Gender Identity Discrimination
A recent decision from a federal court in Georgia provides an excellent illustration about how employers can win summary judgment (dismissal before a jury trial) even in cases as sensitive as those alleging discrimination based on gender identity. Plaintiff Jennifer Chavez was hired as a mechanic by Credit Nation Auto Sales in Austell, Georgia (a … Continue Reading

Employers, don’t commit these 5 firing faux pas!

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Employment at Will, Family and Medical Leave Act, Pregnancy
Do you think you have that employee termination all buttoned up, and no one will be able to challenge you? Defending that EEOC charge will be a slam dunk? No plaintiff’s lawyer in his right mind would represent your soon-to-be-ex employee? Are you sure about that? Can we talk? Don’t commit these five firing faux … Continue Reading

Sexy ADA issue: Bad breakup may not justify employer-mandated medical exam

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Employment Law Blog Carnival, Off-Duty Conduct
Rarely does one get a case that involves a cutting-edge Americans with Disabilities Act issue combined with wild, crazy, passionate, irrationally exuberant, tempestuous, adulterous romance. Well, folks, today is your lucky day. Should we start with the sex, or with the ADA issue? Oh, heck – let’s start with the sex. Emily Kroll, an Emergency … Continue Reading

BREAKING: OFCCP issues directive on gender-identity discrimination

Posted in Affirmative Action, Discrimination
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has issued a new directive on gender-identity discrimination, consistent with President Obama’s recent amendment to Executive Order 11246. In essence, the directive says that discrimination based on gender identity is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a position … Continue Reading

Sex stereotyping, sexual orientation discrimination, and federal law – crazy-mixed-up right now

Posted in Discrimination, ENDA, Harassment
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is dead again. Is there any federal law on same-sex harassment or discrimination? If so, what is it? Here are some scenarios that may be helpful in picking through this crazy extremely complex and rapidly transitioning area of the law. (Answers are provided after Scenario 6, below.) The American Bar Association … Continue Reading

An in-depth look at the EEOC’s new Enforcement Guidance on pregnancy

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Lactation, Pregnancy
As promised on Monday, here is my magnum opus regarding the EEOC’s new Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues. (Next week, I’ll try to get back to spurious sexual harassment lawsuits against Yahoo executives and gift cards to employees who don’t go to the bathroom during the work day . . . all … Continue Reading

Employment law BELIEVE IT OR NOT!

Posted in Discrimination, Drug Testing, Pregnancy
Oddities, weirdness, and the strange and unusual from the world of employment law. I thought only elephants had two-year pregnancies. As I’ve discussed here before, “pregnancy” for purposes of the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act includes a lot of things besides the actual nine months of physical gestation. Arguably, it includes the period that a woman may … Continue Reading

Sex at work: test your knowledge!

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment
How much do you really know about sexual relationships in the workplace? Take my quiz, and find out! Bert gives Ernie all the cushy jobs because they’re having a consensual affair. Can Ernie’s co-workers sue for sex harassment or discrimination? NO, because Bert and Ernie are both men. YES, because Bert’s favoritism creates a hostile … Continue Reading

Stupid “discrimination” complaints: How should an employer handle?

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation
A reader, who has asked to remain anonymous, suggested that I write about employees who make “stupid” complaints about discrimination, harassment, or other allegedly unlawful treatment. The following is a fictionalized email, but it accurately presents the spirit of her concern. Dear Robin, I am a Human Resources director for a government employer. You won’t … Continue Reading

Employment Litigation Lottery: IBM steps away

Posted in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Discrimination, Uncategorized
Is IBM crazy, or just crazy like a fox? Bloomberg BNA reported this week that IBM has stopped providing the “disclosures” required by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act when it hands out severance packages. As you know, when an employer has a “group termination” — usually, a reduction in force, but a “group” can … Continue Reading