Showing posts with label EEOC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EEOC. Show all posts

Monday, July 19, 2021

An adverse jury verdict is just a number on a piece of paper


Late last week, a federal jury tagged Walmart with a verdict totaling more than $125 million in a disability discrimination lawsuit the EEOC brought on behalf of an employee with Down syndrome.

The facts were not great for Walmart. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

“Beware systemic discrimination,” says EEOC to employers


Systemic discrimination has multiple meanings, according to the EEOC:
  • A "pattern or practice, policy, and/or class cases where the discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company, or geographic location."
  • "Bias that is built into systems, originating in the way work is organized," referring to "structures that shape the work environment or employment prospects differently for different types of workers."
  • "Patterns of behavior that develop within organizations that disadvantage certain employees and become harmful to productivity."
Regardless of you define it, in a report published last Friday, the EEOC says that it pursuing systemic discrimination as an enforcement priority to dismantle the pattern, practice, or policy that results in or facilitates discriminatory decisions.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Frivolous litigation has a price … sometimes a big price


In 2005, Monika Starke filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging that her employer, CRST Van Expedited, Inc., subjected her to sexual harassment. The EEOC expanded that initial charge into a federal-court lawsuit over whether CRST engaged in sexual harassment against myriad of its female driver trainees.

What followed was 14 years of litigation, several trips to the court of appeals, one trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, and an attorney-fee award of over $3.3 million against the EEOC for frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless conduct in the filing and prosecution of the underlying claims.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

New EEOC case is a not-so-subtle reminder that we still have a lot of work to do to improve race relations


The allegations in this case—which the EEOC just filed against a Louisiana river transporter—remind us that while race relations have improved over the past several decades, they are far from perfect and we remain a nation with a lot of work to do.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

6th Circuit holds that an employee cannot contractually shorten Title VII’s statute of limitations


In Thurman v. Daimler Chrysler, the 6th Circuit agreed that the following agreement between an employer and an employee shortening the time in which an employee has to file a lawsuit was lawful.

READ CAREFULLY BEFORE SIGNING I agree that any claim or lawsuit relating to my service with Chrysler Corporation or any of its subsidiaries must be filed no more than six (6) months after the date of the employment action that is the subject of the claim or lawsuit. I waive any statute of limitations to the contrary.

I’ve long argued that because of Thurman, employers should consider having all employees agree to a shortened statute of limitations to limit the duration of their potential exposure to employment claims. Yesterday, however, the same court punched big hole in this litigation avoidance strategy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

This is what sex discrimination will look like if the Department of Justice gets its wish to legalize sex stereotyping


Last week the Department of Justice (on behalf of its client, the EEOC), filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to conclude that “sex stereotyping by itself is not a Title VII violation.”

What might this look like if the DOJ gets its wish?

Consider the following story (as told on Reddit).

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

SCOTUS decides whether Title VII’s charge-filing precondition to suit is jurisdictional or non-jurisdictional


If the U.S. Supreme Court decided an employment case, I’m contractually obligated to blog about it. Yet, Ford Bend County, Texas v. Davis, which it decided earlier this week, is of little practical import.

To file a private employment discrimination lawsuit under one of the federal employment discrimination statutes, a plaintiff must first exhaust his or her remedies by filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

What happens, however, if the employee skips over the EEOC and proceeds straight to court? Does that court even have jurisdiction over the claim, or is the omitted EEOC filing merely an affirmative defense for an employer to raise in seeking dismissal of the lawsuit?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The three things you need to know from the EEOC's 2018 charge data


Yesterday, the EEOC released its charge statistics for 2018. There are three big things you need to know.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Compliance-by-carrot trumps compliance-by-stick


Democratic administrations are about enforcement.
Republican administrations are about education.

The endgame is still enforcement, but each side approaches this goal very differently.

This dichotomy might be an oversimplification, but, in at least in contrasting the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration, it is very true.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Temporary employees have permanent legal rights


Temporary employees do not leave their legal rights at your door. In fact, they enjoy the same rights as your permanent employees.

Consider, for example, EEOC v. Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, in which an employer recently agreed to pay $65,000 to settle claims brought by a temporary employee that she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment and fired after repeatedly complaining about it.

The allegations are not pretty.

LaToya Young began working as a temp at Massimo Zanetti in late January 2015. Within 10 days of starting her placement, a male co-worker began making sexually harassing comments to her:

  • Telling Young that he had "blue balls" and asking her "Why don’t you help me out with that?"
  • Telling Young that he wanted to "suck [her] bottom lip."
  • Telling Young that he wanted to have sex with her, often using lewd language.
  • Telling Young that he imagined himself engaging in sexual relations with her.
  • Telling Young that he would "ball [her] up like a pretzel" and would "have [her] screaming."
  • Grabbing his groin area while looking directly at her.
  • Blowing kisses at her.
  • Licking his lips and biting his bottom lip while looking at her.

Young complained three times to her supervisor. The harassment continued unabated after the first complaint. After the second complaint, Young alleges that her supervisor warned her that going to HR "would jeopardize her employment." After the third complaint, she was fired. 

According to EEOC Regional Attorney Kara Haden, "Employers must take appropriate action to stop harassment of all employees, including temporary workers." She adds, "We hope that this case sends a clear message that the EEOC will hold accountable employers who fail to protect all employees from workplace harassment."

Take heed of this lesson. Your temporary employees have the same civil rights as your permanent employees.


* Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash

Thursday, June 28, 2018

As our workforce ages, age discrimination is only going to worsen


Happy Golden Birthday, Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

On June 13, 2018, the ADEA turned 50.

To commemorate this milestone, the EEOC just released a report entitled The State of Older Workers and Age Discrimination 50 Years After the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Thursday, November 9, 2017

9.8 million reasons to consider transferring a disabled employee to a vacant position


Photo by Taber Andrew Bain
Licensed via Creative Commons 
Earlier this month, American Airlines agreed to pay $9.8 million to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC.

The agency claimed that the employer’s return-to-work policy—which allegedly refused to consider transfers to open positions for disabled employees, but instead required the employees to apply for and compete for vacant position upon their return to work—violated the ADA.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Dads are parents, too — baby bonding and sex discrimination


Should new dad’s receive the same amount of time off from work to bond with their newly born child as do women? That is the question at the center of a lawsuit the EEOC recently filed against cosmetics giant Estée Lauder.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Letter to employees during EEOC investigation may violate discrimination laws


Suppose an employee files an EEOC charge of discrimination against you. And, further suppose that during the investigation, you receive a request from the agency for the name and contact information for all similarly situated employees. You correctly assume at the EEOC may use the information to contact your employees for investigatory interviews.

Do you—
  1. Allow the EEOC process to proceed; or
  2. Inform your employees of the nature of the charge, the EEOC investigation, that the EEOC may contact them, and that their participation would be 100 percent voluntary?
If you choose option “2”, you may have violated federal discrimination laws, at least according to a Connecticut federal judge.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

6th Circuit grants EEOC broad subpoena powers


The Witch: I’m not a witch! I’m not a witch!
Sir Bedevere: But you are dressed as one
The Witch: *They* dressed me up like this!
Crowd: We didn’t! We didn’t…
The Witch: And this isn’t my nose. It’s a false one.
Sir Bedevere: [lifts up her false nose] Well?
Peasant 1: Well, we did do the nose.
Sir Bedevere: The nose?
Peasant 1: And the hat, but she is a witch!
Crowd: Yeah! Burn her! Burn her! 
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
How wide of a net is the EEOC entitled to cast when issuing a subpoena for documents during an investigation? According to EEOC v. United Parcel Service, decided earlier this month by the 6th Circuit, the answer is a lot wider than you’d like.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Will new EEOC Chair usher in sweeping changes?


With a change in administrations comes a change at the head of various federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency’s new chairperson, Victoria Lipnic, an EEOC Commissioner since 2010, is a Trump appointed Chairperson. So, with an eventual Republican-majority EEOC, will she undo the pro-employee policies of the Obama Democratic majority EEOC of the past eight years?


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mandatory flu shots cost employer bigly


You may recall that in September I reported on a lawsuit the EEOC filed against a Pennsylvania hospital, alleging that it unlawfully fired six employees after denying their request for a religious exemption from the flu vaccine.

How did that case turn out for the employer? Not well. From the EEOC:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

When a self-fondling supervisor earns the nickname “Mr. Bojangles,” it’s not going to end well


The EEOC reports that it has sued Goodwill Industries of the East Bay Area for sexual harassment and disability discrimination, following allegations made by disabled female nightshift janitors against their supervisor. The allegations are … disturbing:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

“Perceived” national origin discrimination may not be illegal, but…


Lost in the maelstrom of the last week’s FLSA overtime rule injunction was the news that the EEOC issued updated enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination.

The guidance, which replaces the EEOC’s older 2002 guidance and covers topic such as citizenship, language issues and English-only policies, and harassment, is recommended reading for all employers, as are the EEOC’s companion Q&A and small business fact sheet.

Let me point out, however, one area of contention—the issue of “perceived” national origin discrimination.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Federal court recognizes LGBT employment discrimination as illegal under Title VII


It’s been more than a year since the EEOC first announced that it would accept LGBT-discrimination charges as sex-discrimination charges under Title VII. Last week, the EEOC finally got a federal court to agree with its position in a LBGT-discrimination-is-sex-discrimination lawsuit.