Tag: discrimination

The EEOC Reiterates the Importance of the Interactive Process

A recent decision from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reminds employers of their affirmative duty to engage in an interactive process once an employee raises a medical condition and requests some change to their work environment to accommodate it. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act at issue in Harden v. Social … Continue Reading

Why Employers Should Exercise Restraint and Objectivity

Retaliation claims are increasing at an alarming pace. Not only have these claims tripled in number within the last two decades, they now exceed race discrimination as the leading claim filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Click here to see EEOC statistics. Why the startling trend? First, Congress has gone to great lengths to protect … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds Shareholder Hire Preference Not Facially Discriminatory

Meghan M. Kelly also contributed to this post. In an unpublished opinion in Conitz v. Teck Alaska Inc. the Ninth Circuit held that an Alaska Native corporation’s shareholder employment preference was not facially discriminatory because it was based on shareholder status, not racial status.   Teck employee Gregg Conitz works at the Red Dog Mine, … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds “Cat’s Paw” Theory In Employment Discrimination Cases

Today the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Staub v. Proctor Hospital, upholding the "cat’s paw" theory of employer liability, under which employers are liable for discrimination where lower-level supervisors with discriminatory motives influence, but do not make, adverse employment decisions made by higher-level managers.  The near unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Scalia, is likely to … Continue Reading

Supreme Court To Decide Scope of Cat’s Paw in Employment Cases

  Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Staub v. Proctor Hospital to address the question of when an employer may be held liable in “cat’s paw” situations, where an employee with unlawful intent influences a decisionmaker but is not involved in making the ultimate employment decision. In this case the employee, Vincent Staub, was … Continue Reading

9th Circuit: Independent Contractor Can Assert Disability Claim Under Rehabilitation Act

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that an independent contractor may assert a disability claim against an employer under the Rehabilitation Act.  Click the link to read the opinion on Fleming v. Yuma Regional Medical Center.  The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in programs receiving … Continue Reading

New Salt Lake City Ordinances Prohibit Housing and Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

Yesterday the Salt Lake City Council unanimously passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Click here to download a copy of the City Council’s Staff Report on the ordinances, along with full text of the new laws.  Highlights of the employment discrimination ordinance include: Forbids employment discrimination based on … Continue Reading

Oregon BOLI Files Multiple Proposed Rule Changes

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has filed several proposed rules pertaining to labor and employment law, and is inviting public comment.  Click on the title of each to read the proposed rule: Religious worship, child support obligors, physical accommodations for eligible disabilities.  The proposed rules would implement statutes: requiring employers to reasonably accommodate … Continue Reading

GINA Requires Employers to Post Notice, Review Policies and Procedures

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) takes effect November 21, 2009.  Is your workplace ready?  Employers will soon be required to post a notice stating that they do not discriminate on the basis of genetic information, under proposed regulations interpreting GINA. If you don’t already have one, click here to download the full "EEO is the Law" … Continue Reading

New Website for Disability Information

The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy today launched a new website that may be of use to employers seeking information on how to accommodate a disabled worker.  At www.disability.gov an employer can research the applicable law and regulations, get ideas for appropriate reasonable accommodations, and locate additional resources.  For example, clicking here will … Continue Reading

Another Circuit Court Agrees: ADA Amendments Act is Not Retroactive

Congress did not intend for the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) to be retroactive, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled yesterday, and applied pre-ADAAA law to dismiss an employment discrimination claim.  Click here to read the court’s decision in Lytes v. DC Water and Sewer Authority.  Congress passed the ADAAA in 2008 and the new … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Guidance on Severance Agreements and Waivers

Recognizing that severance agreements are becoming more and more prevailant in the down economy, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) yesterday issued a new technical assistance document titled Understanding Waivers of Discrimination Claims in Employee Severance Agreements (click on the title to access the document).  The new document is intended to help both employers and employees navigate … Continue Reading

Oregon Court of Appeals Upholds Employer’s Right to Ask Potentially Disabled Employees to Take Medical Exams

Today in Heipel v. Henderson et al.,  the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment on an Oregon disability discrimination claim in favor of an employer who asked an employee to take an independent medical exam (IME) as part of an investigation into the employee’s disturbing work-related behavior.  The court confirmed that such exams must be "job … Continue Reading

Bus Driver’s “Shy Bladder Syndrome” a Disability

A school bus driver who was demoted after his "shy bladder syndrome" left him unable to comply with his employer’s drug testing procedures may proceed with claims under the Americans with Disabilites Act (ADA) according to a recent ruling from a Tennessee federal court.  Click here to read the full opinion in Melman v. Metropolitan Government … Continue Reading

Ricci v. DeStefano — Supreme Court Holds City Violated Title VII By Rejecting Racially Disparate Test Results

To end its term, the Supreme Court today issued its long awaited opinion in Ricci v. DeStefano–a case that has received extra media attention because Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel that decided the case below. The conservative justices on the Court  reversed the Second Circuit (and by … Continue Reading

Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Is This the Year?

Just in time for Pride Month, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 (ENDA) earlier this week. If passed, ENDA would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  It would also prohibit employers retaliation against employees who oppose such discrimination who participate in any investigation or  proceeding under ENDA. … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Tightens Standards for Age Discrimination Plaintiffs

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that trial courts may not use a "mixed motive" framework in federal age discrimination cases.  Rather, plaintiffs in age discrimination cases must prove that "but for" their age, they would not have been discriminated against.  Click here to read the Court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services.  Under a 1991 … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Clears Pension Plan That Differentiated Pregnancy Leave Prior to the PDA

Today the U.S. Supreme Court held that an employer does not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) if it pays pension benefits based in part on pre-PDA calculations that gave employees less retirement credit for pregnancy leave than for other types of medical leave.  Click here to read the Court’s decision in AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen.  The … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Swine Flu Guidance

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued two helpful resources for employers coping with the Swine Flu outbreak. First, the Commission has issued this technical assistance document on ADA-Compliant Employer Preparedness For the H1N1 Flu Virus.  It answers basic questions about workplace preparation strategies for the 2009 H1N1 flu virus (swine flu) that are compliant … Continue Reading

Age Discrimination Claims on the Rise

According to the Wall Street Journal, discrimination filings with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) went up 15 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, and age discrimination suits in particular showed a dramatic 29 percent increase over the previous year.  Click here to read the WSJ Article.  The conventional wisdom is that discrimination claims go up … Continue Reading

EEOC Proposes Regulations for Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

Today the EEOC published its proposed regulations on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).  Click here to download the proposed regulations.  Interested members of the public have 60 days (or until May 1, 2009) to comment on the new regs. GINA, passed by Congress last year, prohibits the improper use of genetic information in health insurance … Continue Reading

Feisty, Spry and Grandmotherly: Ageist Terms to Avoid?

What do terms like "feisty," "spry," "elderly" and "grandmotherly" have in common?  Yes, they are commonly used to refer to older people; but they can be used to express derogatory stereotypes about someone because of age.  An article in today’s New York Times, "Goodbye Spry Codgers, So Long Feisty Crones," reports that two groups, the International … Continue Reading

Senate Passes Lilly Ledbetter Bill 61-36

The Senate voted 61-36 yesterday to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is intended to overturn a U.S. Supreme Court decision that limited the time frame for bringing pay discrimination claims.  The bill now will have to be reconciled with the House’s version of the bill (H.R. 11), approved on a 247-171 vote Jan. 9, before … Continue Reading
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