Archives: Discrimination

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Attention Texas employers: Starting September 1, 2021, companies with just one employee—as well as individual supervisors and coworkers—can be liable for sexual harassment

The effects of the #MeToo movement for employers continue with Governor Abbott recently signing two new bills into law (effective September 1, 2021) that greatly amplify legal protections against sexual harassment. One bill extends the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims from 180 days to 300 days. The other opens the door for small … Continue Reading

Virginia adopts new laws effective July 1 that continue to transform the employment landscape

Following last year’s wave of new employment laws (previously covered as follows: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), Virginia has adopted a variety of new laws that will take effect July 1 and continue to transform the Commonwealth’s employment law landscape. Virginia employers should carefully review these new laws to ensure compliance in this … Continue Reading

Biden’s pay equity priority: federal and state updates, and what federal contractors can expect going forward

Federal contractors and other employers should anticipate greater scrutiny related to their compensation policies and practices as a result of recent policy shifts. President Biden has made it clear that a key priority of his administration is closing the gender and racial wage gap that currently exists in the United States, and that he plans … Continue Reading

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing blesses employers’ use of mandatory vaccination policies

Recently the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) released guidance stating that employers generally may require their employees to receive a Food and Drug Administration approved vaccination against COVID-19. Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an employer may implement a mandatory vaccination policy so long as the employer: Does not discriminate … Continue Reading

New Jersey legalizes recreational marijuana use: What this means for employers

On February 22, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (NJCREAMMA) and other related bills into law which legalize and regulate recreational cannabis use and possession for adults over the age of 21.  With the enactment of NJCREAMMA, New Jersey now prohibits employers from … Continue Reading

Managing the risks of incentivizing COVID-19 vaccines for employees

The release of the COVID-19 vaccine came as welcome news for employers. With it, however, employers will now confront myriad new questions about how the vaccine will affect workplace terms and conditions. The foremost question across all sectors has been simple: Can and should employers mandate that their employees get vaccinated? While issuing a mandate … Continue Reading

DOL stops enforcing Executive Order 13950 on diversity training

The Biden administration issued new guidance immediately following his Jan. 20 inauguration abrogating former U.S. President Trump’s Executive Order 13950 on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (the Order). Implementation of EO 13950 had previously been stayed by a preliminary nationwide injunction entered Dec. 22, 2020, in California federal court. As a result, federal contractors or … Continue Reading

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County vote to ban discrimination against race-based hairstyles

Last week, the Pittsburgh City Council and the Allegheny County Council unanimously voted to ban discrimination on the basis of race-based hairstyles by passing the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act (known as the CROWN Act). The CROWN Acts amend provisions of the City and County Codes addressing employment, housing, real … Continue Reading

Executive Order 13950 on diversity training: Hidden traps for employers

**Please note this blog has been updated as of January 25, 2021. Read our update here. Beginning November 20, 2020, President Trump’s Executive Order 13950 On Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (“EO 13950” or “The Order”) will fundamentally reshape the way government contractors conduct diversity training.  Signed September 22, 2020, the Order prohibits federal workplace … Continue Reading

Illinois releases guidance regarding reporting rule for sexual harassment and discrimination judgments

On July 14, 2020, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) released guidance for employers regarding the state’s new “adverse judgment or administrative ruling” reporting requirement.  Following amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act, employers with at least one adverse judgment or administrative ruling must disclose to the IDHR the total number of final, non-appealable … Continue Reading

EEOC provides updated guidance related to excluding high-risk workers, required accommodations, and pandemic-based harassment

As we previously posted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDC recently issued guidance on reopening the workplace. In its latest update on June 11, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (the Guidance) to provide further guidance on returning employees to the workplace. Notably, the Guidance covers … Continue Reading

Expanding the definition of sex: SCOTUS rules employers cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (U.S. Jun. 15, 2020), which held that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice … Continue Reading

Virginia adopts a wave of new employment laws. Part 1 – Expansive discrimination and retaliation protections

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that is dominating the news, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law a slew of bills passed by the General Assembly that transform Virginia’s employment laws. Effective July 1, 2020, Virginia’s long-standing status as a business-friendly state with few labor and employment laws will end. These new state … Continue Reading

New Jersey’s wild ride – The status of cannabis user employment protections and how we got here

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently affirmed the reinstatement of an employee’s complaint alleging disability discrimination based on his registered medical marijuana user status, reasoning that the employee was entitled to disability protections despite violating the employer’s drug policies.  This case, as well as recent amendments to the state’s medical marijuana law, indicate that employers … Continue Reading

EEOC stops issuing right-to-sue letters in response to COVID-19, delaying litigation deadlines

In an effort to delay litigation deadlines, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has stopped issuing Right-to-Sue Letters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, unless specifically requested by an employee.  Although the EEOC has not publicly announced its new policy, it has confirmed this practice to several news outlets. The EEOC is the federal agency responsible for … Continue Reading

Supreme Court confirms race discrimination claims under section 1981 require “but-for” causation

On March 23, 2020, in Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American Owned Media, the Supreme Court resolved a circuit split on whether discrimination claims brought under section 1981 require “but-for” causation or whether they can be analyzed under Title VII’s “motivating factor” test. The Court confirmed “but-for” causation is required. The plaintiff in … Continue Reading

California privacy, harassment and discrimination considerations during the coronavirus outbreak

In addition to considerations under federal law and California’s wage and hour laws, California employers should consider privacy, harassment and discrimination laws that are unique to California. California laws tend to be more protective of employees than federal counterparts and these differences may impact how an employer needs to respond to coronavirus concerns. Privacy Unlike … Continue Reading

New Jersey enacts major changes on the independent contractor front

The start of 2020 has already proven to be a busy year for employers in New Jersey. In addition to becoming the first state in the nation to mandate severance payments for mass layoffs, New Jersey has enacted some sweeping changes to its independent contractor laws. Governor Phil Murphy recently signed five bills aimed at … Continue Reading

California extends deadline to file employment claims from one year to three years

Beginning January 1, 2020, an individual’s deadline to exhaust their administrative remedies through advancing a charge of unlawful workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation with the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH) will be extended from one year to three years. Assembly Bill 9, known as the Stop Harassment and Reporting Extension (SHARE) Act, … Continue Reading

The future is now: Employer use of present-day medical information to predict future disabilities does not violate the ADA

The sci-fi film Minority Report envisions the year 2054, when the U.S. government uses predictive foreknowledge of “precogs” to apprehend criminals before their crimes are ever committed, thereby reducing future harm. More than 15 years after the popular film was made, the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Shell v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company arrives … Continue Reading

When do beliefs attract legal protection at work?

An employer is likely to find a wide variety of beliefs held by its employees. We’re all aware that some people hold (and perhaps we share) firm beliefs as regards climate change, and there is certainly a growing trend towards a vegan lifestyle and beliefs. Others may hold beliefs in spiritualism, life after death, and … Continue Reading

NYC Council amends the New York City Human Rights Law definition of covered employer

New York City’s Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) is one of the broadest anti-discrimination statutes in the country. But does it apply to all Big Apple employers, regardless of size? A recent amendment passed by the City Council clarifies precisely which entities are considered “employers” for purposes of the NYCHRL. In its current incarnation, the NYCHRL … Continue Reading

Supreme Court poised to hear oral arguments in blockbuster LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination cases

On October 8, 2019, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in three landmark LGBTQ+ rights cases, which could broaden protections for the LGBTQ+ community by prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation, transgender-status, or gender identity under federal law. Currently, conflicting federal cases and shifts in interpretation and policies at … Continue Reading

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights issues new guidance on immigration status and national origin discrimination

For decades, the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) has provided protections against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived immigration status or national origin. However, last week, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) issued new guidance (the Guidance) that greatly expands the basis on which … Continue Reading
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