Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964

Amanda Haverstick and Tsedey Bogale wrote a new article on Forbes.com discussing the recently issued Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Fact Sheet and Question-and-Answer Guide (the Guides). In the Guides, the EEOC reinforces its long-held, hard stance on employers’ duty to accommodate employee religious expression and appearance in the workplace.

To read the full article,

In an April 20, 2012 decision, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) solidified its intended protection of transgender employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC made it clear that an employer that discriminates against an employee or applicant on the basis of that person’s gender identity violates Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibitions. Because transgender people lack protection from adverse employment decisions in 34 states, this EEOC decision is a watershed moment for the transgender community. It also highlights the broad range of protected categories that could subject employers to more liability for discrimination.
Continue Reading Transgender Protection Under Title VII Announced by EEOC

President Obama has signed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (H.R. 3326). Section 8116 of that Act significantly restricts the ability of defense contractors and subcontractors to enter into or enforce agreements that require employees or independent contractors to arbitrate certain claims.

In particular, section 8116 provides that no funds appropriated

In one of its most significant employment discrimination decisions in years, the U.S. Supreme Court held this week that if an employer discovers that a test it has given to employees would screen out a statistically significant number of women or minorities, the employer cannot scrap the test based on a fear that it will be sued for discrimination by those who did not pass the test, unless it can show a “strong basis in evidence” that it would actually lose such a suit. Throwing out the test results without such a showing, the Court held, would unlawfully discriminate against those who did well on the test based on their race or sex. Ricci v. DeStefano, Nos. 07-1428 and 08-328 (June 29, 2009).


The City of New Haven, Connecticut (the “City”), used a written test to help decide which firefighters would be eligible for certain promotions. The results showed that the test had a statistically significant adverse effect on African-Americans. Not only was the passing rate for black firefighters only about half of what it was for whites, but also none of the employees with top scores – the only ones eligible for promotion under City rules – was black. Concerned that using the test would lead black employees to file, and probably win, a suit alleging that the test had a discriminatory “disparate impact” based on race, the City decided not to use the test. In what likely appeared to the City as a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” it was then sued by 18 firefighters (17 whites and one Hispanic) who had passed the test, alleging that the City had discriminated against them, based on race, by refusing to use the test and thus denying them a chance at promotions.Continue Reading Supreme Court Creates New Risk For Employers Who Use Tests or Other Screening Devices

Acting swiftly on one of his campaign promises, President Obama today signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (S. 181). The new law will increase the number of pay discrimination claims, make them much more difficult to defend, and force employers to retain records relating to compensation decisions far longer than they have in the past. In