After reviewing the EEOC’s newly-approved Strategic Enforcement Plan, there are no surprises for employers when it comes to identifying where to concentrate their EEO compliance efforts for the next four years.
But one of the areas the EEOC intends to focus on did come as a surprise: enforcement of equal pay laws.
Why was it a surprise? Enforcement of equal pay laws was added to the strategic plan at the last minute. Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
Same stuff; different year.
In 2010, an Ohio temp agency paid $650,000 as part of a Consent Agreement with the EEOC to settle claims that it had used code words in considering and assigning (or declining) job applicants. The code include words such as “chocolate cupcake” for young African American women, “hockey player” for young white males, “figure skater” for white females, “basketball player” for black males, and “small hands” for women in general.
Fast forward to today … Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
Thus far, you’ve managed to keep your equal-employment-opportunity nose clean.
Good for you. In fact, with the economy the way it is, combined with the dwindling resources available to our federal agencies — including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — your odds of facing a federal investigation based on a complaint of discrimination or harassment are fairly slim.
On Tuesday, the EEOC announced its Strategic Enforcement Plan. And within that plan, you’ll find six areas of EEOC focus over the next four years: Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
This case is so captivating that, at 35 pages long, it held my attention for 24 of them. Winning!
I’ll whet your whistle with the opening paragraph of EEOC v. The McPherson Cos., Inc.:
This Title VII case revolves around repeated churlish, childish, gross, sordid, vulgar, foul, disgusting, profane utterances in the workplace. The question in the case, however, is not how vile and obnoxious this workplace language was. It was vile and obnoxious enough to score nine on a scale of ten. This will become apparent as the story unfolds. The question for the court is rather whether this verbal mayhem morphed from a competition to see who could beat whom in the foul-mouth game into a cause of action under Title VII by an offended employee for same-sex sexual harassment.” Read more…
In honor of this auspicious occasion, I thought it might be helpful to remind everyone of workplace requirements in place to protect all of our wonderful veterans and those currently serving in the military:
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released a new Q&A Fact Sheet on domestic/dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
What’s it all about?
The document starts by recognizing that no federal EEO law specifically prohibits “discrimination against applicants or employees who experience domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.” It then provides examples of such situations where Title VII and the ADA “may apply.”
What should employers avoid doing?
The EEOC groups the examples into the following categories. Read more…
In one of the largest language discrimination settlements ever negotiated by the EEOC, a California hospital agreed to pay almost $1 million to settle a case over its English-only policy.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Delano Regional Medical Center will pay $975,000, revise its language policy, conduct anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all staff and especially supervisors, hire an EEO monitor, and file periodic reports with the EEOC.
The case stems from allegations by 69 Filipino-American workers at the hospital that they, alone among employees who spoke other languages, were harassed and disciplined for speaking, even among themselves, in Tagalog, Llocano or other languages common in the Philippines. Read more…
Now’s your chance: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released for public comment a draft of its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). Details on how to comment are below.
What does the Strategic Enforcement Plan propose? Calling this “an opportune moment to aim for bold and transformative change,” the EEOC identifies the following key priorities: Read more…
Do you tell employees to refrain from discussing internal investigations? You might be violating the law, according to both the EEOC and the NLRB.
The typical approach
For years, employment lawyers have advised their clients to conclude investigatory interviews with a statement like, “You are hereby instructed to keep what we discussed strictly confidential.”
That approach could now land you in court. Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
In Mann v. Staples, Inc., a female employee received unwelcome comments about her appearance and physique, was kissed and groped, and called a “skank ass bitch.”
The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, described this as a “pattern of systemic sexual harassment” — one in which the alleged harasser appeared to have never received any anti-harassment training.
So, what did the court do? It affirmed summary judgment for the employer and dismissed the plaintiff’s Complaint.
What?!? Read more…