By Russell D. Chapman
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed its first lawsuit directly challenging the operation of a wellness program.
In EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, the EEOC alleged that the employer imposed a wellness program on its employees in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the complaint filed Aug. 20, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the EEOC claims that the defendant, Orion Energy Systems, administered a wellness program in which employees were asked to complete a health risk assessment, which included questions regarding medical history and blood work. Read more…
By Sandra S. Moran
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s efforts to enforce the 2008 American with Disabilities Amendments Act have certainly not waned as it continues to challenge leave policies.
Armed with a recent $1.35 million settlement to dismiss a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC (EEOC v. Princeton Healthcare System), employers should evaluate their policies and procedures regarding leave to ensure they comply with the ADA.
This is especially true for health care providers, as the EEOC has shown less tolerance for ADA violations in the health care sector given the fact that they expect health professionals to be particularly understanding of those with disabilities. Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on a number of protected classes. Sexual orientation isn’t one of those protected classes specifically listed in the statute.
So, if an employee complains about sexual-orientation harassment and is later fired because she complained, then that won’t create a claim under Title VII. Or does it?
In Bennefield v. Mid-Valley Healthcare, Inc., an employee allegedly complained to her supervisor that a co-worker was creating a hostile work environment by, among other things, calling the employee a “disgusting lesbian” and a “stupid lesbian.” Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
When you gotta go, you gotta go.
In Sanders v. Judson Center, the plaintiff worked for a non-profit human service agency providing services to disabled individuals identified as “consumers.” The plaintiff, who suffered from a heart condition, was prescribed medication designed to get rid of body of fluids.
One night, while transporting two consumers in a van, the plaintiff was overcome with the need to urinate. So, she pulled over at a rest stop to use the bathroom.
The problem was that the two consumers required constant supervision. And, during the plaintiff’s bathroom break, one of the “consumers” wandered off from the van. Read more…
By Ilyse Wolens Schuman
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues, despite reservations expressed by some EEOC Commissioners.
In general, the five-part guidance explains Title VII‘s prohibition against pregnancy discrimination, describes individuals to whom the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) applies, discusses the expanded definition of “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how it applies to pregnancy-related impairments, and sets forth examples of best practices and reasonable accommodations.
The guidance was approved by a 3-2 vote along party lines, with Commissioners Constance Barker and Victoria Lipnic voting against it. Read more…
HR departments are the sentries of the office, with access to sensitive personnel records such as health information, I-9 documents as well as salary details, records that can take up loads of file cabinet space, and not to mention, archived data that is located off site.
But what If you suddenly find yourself asking these questions:
- Is our vast personnel (past and present) data secure?
- How much time is paper-management costing us? Read more…
By Chastity C. Bruno
With today’s advances in technology, more employers have discovered the benefits of permitting employees to work from home – aka telecommuting.
However, the question becomes this: When does an employer have to provide a “telecommuting” accommodation for an employee due to a disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
In 1999, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said that allowing an employee with a disability to work from home may be a reasonable accommodation. The ADA requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide a reasonable accommodation to qualified employees with disabilities. Read more…
In advance of an expected floor vote, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing this week to discuss the merits of the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84).
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski,D-MD, chief sponsor of the legislation, said the Senate needs to “finish the job started by the Lily Ledbetter” Fair Pay Act.
The bill, which has been introduced several times in the last few years but has failed to advance, would make the following changes to current wage law: Read more…
By Ashley Kaplan
We’re only a few months into 2014 and we’re already seeing a swell of labor law activity. What are the most significant developments this quarter – and what should you be watching for the rest of year?
Let’s start with the biggest federal-level legal changes to hit the workplace thus far:
Increase in federal contractor minimum wage
Shortly after delivering his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. Read more…
By Chastity C. Bruno
In recent years, the number of complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding religious discrimination has dramatically increased.
According to the EEOC, there were 1,709 complaints of religious discrimination in 1997 and 3,721 complaints in 2013.
Employers with 15 or more employees need to be cognizant that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees’ and job applicants’ rights to observe their religion through dress and grooming. Read more…