Employment Discrimination

While most EEOC enforcement actions are related to individual complaints of discrimination and/or retaliation, so-called “pattern or practice” matters are those in which the EEOC attempts to show that an employer has systematically engaged in discriminatory activities. On September 3, 2020, the EEOC issued an opinion letter clarifying that section 707(a) does not provide a freestanding violation of Title VII, and that claims under section 707(a) are subject to section 706’s pre-suit requirements.
Continue Reading The EEOC Scales Back its Own Enforcement Powers through Clarification of its Interpretation of Pattern or Practice Case Requirements

As part of Virginia’s overhaul of its labor and employment laws, the Commonwealth enacted Virginia Senate Bill 712, which amended the Virginia Human Rights Act to require covered employers to reasonably accommodate the known limitations of an employee as it relates to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless such an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
Continue Reading Virginia’s Pregnancy Accommodation Law Will Require Most Employers to Update Their Policies

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC has periodically released updates to its Technical Assistance Questions and Answers, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.,” These questions and answers have provided employers with much needed guidance on the EEOC’s position on how employers can ensure the safety of their employees while at the same time not running afoul of the ADA.
Continue Reading EEOC Releases New Guidance to Employers on Returning Employees to Work and ADA Compliance

On April 23, 2020, the EEOC updated its Technical Assistance Questions and Answers, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” to address questions that many employers are struggling with related to employee COVID-19 testing.  The EEOC’s new guidance confirms that employers are authorized to administer COVID-19 tests before allowing employees to enter the workplace, and that doing so does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Continue Reading EEOC Confirms Employer-Mandated COVID-19 Testing Does Not Violate the ADA

On Saturday, April 11, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam officially signed the Virginia Values Act into law.  The bill’s headlining purpose—adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of classes protected under the Virginia Human Rights Act—is commendable and has garnered widespread support.  However, other, more technical changes in the bill that are unrelated to the headlining purpose are poised to change the landscape of employment litigation in Virginia and could lead to a significant increase in discrimination lawsuits filed in Virginia’s state courts.  Virginia employers are well served to begin preparing now for this new procedure in the handling of employment discrimination charges and litigation, as the bill’s new provisions go into effect on July 1st.
Continue Reading Virginia Values Act Could Open Floodgate of New Employment Discrimination Cases For Virginia Employers

Dollar General and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a six-year-old Title VII lawsuit.  The EEOC brought its race discrimination claim on behalf of a Charging Party and a class of Black job applicants, alleging that Dollar General’s use of criminal justice history information in the hiring process had a disparate impact on Black applicants.
Continue Reading The EEOC Settles Six-Year-Old Lawsuit Attacking Background Check Policy

This month, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed several employment-related bills into law. The laws go into effect January 1, 2020, and include an extension to the deadline to file certain state discrimination claims and address harassment training and prevention, as well as mandatory arbitration agreements.
Continue Reading New California Laws Increase Employee Protections

The #MeToo movement has placed sexual harassment on the front pages of newspapers, has galvanized some states to reconsider their own sexual harassment laws, and has encouraged employers to take a closer look at their policies and procedures. With such heightened awareness of sexual harassment, employers may feel an inclination to resolve doubts in favor of the accuser.  A recent Second Circuit decision, however, illustrates a counterweight to this outlook.
Continue Reading Sexual Harassment Claims: Follow Policy and Procedure or the Accused May Become the Accuser

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a District Court’s ruling in favor of employer Medtronic, Inc. in a lawsuit alleging Medtronic unlawfully terminated employee Jose Valtierra’s employment because he was morbidly obese, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  In doing so, the Court declined to decide whether morbid obesity is a disability, leaving this issue unsettled in the Ninth Circuit.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Skirts Issue of Whether Obesity is a Qualifying Disability Under the ADA