Category Archives: Employment Discrimination Harassment & Retaliation

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The Secret Is Out: Updates to New York’s Non-Disclosure Law

New York is closing out 2023 by ushering in sweeping amendments to its law governing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in certain settlement agreements. The amendments represent the next step in New York’s ongoing effort to regulate the use of NDAs, particularly when confidentiality is not a complainant’s preference. The changes took immediate effect on November 17, … Continue Reading

LGBTQ+ Protections, Virtual Harassment, and Social Media Posts: The EEOC Updates Its Harassment Guidance for the 21st Century

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published draft enforcement guidance regarding workplace harassment, entitled “Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace.” The proposed guidance sets forth the legal standards applicable to harassment claims under federal law and provides a variety of examples with extensive citations to applicable case law. If made final, this … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Inches Adverse Employment Action Marker Closer to Title VII Goalpost, But Potentially Punts to Supreme Court for the Ultimate Decision

Title VII prohibits discrimination against an individual with respect to their compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, based on certain protected characteristics, but how material must an adverse action or change in status be? Title VII does not define “privileges of employment,” and courts across the country have adopted their own materiality standards for … Continue Reading

Baby on the Way!… And So Are Accommodations for Pregnant Workers

Pregnant workers seeking workplace accommodations can expect a less bumpy ride ahead, due to the delivery of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA protects employees and applicants who have known limitations relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition by requiring employers to provide them reasonable accommodations, absent an undue hardship on … Continue Reading

Let’s “Chat-a-Bot” Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

With the rise of chatbots, such as ChatGPT (OpenAI), Bard (Google), and Claude (Anthropic), and other generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools developing at a rapid pace, employers need to consider whether, and to what extent, employees should be permitted to use them in workplace. On the one hand, there are confidentiality and privacy issues, bias … Continue Reading

Pay Equity Audits For The Pay Transparency Era

In recent years, workplace pay equity has become a priority for many states and cities, as seen by the growing number of pay transparency laws being implemented across the country. In turn, pay equity has become a critical priority for employers. With that, companies are left wondering what steps they need to take to ensure … Continue Reading

How To Be “Smart” About Using Artificial Intelligence In The Workplace

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly revolutionizing the workplace. More and more employers are relying on algorithms or automated tools to determine who gets interviewed, hired, promoted, compensated, disciplined, or terminated. If adequately designed and applied, AI can help employees find employment, match employers with valuable employees, and advance diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in the workplace. … Continue Reading

What’s in Store for the Next Four Years? – Part Two: The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission) recently published its substantive agency enforcement priorities to combat employment discrimination and promote inclusive workspaces over the next four years. The EEOC periodically adopts a multi-year plan to guide fulfillment of its mission to prevent and remedy unlawful discrimination in employment. We discussed the EEOC’s overall … Continue Reading

What’s in Store for the Next Four Years? The EEOC’s Strategic Plan

The EEOC promises to secure greater equitable relief, to better investigate systematic discrimination, and to improve its customer service over the next four years, among other New Year’s resolutions. In its draft EEOC Strategic Plan 2022-2026 (released November 4, 2022), the agency sets forth 3 overarching goals and 15 identified performance measures for the purpose … Continue Reading

LGBTQ+: What’s the Fuss?

The Respect for Marriage Act is now law, upholding recognition of interracial and same-sex marriages, and the U.S. Supreme Court has held that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace is illegal, but what rights do LGBTQ+ employees have in the workplace and how inclusive must employers be? The EEOC’s attempt to provide … Continue Reading

Silenced No More: The Speak Out Act Set To Curb Nondisclosure Agreements For Victims Of Sexual Misconduct

Employers who have made use of pre-dispute nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements will now have to change those practices and reevaluate their existing agreements thanks to the “Speak Out Act” (the “Act”) – a bipartisan piece of legislation born out of the #MeToo movement. The Act, which President Biden recently signed into law, is poised to … Continue Reading

A Reminder of Employer Obligations to Service Members

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision serves as a reminder that employers must not overlook their obligations to reemploy returning service members and accommodate service-related disabilities. The decision concerned whether a state could invoke sovereign immunity, a legal doctrine which prohibits a government from being sued without its consent, to avoid liability under the Uniformed … Continue Reading

Dealing with the Monkeypox Virus at Work

Just as employers have figured out how to navigate the COVID-19 virus, the next one is poised to take hold – the monkeypox virus. Now declared a global and national public health emergency by the World Health Organization and the U.S., the monkeypox virus continues to spread with almost 10,000 cases in the U.S. and … Continue Reading

Service and Support Animals: What Businesses Can and Cannot Do

We have all seen it. The unruly lap dog brought into a restaurant, yipping away, or the big dog running through a store dragging along its owner who, of course, claims it is a “service animal,” even though it clearly is not. Many individuals need and have legitimate service animals, while others need and have … Continue Reading

Employers: Prepare Now for Recession-Based Layoffs

With many economic experts predicting that the U.S. will enter a recession in the near future, employers are preparing for the possibility of significant layoffs. Before making cuts, companies – especially those with remote workers – should be aware of the potential pitfalls and legal ramifications of layoffs, and be prepared to adjust the timing … Continue Reading

It’s All Over but the Crying: Damages for Emotional Injuries Not Available Under Certain Anti-Discrimination Statutes

Healthcare facilities and other entities receiving federal financial assistance can breathe a little easier after a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued last week barring the recovery of emotional damages for certain discrimination claims.… Continue Reading

Employee Terminations: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Firing an employee can be much like breaking up with a significant other– stressful, messy, and awkward. No one wants to be the “bad guy,” and oftentimes it feels kinder to sugarcoat the facts rather than telling an employee the real reason for termination. But those good intentions may land employers in hot water.… Continue Reading

When Can An Employer Require Fitness-For-Duty Exams?

Employers with fitness-for-duty exam requirements for employees returning from medical leaves should take note of a recent decision by a federal court in Massachusetts. In that case, the Court considered whether requiring every employee returning from an extended leave to undergo a fitness-for-duty exam violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).… Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment Complainants Guaranteed Their Day in Court – Employers Beware the Implications

Since the onset of the #MeToo movement, allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace are frequently spotlighted in the news and on social media. Still, many claims between employers and employees are resolved outside of the public eye, through mandatory arbitration. New legislation passed this month by the U.S. House and Senate, pending President Biden’s … Continue Reading

Love is in the Air – And in the Workplace!

If you thought workplace romances vanished with the COVID-19 pandemic, think again.  According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), one-third of 550 U.S. workers said they are or have been romantically involved with a colleague in 2022. That represents an increase over 2020, when 27% of workers acknowledged a … Continue Reading

Objections to COVID-Testing and Asking Vax Status Up Front: Best Practices

Employers are being inundated with employee requests for exemptions, not just from mandatory vaccination policies, but also from policies requiring regular COVID-19 testing. How do employers square their duty to provide a safe workplace with the duty to try to accommodate employees who refuse even to be tested? And can they avoid some of the … Continue Reading

Reminder: Promptly Investigate Harassment Complaints

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the workplace has dominated the headlines recently, employers should be careful not to delay investigating non-pandemic-related complaints—particularly those of harassment. Failing to promptly investigate and correct harassing behavior can be costly. Based on a recent federal appellate court ruling, a month between complaint and action may … Continue Reading

Texas Expands Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment

Texas employers of ALL sizes should be aware that Texas has significantly expanded employee protection for sexual harassment claims with two new bills signed into law by Governor Abbott. The first opens the door for Texas employers of all sizes to be liable for sexual harassment. The second extends the statute of limitations for sexual … Continue Reading

New Federal Guidance: Employers May Offer Incentives for Vaccination

An employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community, according to new guidance issued by the EEOC on May 28, 2021.… Continue Reading
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