Retail Labor and Employment Law

Retail Labor and Employment Law

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Category Archives: EEOC

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Top Issues of 2016 – Featured in Employment Law This Week

The new episode of Employment Law This Week offers a year-end roundup of the biggest employment, workforce, and management issues in 2016:

  • Impact of the Defend Trade Secrets Act
  • States Called to Ban Non-Compete Agreements
  • Paid Sick Leave Laws Expand
  • Transgender Employment Law
  • Uncertainty Over the DOL’s Overtime Rule and Salary Thresholds
  • NLRB Addresses Joint Employment
  • NLRB Rules on Union Organizing

Watch the episode below and read EBG’s Take 5 newsletter, “Top Five Employment, Labor & Workforce Management Issues of 2016.”

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EEOC Targets Religious and National Origin Discrimination Against Individuals Who Are, or Are Perceived to Be, Muslim or Middle Eastern

The EEOC has released several new guidance tools, for both employers and employees, focused upon religious and national origin discrimination against people who are (or are perceived to be) Muslim. This focus on religious and national origin discrimination is particularly important for retail employers because retailers often require employees to follow dress codes or work at times that may conflict with religious observance.

In December 2015, EEOC Chair Jenny Yang released a statement highlighting the need for employers to “remain vigilant” in light of the recent terrorist attacks. Yang commended employers that have “taken steps to issue or re-issue policies … Continue Reading

Retailers Navigate Conflicting Laws Regarding Transgender Protections

On March 23, 2016, the North Carolina Legislature passed House Bill 2, the “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act” (“HB2”), that overturned a Charlotte ordinance extending anti-discrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) individuals and allowing transgender persons to use the bathroom of their choice. Instead, HB2 requires individuals to use public bathrooms that match the gender listed on their birth certificates. A swift public outcry followed, with many celebrities denouncing the law and canceling appearances in North Carolina, companies threatening to boycott, and the American Civil Liberties Union filing a lawsuit challenging HB2 as unconstitutional and for … Continue Reading

Time To Check That Your Employment Notices Are Properly Posted – EEOC Raises Fines For Notice Posting Violations

The EEOC announced a rule change that will more than double the maximum fine for violating Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)  notice posting requirements. Under the new rule, which is projected to become effective the first week of July, employers will face a maximum penalty of $525 per violation — up from $210.

While most retailers undoubtedly know they must have notices, where the notices are posted matters. The regulations require that they be in a prominent and accessible place where notices to employees and applicants are customarily maintained. For … Continue Reading

San Francisco Paid Parental Leave

On April 5, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a city ordinance requiring businesses which have employees working in the City to offer those employees six weeks of supplemental paid parental leave. If signed by Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco will be the first city in the country to require this benefit.

Current and Proposed Law

Currently, California employees are eligible to take six weeks of partially-paid leave under California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) law to bond with a newborn child or newly placed child for adoption or foster care, among other reasons. Payment is made from a … Continue Reading

New Online Resource Can Help Employers Make Their eRecruiting Technologies Accessible to All Job Seekers

Our colleague Frank C. Morris, Jr., attorney at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Financial Services Employment Law blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the retail industry: “New Online Recruiting Accessibility Tool Could Help Forestall ADA Claims by Applicants With Disabilities.”

Following is an excerpt:

In recent years, employers have increasingly turned to web based recruiting technologies and online applications. For some potential job applicants, including individuals with disabilities, such as those who are blind or have low vision, online technologies for seeking positions can prove problematic. For example, … Continue Reading

EEOC Files First Sexual Orientation Discrimination Suits – Employment Law This Week

The top story on Employment Law This Week is the EEOC’s filing of its first sexual orientation bias suits.

Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination against an individual for sexual orientation. The EEOC concluded that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of unlawful gender discrimination. This month, the agency filed two landmark federal lawsuits seeking to enforce its interpretation of the statute for the first time. The agency is suing on behalf of workers at a company in Baltimore and one in Pittsburgh for harassment based on sexual … Continue Reading

EEOC Unveils New Nationwide Policy for Position Statements – Employment Law This Week

The top story on Employment Law This Week is the EEOC’s announcement of new nationwide disclosure rules for position statements.

Retroactive to January 1, 2016, employers should expect the disclosure of their position statements to the charging party, even if the statement contains confidential information. Under the new policy, complainants have the right to request access to the statement and respond to it, but any response from the charging party will not be disclosed to the employer in turn. Lauri Rasnick, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, has more on what this means for employers.

View the … Continue Reading

EEOC’s Recent Lawsuits Assert That Unlawful Sex Discrimination Under Title VII Includes Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Laura C. Monaco

Laura C. Monaco

This week, the EEOC filed its first two federal lawsuits that frame allegations of sexual orientation-based harassment and discrimination as claims of unlawful “sex discrimination” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In EEOC v. Pallet Companies the EEOC alleges that an employee’s night-shift manager harassed her because of her sexual orientation by making repeated offensive comments (sometimes accompanied by sexually suggestive gestures), such as “I want to turn you back into a woman” and “I want you to like men again.”  According to the Complaint, the employee was discharged after she complained about … Continue Reading

Fair Pay Law Amendments Pending in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California

Our colleague Nancy L. Gunzenhauser has a Technology Employment Law blog post that will be of interest to many of our retail industry readers: “Three States Seek to Bolster Fair Pay Laws.”

Following is an excerpt:

Following on the tails of recent updates in New York and California’s equal pay laws, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California all have bills pending in their state legislatures that would seek to eliminate pay differentials on the basis of sex and other protected categories. …

While states are leading the charge with updates to equal pay laws, the EEOC is also … Continue Reading

EEOC Implements Nationwide Program to Disclose Employer Position Statements and Supporting Documents

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently implemented nationwide procedures for the release of employer positionConfidential-shutterstock_41997904 statements to Charging Parties upon request.  The new procedures raise concerns about disclosure by the EEOC of non-public personnel and commercial or financial information the employer may disclose to support its position with regard to the Charge.

Before releasing the supporting documents to the Charging Party, the EEOC will review the employer’s submissions and withhold only information the Commission decides should be considered confidential.  The type of information considered confidential by the EEOC includes:

  • Sensitive medical information (except for the Charging Party’s medical information)
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EEOC Releases FY2015 Data – Employment Law This Week

The top story on Employment Law This Week is the EEOC’s release of fiscal year 2015 enforcement data.

Retaliation claims were once again the number one type of charge filed, up 5% from last year for a total of 44.5% of all charges. Race claims were second, making up 34.7% of claims. 30.2% of charges alleged disability discrimination, up 6% from last year. Ronald M. Green from Epstein Becker Green (EBG) gives more detail on what’s behind the numbers.

View the episode below or read recent comments about the EEOC’s release, from David W. Garland of EBG.

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EEOC’s Electronic Charge System: Phase I – Respondent’s Portal

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) created the Action Council for Transformation to a Digital Charge System (“ACT Digital”) to enable the electronic submission of documents between the parties to a Charge of Discrimination and the EEOC.  Phase I of the system allows an employer against whom a Charge of employment discrimination has been filed to electronically interact with the EEOC through its online service for respondents, the EEOC Respondent Portal.  The pilot program for Phase I began in May 2015 in the Commission’s Charlotte and San Francisco field offices and rolled out to other offices, including Denver, Detroit, … Continue Reading

EEOC Rules Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation Illegal Under Title VII

In the wake of several high-profile wins for the LGBT community, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) added employment discrimination protection to the list.  On July 16, 2015, the EEOC ruled that discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation is prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) as discrimination based on sex.

The EEOC held that “[s]exual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination because it necessarily entails treating an employee less favorably because of the employee’s sex.”  The EEOC noted that sex-based considerations also encompassed gender-based considerations under Title VII. This ruling, if … Continue Reading

Five EEOC Initiatives to Monitor on the Agency’s Golden Anniversary

My colleague Nathaniel M. Glasser recently authored Epstein Becker Green’s Take 5 newsletter.   In this edition of Take 5, Nathaniel highlights five areas of enforcement that U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) continues to tout publicly and aggressively pursue.

  1. Religious Discrimination and Accommodation—EEOC Is Victorious in New U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
  2. Transgender Protections Under Title VII—EEOC Relies on Expanded Sex Discrimination Theories
  3. Systemic Investigations and Litigation—EEOC Gives Priority to Enforcement Initiative
  4. Narrowing the “Gender Pay Gap”—EEOC Files Suits Under the Equal Pay Act
  5. Background Checks—EEOC Seeks to Eliminate Barriers to Recruitment and Hiring

Read the Full Take 5Continue Reading

Private Employers Likely to Face Gender Identity Discrimination Claims as Federal Government Continues to Expand Title VII Protections to Transgender Employees

Since we last reported on the 2012 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) decision in Macy v. Holder,[1] the federal government has continued to extend protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) to transgender employees.  In July 2014, President Obama issued Executive Order 13672, prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Two months later, in September 2014, the EEOC filed its first-ever lawsuits alleging sex discrimination against transgender employees under Title VII.  Shortly thereafter, in December 2014, outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released … Continue Reading

April 22 Complimentary Webinar Concerning EEOC Wellness Regulations

To register for this complimentary webinar, please click here.

I’d like to recommend an upcoming complimentary webinar, “EEOC Wellness Regulations – What Do They Mean for Employer-Sponsored Programs? (April 22, 2015, 12:00 p.m. EDT) presented by my Epstein Becker Green colleagues Frank C. Morris, Jr. and Adam C. Solander.

Below is a description of the webinar:

On April 16, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released its long-awaited proposed regulations governing employer-provided wellness programs under the American’s with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Although the EEOC had not previously issued regulations governing wellness programs, the EEOC has filed … Continue Reading

Three Lawsuits Brought by the U.S. EEOC Challenge Employer Separation Agreements

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC” or “Agency”) has been spending a fair amount of time in recent months challenging the validity and legality of employers’ separation agreements. This is apparently part of the EEOC’s core priorities, including “targeting policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes, or which impede the EEOC’s investigative or enforcement efforts.” Retail employers have not been exempted from the agency’s scrutiny. A summary of recent lawsuits follows:

EEOC v. Baker & Taylor

In a complaint filed last year in Illinois, EEOC v. Baker & Taylor, … Continue Reading

Third Time’s The Charm: Abercrombie & Fitch Prevails on Tenth Circuit Appeal After Settling Two Religious Discrimination Suits with EEOC

By Amy Messigian

After settling two religious discrimination suits with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) last month, clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch scored a big win this week in another religious discrimination case before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal, which found that the EEOC did not prove its failure to accommodate claim for a Muslim job applicant denied hire by an Abercrombie store in Oklahoma because she wore a hijab (a religious headscarf), reversing a lower court.

Ordering judgment for Abercrombie, the Tenth Circuit found that the EEOC failed to show that the applicant neither informed Abercrombie of … Continue Reading

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