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The Modern Workplace

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently extracted a multi-million dollar settlement from the Social Security Administration (SSA) for claims of pay disparities based on race. This signals a more aggressive approach to pay equity analysis and claims by the EEOC and other federal enforcement agencies - including the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) which is the US Department of Labor arm charged with the enforcement of affirmative action compliance by federal contractors and their applicable subcontractors. In the EEOC settlement ...

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On May 24, 2024, Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz signed legislation amending the Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law that went into effect earlier this year on January 1, 2024. As a recap, the ESST law requires that employers provide each employee who works at least 80 hours per year in Minnesota at least one hour of paid sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, up to at least 48 hours of accrued ESST a year. The law permits accrual or frontloading methods for providing ESST, with different roll-over requirements of unused time depending on the method used. 

While there are ...

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Colorado recently amended its CROWN Act of 2020 to include hair length as a protected characteristic for purposes of the state’s nondiscrimination law.

By way of background, in 2017, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when it held that the defendant “…banning dreadlocks in the workplace under a race-neutral grooming policy—without more—does not constitute intentional race-based discrimination.” EEOC v. Catastrophe Management Solutions, 876 F.3d 1273 (11th Cir. 2017). Seeing a ...

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On April 23, 2024, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced the issuance of a final Noncompete Clause Rule that would, if it goes into effect, ban future employment noncompete agreements and render most existing noncompete agreements void and unenforceable throughout the country. Our firm previously issued a number of alerts discussing the Noncompete Clause Rule.

When the Noncompete Clause Rule was announced, the rule was set to be effective 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register. On May 7, 2024, the rule was published in the Federal Register, which ...

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At the end of April 2024, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published its final guidance on harassment in the workplace, “Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace” (“Guidance”). The Guidance is lengthy, with 387 footnotes, and it contains 77 examples and scenarios of various types of unlawful harassment according to the EEOC. The EEOC’s examples include harassing conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; sexual orientation; and gender identity), national ...

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Posted in Discrimination

How should an employer react if an employee claims that mandatory anti-discrimination training conflicts with the employee’s religious beliefs? Two recent EEOC decisions shed some light on this question. In both cases, the employer provided mandatory training on treating co-workers and customers with dignity and respect to prevent discrimination and harassment. In one case, an employee sought to be excused from any portion of the training which discussed LGBTQI+ issues because he asserted that this conflicted with his sincerely held Catholic religious beliefs. In the other ...

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In recent announcements to the media and otherwise, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provided the following information which should be of interest to all employers:

  • 2023 EEO-1 Reports – The 2023 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection will open on Tuesday April 30, 2024. The DEADLINE for employers covered by the EEO-1 requirements to file their 2023 EEO-1 Component 1 report is Tuesday June 4, 2024.  The 2023 EEO-1 Component 1 Instruction Booklet is available here.

It appears that any further consideration of resurrecting the Component 2 pay data collection has been ...

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Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision in Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC holding that whistleblowers are not required to prove their employer acted with “retaliatory intent” to be protected under the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”). Instead, whistleblowers only need to prove that their protected activity was a “contributing factor” in the employer’s adverse personnel action against them.

Congress enacted SOX to prohibit publicly traded companies from retaliating against employees who report what they reasonably believe ...

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Posted in Discrimination

Employers with employees located in the states falling within the jurisdiction of Fifth Circuit federal courts (e.g. Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) should take note of an important federal appellate ruling impacting Title VII discrimination claims. On August 18, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, issued a ruling in Hamilton v. Dallas County (Hamilton) that reversed decades of case precedent within the Circuit and changed the requirements for the ”adverse employment action” element of a Title VII discrimination claim to be in line with other federal ...

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The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a final rule revising its guidance on how to analyze whether a worker is properly classified as an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The final rule rescinds the DOL’s 2021 independent contractor rule and takes effect on March 11, 2024.

The FLSA requires, among other things, covered employers to pay nonexempt employees at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay for every hour worked over 40 in a workweek. These FLSA protections do not apply to independent ...

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