Bass Berry & Sims Labor Talk

Tag Archives: EEOC

U.S. Supreme Court to decide court’s authority to review EEOC’s conciliation efforts

Posted in Discrimination and Harassment Law and Practice, Labor Board Proceedings and Practice

Can an employer challenge whether the EEOC has done its job in defense of a case brought by the EEOC?  The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide that question.  The issue is whether courts have authority to review whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) properly engaged in efforts to “conciliate” a case prior… Continue Reading

Release Language Hazards and How to Fix Them

Posted in Uncategorized

The EEOC has been challenging the legality of releases, attacking certain language that some employers consider standard.  The EEOC responds that it is merely acting consistently with its 1997 Enforcement Guidance on what it considers “non-waivable rights.”  So, what has drawn the EEOC’s adverse attention? 

Rigid Application of Light-Duty Policy May Discriminate Against Pregnant Employees

Posted in Discrimination and Harassment Law and Practice

A federal court recently ruled that an employer’s rigid application of its light-duty policy could be used as evidence of pregnancy discrimination.  The employer had a policy of providing light-duty jobs only to employees with on-the-job injuries, which the Court here, and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in general, have blessed as not showing… Continue Reading

Religious Accommodation ruling Confirms Employment Law Trend Toward Candid Interactive Discussion

Posted in Uncategorized

A federal circuit court’s recent ruling provides more evidence of a prevalent employment law trend that has developed in the last few decades. The trend? Candid interactive communication about an employee’s rights and an employer’s responsibilities. Over the past few decades, attentive employers have seen courts favor those who communicate forthrightly concerns or issues and… Continue Reading

EEOC Continues Aggressive Look at Employer Leave Policies

Posted in Leaves of Absence/FMLA Law and Practice

The EEOC recently announced two multi-million dollar settlements relating to the targeted employers leave of absence practices. In November, the EEOC announced a $4.5m settlement with Interstate Distributor Company, based on claims that the trucking company did not provide reasonable accommodation to scores of employees who were terminated upon exhausting available leave time. The EEOC… Continue Reading

EEOC Approves Strategic Plan, Focus Includes Equal Pay and Systemic Enforcement

Posted in Leaves of Absence/FMLA Law and Practice

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has approved its strategic plan for fiscal years 2013 to 2016 to set the agency’s national enforcement priorities. The Plan identifies the following six national priorities: eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring; protecting immigrant, migrant, and other vulnerable workers; addressing emerging and developing employment discrimination issues; enforcing equal pay… Continue Reading

Requiring Employee to Seek Counseling May Violate ADA

Posted in Uncategorized

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits a covered employer from requiring an employee to undergo a “medical examination,” unless the examination is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an employer’s demand that an employee seek psychological counseling as a condition of continued… Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Guidance on Domestic Violence Responses

Posted in Discrimination and Harassment Law and Practice

The EEOC recently issued guidance on how an employer’s stereotypical responses to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking could run afoul of the discrimination laws. The guidance, here, gives some examples which, to the savvy employer, may appear obvious examples of inappropriate (and unlawful) stereotyping. However, the guidance is worth the read. Why?… Continue Reading

Last Chance Agreements – Asking for Waiver of Discrimination Claims Perilous

Posted in Employment Agreements/Non-Compete Policies and Practice, Union Organizing and Collective Bargaining

Some employers use last chance agreements (“LCA”), particularly in union settings, to allow hourly employees “one last chance” to improve performance.  In return, the employee waives the right to use the union’s grievance and arbitration process if later termination is due to continued failure to improve performance or due to another policy violation.  Employers will… Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Guidance on Criminal Background Checks

Posted in Discrimination and Harassment Law and Practice

On April 25, the EEOC approved enforcement guidance on an employer’s use of criminal background checks in making hiring decisions. By a 4-1 vote, the EEOC clarified that a criminal background check is not unlawful. BUT, the Commission explained its view that the use of criminal histories can be discriminatory in “impact” on minorities and… Continue Reading

Transgender Status Now Protected Under Title VII

Posted in Discrimination and Harassment Law and Practice

The EEOC recently ruled that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination “because of . . . sex” now includes protection for any transgender individual. With this ruling, the EEOC expressly overturns earlier EEOC decisions to the contrary dating back to 1984, 1994 and 1996. Employers should be aware that, according to the EEOC’s current interpretation, any… Continue Reading

Texas Court Rules Against EEOC – “Lactation Discrimination” Is Not Unlawful Sex Discrimination But …

Posted in Discrimination and Harassment Law and Practice, Doing Business in Tennessee, Leaves of Absence/FMLA Law and Practice

A Cautionary Reminder for Employers A Texas Federal Court recently ruled that terminating an employee because she wanted to pump breast milk at work is not sex discrimination.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on behalf of an individual employee who had mentioned her need to pump breast milk at work and soon thereafter was… Continue Reading

ADA Developments – “How Much Leave Is Required?” Is the Wrong Question

Posted in Leaves of Absence/FMLA Law and Practice

Based on recent developments, employers wonder how much leave is really required under the ADA.  It seems that employers with even generous policies and practices have run afoul of the EEOC either in individualized cases, or, worse yet, in class claims. Most recently, Verizon Communications Inc. settled for a record $20 million payout based on… Continue Reading

Why the Renewed Debate on Criminal Background Checks?

Posted in Discrimination and Harassment Law and Practice

The EEOC has renewed the debate recently on an employer’s use of background checks in hiring.  Nothing new right?  You know you cannot use arrest records but only convictions because in this country, all are innocent until proven guilty.  But the renewed debate is whether use of conviction records is unlawfully discriminating against minorities. In… Continue Reading

What are the Protected EEO/Non-Discrimination Categories in Tennessee?

Posted in Discrimination and Harassment Law and Practice, Doing Business in Tennessee

The Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA) applies to employers with eight or more employees within the state and prohibits discrimination based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.  The interpretation and enforcement of the THRA follows closely that of Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The Tennessee Human… Continue Reading