Law and the Workplace

Category Archives: Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

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Maryland Employers: Deadline Approaching to Submit Sexual Harassment Settlement Information

Quick Hit:  Maryland employers with 50 or more employees must submit information regarding sexual harassment settlements on or before July 1, 2020.  This information must be submitted using a portal on the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights’ (“the Commission”) website, which is available here. More Detail:  Maryland’s Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

In a 6-3 decision authored by Justice Gorsuch on June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court held that Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination “because of…sex” includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Bostock v. Clayton County, No. 17-1618 (590 U.S. ___ (2020). In doing so, the Court made clear that … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Chicago City Council Introduces COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance, Reflecting Growing Trend

The proposed Chicago COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) that was the subject of our post on April 27, 2020, has now become law. The Ordinance prohibits Chicago employers from retaliating against employees for obeying a public health order requiring an employee to remain at home as a consequence of COVID-19.  This reflects a growing trend among … Continue Reading

Responding to COVID-19: Illinois Specific Considerations For Employers

The State of Illinois has taken strong measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on the State of Illinois, on March 20, 2020, the Governor first issued Executive Order 2020-10 directing Illinois citizens to stay at home. The Governor has since issued Executive Orders 2020-32 and 2020-33 extending most of … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Implements Supreme Court’s Young v. UPS Test in Assessing Indirect Evidence of Intentional Pregnancy Discrimination

On a matter of first impression, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit, in Durham v. Rural/Metro Corp., applied the test for indirect evidence of intentional pregnancy discrimination enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Young v. UPS. Background Plaintiff began work in March 2015 as an emergency medical technician (“EMT”) for Rural/Metro Corporation (“Rural”), which provides private … Continue Reading

Illinois Publishes Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Program

On April 28, 2020, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (the “IDHR”) published its model sexual harassment prevention training program, a copy of which is available here. As we have previously noted, effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Human Rights Act requires Illinois employers to train employees on sexual harassment prevention by December 31, 2020, … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Its COVID-19 Guidance

On June 17, 2020, the EEOC issued additional, revised technical assistance to employers, specifically addressing necessary considerations for employers that have employees returning to the workplace who are at higher risk for more severe illness due to COVID-19. This update supplemented the agency’s earlier guidance regarding best practices for diagnostic testing of employees, and the … Continue Reading

U.S. Fifth Circuit Clarifies Position: Later-Verified Charge Can Relate Back To Filing Date

On April 3, 2020, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit in EEOC v. Vantage Energy Services, Inc., No. 19-20541, clarified its interpretation of the relate-back doctrine for administrative charges. The Fifth Circuit reversed a one-sentence Texas district court ruling, which dismissed with prejudice the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) complaint alleging violations of … Continue Reading

Coronavirus Concerns Grow As World Health Organization Declares Pandemic

Coronovirus**Updated March 12, 2020** Declaration of Coronavirus Pandemic by the World Health Organization On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19, but more commonly known simply as the “Coronavirus”), which has spread to over 100 countries and territories.  The WHO … Continue Reading

Virginia Becomes the Fourth State to Ban Discrimination on the Basis of Hairstyles

On March 3, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law HB 1514, which amends the Virginia Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of hairstyles. Specifically, the bill amends the definition of discrimination “because of race” or “on the basis of race” to include discrimination “because of or on the basis of … Continue Reading

Coronavirus Concerns Continue as CDC Issues Additional Travel Notices

CDC LogoAs employers are likely aware, cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19, but more commonly known simply as the “Coronavirus”) continue to spread. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to maintain that the risk to the general U.S. population presently remains low, the CDC is now … Continue Reading

New Jersey to Consider Mandatory Anti-Harassment Training and Other Significant Expansions of the NJ Law Against Discrimination

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has unveiled a sweeping legislative proposal regarding harassment in the workplace, as well as in housing, public accommodations, and business relationships. The proposal would amend the NJ Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) in numerous significant ways. The proposed legislation to a large extent mirrors that which has been introduced in several … Continue Reading

CDC Releases Guidance for Employers Regarding the Coronavirus

CDC LogoAs the recent Coronavirus outbreak continues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance specifically for employers, outlining recommendations and best practices to protect their workplaces. As we previously addressed in detail in our prior blog on Coronavirus and the Workplace, employers may face a number of issues related to the Coronavirus … Continue Reading

Coronavirus and the Workplace: What Employers Need To Know

Coronovirus*** Last Updated: March 13, 2020 *** News that cases of the newly-identified 2019 Novel Coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19, 2019-nCoV, or SARS-CoV-2, but more commonly known simply as the “Coronavirus”) continue to spread has prompted employers to think about employee safety and ways to address prevention in the workplace, as well as planning … Continue Reading

New York City Extends Human Rights Law Protections and Training Requirements to Freelancers and Independent Contractors

NYC Commission on Human RightsEffective January 11, 2020, the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) has been amended to expand protections under the law to freelancers and independent contractors.  Significantly, this includes the requirement that certain contractors now complete annual sexual harassment prevention training in the same manner as covered employees.  Contractors also are now eligible for reasonable … Continue Reading

The Employment Law Landscape in 2020

2019 was a busy year for lawmakers across the nation, underscoring the need for employers to remain apprised of all the new laws that will be taking effect in 2020. Below we summarize some of the significant developments employers should be on the lookout for in the new year. Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Laws On … Continue Reading

New Jersey Becomes the Third State to Prohibit Hairstyle Discrimination

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Create a Respectful and Open Workspace for Natural Hair (“CROWN”) Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants or employees based upon hairstyle. Effective immediately, the CROWN Act amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to define “race” as inclusive of “traits historically associated with race” … Continue Reading

EEOC Rescinds Its Long-Standing Policy Statement On Arbitration Agreements

The EEOC has rescinded its 1997 Policy Statement on Mandatory Binding Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Disputes as a Condition of Employment (the “Policy Statement”), which set forth the Commission’s position that agreements requiring mandatory arbitration of discrimination claims as a condition of employment are contrary to the principles of the federal employment discrimination statutes. In … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Holds Law Firm Partner Not “Employee” Covered by ADEA

On December 3, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the decision of the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri holding that a former equity partner at a law firm was not an “employee” covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). Joseph S. von Kaenel was an … Continue Reading

[Podcast]: California’s Legislative Response to the #MeToo Movement

In this episode of The Proskauer Brief, partners Tony Oncidi and Kate Gold discuss California’s most recent legislative response to the #MeToo movement.  These developments include new restrictions on confidentiality and arbitration as well as the extension of the statute of limitations applicable to harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims.  So be sure to tune in as Tony and Kate … Continue Reading

New York State Enacts Law to Protect Employees’ Reproductive Health Decisions

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill which, effective immediately, prohibits employers from accessing information on employees’ or dependents’ reproductive health without prior consent. Specifically, the new law prohibits an employer from “accessing an employee’s personal information regarding the employee’s or the employee’s dependent’s reproductive health decision making, including but not … Continue Reading

Emerging Trend: ADA Does Not Cover Potential Future Disabilities

Heeding the adage “no one knows what the future may hold,” the Seventh, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits have uniformly refused to extend protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to employees with a perceived risk of a potential impairment. In each case, an employer either declined to hire an applicant or terminated an employee … Continue Reading

Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Issues Guidance on Sexual Harassment Training and Notice Requirements

As we previously reported, Connecticut has enacted the Time’s Up Act (the “Act”), which expanded existing sexual harassment training and notice requirements on employers. Under the new law, employers with three or more employees must provide two hours of interactive sexual harassment training to all existing employees by October 1, 2020, and to all new … Continue Reading

New York State Issues Additional Guidance Following Recent Expansion of Workplace Anti-Discrimination Protections

As we previously reported, on August 12, 2019, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law significant legislation to expand workplace anti-discrimination protections. The State has now updated its FAQs to provide additional guidance on these new requirements. There are several key points now included in the guidance that provide some clarity on employers’ … Continue Reading
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