Law and the Workplace

Category Archives: Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

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New York Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Cannabis and the Workplace

The New York State Department of Labor (“NYDOL”) has issued FAQ guidance addressing common questions regarding recreational cannabis use by employees in and outside of the workplace in light of the enactment earlier this year of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (“MRTA”). The MRTA legalized the use of recreational marijuana for individuals ages 21 … Continue Reading

Louisiana Enacts Workplace Protections for Employees Disabled Due to Pregnancy and Limits the Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring

Louisiana employers should be aware of two new laws which went into effect on August 1, 2021.  The first, Act 393, provides for reasonable accommodations of employees who become temporarily disabled due to certain pregnancy-related medical conditions.  It amends Louisiana Revised Statutes §§ 23:341 and 23:342 and enacts § 23:341.1, which apply to employers who … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccines

On December 16, the EEOC issued updated guidance for employers in light of the Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) recent authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.  Widespread vaccinations are largely perceived as critical in returning all employees to the workplace safely and resuming normal business operations.  As such, many employers have been grappling … Continue Reading

December 31, 2020 Deadline Looms for Illinois Employers to Conduct Sexual Harassment Training

As we have previously noted, effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Human Rights Act requires Illinois employers to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training by December 31, 2020, and on at least an annual basis thereafter.  Such training must comport with the minimum requirements established by the Illinois Department of Human Rights’ (“IDHR”) model … Continue Reading

[Podcast]: OFCCP Opens Hotline for Complaints of Race and Sex Stereotyping in Workplace Training

In this episode of The Proskauer Brief, partners Harris Mufson and Guy Brenner discuss the Trump administration’s recent Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, which restricts the concepts that government contractors can include in their employee diversity and awareness training programs.  It also imposes certain penalties and sanctions, including debarment for failure to comply. Tune … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Its COVID-19 Guidance (Again)

EEOC sealOn September 8, 2020, the EEOC released an updated technical assistance document addressing COVID-19 and the federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the agency, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Our previous posts about the EEOC’s prior COVID-19 guidance are available here and here. The updated guidance includes 18 new questions and answers, most of … Continue Reading

EEOC Releases Guidance on Employee Opioid Use and the ADA

Pill BottleThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has released new informal guidance directed at employees regarding use of opioids and employer obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The EEOC also released a companion document for health care providers on helping patients who have used opioids to remain employed. The guidance defines “opioids” to include … Continue Reading

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
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