The Trump Administration’s Department of Commerce recently removed gender identity and sexual orientation from the list of categories explicitly protected from discrimination. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said that although the exclusion of those categories does not affect LGBT employees at the Department, “it makes the employees feel unwelcome.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that the Civil Service Reform Act protects LGBT federal workers from discrimination based on conduct that does not affect their professional performance, like gender identity or sexual orientation. “Cutting specific mention of sexual orientation and gender identity protections is a slap in the face to LGBTQ federal employees who proudly serve at the Department of Commerce and sadly signals that this administration does not value them,” said David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has accused JPMorgan Chase of violating the Civil Rights Act, stating that the company discriminates against male employees who ask for paternal leave. The plaintiff, Derek Rotondo, applied for sixteen weeks of paternal leave when his wife was pregnant with their second child. JPMorgan’s policy is to grant that amount of paternal leave only to the “primary caregiver.” JPMorgan informed Mr. Rotondo that the company starts from the presumption that the primary caregiver is the child’s birth mother. Because Mr. Rotondo’s wife was a teacher and would have the summer off, JPMorgan would not qualify him as the primary caregiver and would only give him two weeks of parental leave. The ACLU says JPMorgan’s decision violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans sex discrimination in the workplace. Mr. Rotondo’s lawyers make a distinction between medical leave, which can be limited to women affected by childbirth, and parental leave, which they allege must be provided to similarly situated men and women on the same terms. The complaint states: “JPMorgan’s policy relies upon and enforces a sex-based stereotype that women are and should be caretakers of children, whereas men are not and should… Continue Reading Parental Leave Discrimination at JPMorgan Chase
Hester Foods, Inc., which operates a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Dublin, Georgia, recently violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it discriminated against an employee because of her disability, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In July 2015, restaurant manager, Cynthia Dunson, was fired after the Hester Foods’ owner found out she was taking prescribed medication for her bipolar disorder. According to the lawsuit, he referred to her medication in obscene terms and ordered her to flush the medication down a toilet. Ms. Dunson stated she would continue to take her medication upon her doctor’s orders, and she was fired. The EEOC is seeking back pay, punitive damages, and compensatory damages as well as injunctive relief to protect against future discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Nancy Sullivan, an adjunct professor of English at Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, after she was passed over for a full-time faculty position in favor of two substantially younger and less experienced candidates. Ms. Sullivan was 66 and had worked as an adjust professor for five years before she applied for the full-time position. City Colleges of Chicago will pay $60,000 in monetary relief, and the settlement states that City Colleges must train its employees about age discrimination and report to the EEOC any complaints of age discrimination it receives.
Automation Personnel Services, an Alabama-based staffing agency, recently settled a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by a woman who alleged she was denied an employment referral on the basis of her gender. In July 2012, Andrea Williams applied for a shipping and receiving position at APS, but the company would not interview her for the position, allegedly telling her that the job was “not suitable for women” because it was “difficult.” As part of the settlement, APS will pay $50,000 and must actively promote discrimination prevention and provide anti-discrimination training to hiring employees. They are also required to report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission every six months for the next two years.
Palantir Technologies, Inc., a private American software and services company, recently settled a lawsuit brought by the Department of Labor in 2016 that alleged a pattern of discrimination against Asian-American job candidates. As part of the settlement, Palantir will extend job offers to eight applicants involved in the lawsuit and pay $1,659,434 in back wages. Palantir reportedly brought in $1.7 billion in revenue in 2015, but the settlement is in line with other settlements obtained by the Department of Labor recently.
We may joke about the number of “Q-tips” (people with white hair) in our midst, but there is no doubt the population of the United States is aging. The United States Census Bureau predicts that from 2012 to 2020, the numbers of those age 65 and over will increase by 3.1 percent, while those under age 65 will go down by 3.1 percent. This means more workers will be older workers, if we plan to have enough people to fill jobs. “This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act,” said Jeffrey Freedman, managing attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC. “And even though we have an aging population we continue to see age discrimination in the workplace.” In a recent case involving Texas Roadhouse Inc., job applicants over age 40 who applied for front-of-the-house positions (servers, hosts, server assistants and bartenders) were involved in a lawsuit claiming they were denied employment based on their age. Ultimately, Texas Roadhouse and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission came to an agreement resolving the issue. “Texas Roadhouse will pay $12 million to be divided between job applicants who were denied employment due to the company’s policy,” Freedman said. “The company… Continue Reading Old at 40? Food chain pays the price for age discrimination
Four workers at the Filoli Estate in California are suing their former employer on an alleged age discrimination claim and for other unlawful and unfair employment and business practices. The average age of the four former workers is 60. The average age of the four women hired to replace them is 31. Three of the women allege intentional infliction of emotional distress, and the fourth alleges wage-related claims. The complaint states that the women were subjected to “a concerted pattern of abusive behavior,” including being spoken to sarcastically, being asked to perform unreasonable work based on past requirements, and being asked to resign.
When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed initially in 1990, the Act did not provide protections for employees whose cancer went into remission. The law changed in 2009 to allow a worker to file an ADA complaint if he or she experienced discrimination based on the long-term effects of previous cancer. The Journal of Oncology Practice recently published a study that examined the number of ADA allegations filed between 2001 and 2008, before the amendments went into effect, and between 2009 and 2011, after the amendments passed. The study found that employees were more likely to file claims for reasons like forced retirement or denied promotions or workplace retaliations like intimidation or harassment after the amendments passed. But in terms of claims for reasonable accommodation, termination, and hiring, the number of claims remained the same for both periods. Therefore, researchers concluded that employees with histories of cancer filed ADA allegations at the same pace before and after the 2009 amendments. The researchers suggest involving patients’ oncologists in the process since they can provide informed explanations of the employees’ capabilities and help both employees and employers agree on reasonable expectations for workplace performance.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently received approval to move forward with a discrimination lawsuit against Dollar General from 2013. The EEOC claims that Dollar General’s hiring policy based on a job candidate’s criminal history has a disproportionately negative impact on black applicants. Dollar General’s defense was that the lawsuit moved ahead before it had a chance to improve its hiring policies. The U.S. District Judge, Andrea Wood, allowed the case to move forward, but her decision does not guarantee an ultimate victory for the EEOC. The EEOC maintains that all company background check policies should include a formal procedure for how to handle job applicants who fail their background checks to ensure the policy is fair to all candidates.