EEOC Says Use of Service Dog is ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ under ADA

| posted in Blog

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued an employer for refusing to hire a job applicant because he used a service dog. In the complaint filed in March, the EEOC accused the employer of failing to accommodate, refusing to hire and retaliating against the man who’d applied for a truck driver position. The action illustrates just how broadly the EEOC construes the Americans with Disabilities Act when it comes to individuals who rely on service or comfort animals to cope with their disabilities. In the case at hand, the applicant had been admitted to driver training with the trucking firm’s…
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Respond quickly and effectively to harassment, discrimination complaints

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Employers need to respond swiftly when employees complain about discrimination or harassment and the response must be effective, a U.S. District appeals court has held. When a company addresses workplace it is responsible for ensuring that its solution will stave off further harassment or discrimination, a court of appeals has held in a case of a father and son who were eventually fired after complaining about harassment. The case illustrates the need for an employer to not only act swiftly to respond and investigate claims of harassment or discrimination, but also to ensure that any remedies that are put in…
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EEOC Eyes Employer Actions against Prescription Drug Users

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By now you will be aware of the scourge of opioid abuse that’s swept the country over the past decade and the damage it is doing to individuals and families. Overdoses from legal prescription drugs – mostly opioids and other strong pain relievers – last year surpassed overdoses from street drugs like heroin for the first time. However, some employers are going too far in trying to prevent employees from taking certain medications while on the job and have as a result run afoul of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As you would enter an interactive process when trying to…
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EEOC’s Data Collection Proposal Could Spike Litigation against Employers

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A new proposal by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect pay data from all organizations with more than 100 employees would likely open up employers to further litigation and regulatory actions. The EEOC says it wants to use this data to identify areas of possible pay discrimination. But this fresh trove of data would likely lead to litigation by employees who feel they are underpaid compared to their colleagues, and to administrative actions, according to employment law attorneys. The commission already uses so-called EEO-1 reports to collect demographic data about employers’ workers, such as race, ethnicity, sex, and…
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Federal Agencies Stepping up Audits. Here’s What They Are Looking at

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As the Affordable Care Act takes hold further, government agencies are stepping up their audits of health plans across the country. With many employers still unclear over exactly what they need to do to fully comply with all of the sections of the ACA – from providing affordable insurance to reporting on their plans – the risk is great that you may be found not in compliance at least in some area. There are a number of government entities that are responsible for auditing employer health plans, and they all have different areas of responsibility: Department of Labor (DOL) •…
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Telecommuting Not Required for ADA ‘Accommodation’

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A federal appeals court recently ruled that telecommuting is a reasonable accommodation for disabled workers, but employers do not have to honor such requests if they have business or strategic reasons for not permitting such arrangements. The April 2015 decision by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the EEOC v. Ford Motor Co. is an excellent illustration of how employers can deal with requests for telecommuting as part of your obligation to accommodate disabled workers. If you are amenable to telecommuting and an employee requests it, you have an easy situation, but if you do not want employees…
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EEOC Opens up New Discrimination Class: Sexual Orientation

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

In a step that creates a new protected class, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal under federal law. The ruling is significant since it essentially sets the stage for employers being susceptible to a new class of lawsuits, opening up an additional area of liability. While discrimination based on sexual orientation is not spelled out in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it does bar sexual discrimination and the commission ruled that “an allegation of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is necessarily an allegation of sex…
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