Thousands of workers across the country have filed discrimination claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) since the inception of the Covid-19 pandemic. In an exclusive report, Bloomberg revealed that “[s]ince April 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has received roughly 6,225 Covid-related charges of discrimination under federal civil rights laws” and
Courtney Harper Turkington
Senate Passes Bill Barring Mandatory Arbitration in Sexual Misconduct Cases
In a significant win for the #MeToo movement, the U.S. Senate passed a bill on Thursday, February 10, 2021, which ensures that employees who are sexually harassed or assaulted in the workplace can pursue their claims in court. The bill invalidates pre-dispute agreements that require individuals to arbitrate claims related to sexual harassment or sexual…
United States Supreme Court Halts OSHA COVID-19 Vaccine-or-Test Rule, But Allows CMS Healthcare Worker Vaccine Mandate to Stand
In an opinion that employers across the country have been eagerly anticipating, the United States Supreme Court today issued a per curiam opinion blocking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) rule that would have required roughly 80 million workers to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination or be tested weekly and wear masks to avoid being…
Louisiana Supreme Court Relies on Employment-at-Will Doctrine in Enforcing Private Employer’s Vaccine Mandate
On Friday, January 7, 2022, the Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously upheld a COVID-19 vaccine mandate program that the state’s largest private healthcare system implemented for its employees. Hayes, et al. v. University Health Shreveport, 21-01601 (La. 1/7/22). In doing so, the Court reaffirmed the employment-at-will doctrine, and its decision will likely be cited in…
EEOC Says COVID-19 Can Be a Disability Under the ADA
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced on December 14, 2021, that employees who contract COVID-19 may be protected from discrimination under federal law. This supplements previously issued guidance addressing when people with “long COVID” may be deemed disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
The EEOC’s new guidance clarifies that a person…
Louisiana Enacts New Laws Requiring Accommodations for Pregnant Employees and Restricting the Use of Criminal History in Hiring Decisions
The Louisiana legislature has passed new laws requiring employers to provide accommodations for certain pregnant employees and limiting an employer’s use of an applicant’s criminal history in hiring decisions. Both laws become effective on August 1, 2021.
Amendment to Pregnancy Accommodation Law
By Act No. 393 of the 2021 Regular Session, Louisiana’s nondiscrimination…
EEOC Unveils New Online Resources in Observance of LGBTQ+ Pride Month
In a nod to LGBTQ+ Pride Month and the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released new resources “to educate employees, applicants and employers about the rights of all employees, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers, to be free from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment.” The materials – none of which state new policy but instead rely on previously adopted positions – “are part of EEOC’s effort to ensure that the public can find accessible, plain language materials in a convenient location on EEOC’s website.”…
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U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Federal Anti-Discrimination Law Protects Gay And Transgender Workers
On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) – which bans employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex – prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status. This decision marks a pivotal change from prior decisions of federal appellate and district courts which held that Title VII only banned discrimination based on the biological distinctions between persons born as male and female. It also obviates the need for the types of bills that have been submitted to Congress annually to expand the language of Title VII to include references to sexual orientation, gender stereotyping, and gender identity.
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OSHA Addresses Reporting COVID-19 Cases as Job-Related and In-Person Workplace Inspections
On May 19, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued two noteworthy enforcement memos. The first memo announced the reversal of OSHA’s April 10, 2020 policy that limited the requirement to track on-the-job cases of COVID-19 to health-care facilities, emergency response providers, and corrections facilities. The new policy, which goes into effect on May 26, 2020, mandates that all employers who are required to maintain OSHA injury and illness logs determine whether employees’ cases of the COVID-19 virus are “work-related” and record those that meet certain requirements. Specifically, employers subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements must record a case of COVID-19 as job-related if (1) it is a confirmed case of the virus as defined by the CDC, (2) it is “work-related” in that an event or exposure in the work environment either contributed to or caused an employee to contract the virus, and (3) it results in death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness or involves a significant diagnosed injury or illness. Employers who have no recordkeeping obligations need only report work-related COVID-19 illnesses resulting in an employee’s death or in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
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