It’s that time of year again. OFCCP is getting ready to release their next list of contractors who will be subjected to a compliance review in fiscal year 2019. The agency has indicated they intend to increase the number of audits this fiscal year to 3,500. These audits may consist of compliance evaluations, compliance checks, and focused reviews. This is the first time the since fiscal year 2014 that the OFCCP has planned to schedule more than 3,000 audits.
The EEOC recently announced a settlement with the cosmetics maker Estée Lauder for $1.1 million. The cosmetic giant was charged with discriminating against male employees by providing less paid leave and related benefits after the birth or adoption of a new child, than what was provided to female employees.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged Zachry Construction, a San Antonio based construction and industrial contractor, with violating a federal law that protects individuals with disabilities. The agency alleges the contractor violated this law when it fired several employees with disabilities. The contractor became aware of the employees’ disabilities during a post-offer medical questionnaire and subsequent medical examinations. Before their terminations, the EEOC claims these individuals were performing their job duties in a satisfactory manner.
The practice of hiring interns has become widely recognized across different organizations. Determining whether an intern is considered an “employee” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been a troubling task for most organizations until now. The Department of Labor has recently updated Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Act, and have adopted a “primary beneficiary test” that has been used by the courts to determine whether an intern (or student) is an employee under FLSA.
The EEOC has filed three lawsuits alleging gender-based pay discrimination in the D.C. metro area. The defendants were George Washington (GW) University, National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and Vadar Ventures, Inc. who acted on behalf of Total Quality Building Services. The suits were filed after pre-litigation settlements failed in all three cases. The GW and NAEYC cases were filed in the U.S. District Court of Washington. The Total Quality case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria Division). The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory, punitive, and liquidated damages, in addition to injunctive relief to discontinue the discriminatory practices.
On September 15, in Philadelphia, PA, a group known as The Women’s Law Project, along with a host of other groups, urged a Pennsylvania Federal court not to block a recent law which bars employers from asking applicants about their pay history. The coalition, with the belief the ordinance would address the gender wage gap without hurting any businesses, filed an amicus brief supporting the city’s opposition to a bid from the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia for a preliminary injunction to bar the law from taking place.
On August 31, 2017, a federal judge in Texas annulled the Obama administration’s controversial rule on expanding overtime practices to millions of “white collar” workers. The rule would have raised the minimum threshold requirements to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemption to just over $47,000 per year and increase the overtime threshold for highly compensated workers from $100,000 per year to about $134,000 per year. Judge Amos Mazzant granted the summary judgment to the Plano Chamber of Commerce and other business groups that challenged the 2016 ruling. When the regulation was first announced, Texas, Nevada, and 19 other states also filed a suit challenging the rule. Their case was consolidated into the lawsuit filed by the business groups.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a suit against CSX Transportation stating the company has created discriminatory barriers for women seeking jobs with the company. Since 2008, CSX Transportation has used an isokinetic strength test known as the IPCS Biodex as a requirement for workers to be selected for various positions. This test measures the upper and lower body muscle strength of workers. The EEOC has found that women have passed this test at a lower rate than their male counterparts and alleges a discriminatory impact on females that were seeking positions such as Conductors, Material Handlers/Clerks, as well as various other positions.
In an effort to address pay inequalities, several states and localities have taken recent steps to bridge this gap by amending or updating their pay equity laws. One measure that is trending amongst state and local governments is the proposed legislation that prohibits employers from requesting salary histories from job applicants. In the past year or so, Massachusetts, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, New York City, Delaware, and most recently San Francisco, have all passed laws that prohibit or limit organizations from requesting salary history from an applicant and/or using the applicant’s prior salary history to determine their starting pay. Let’s take a quick look at the specifics for a few these states and cities that have recently passed this type of legislation.