A former employee of Fort Bend County, Texas filed an EEO charge for sexual harassment against her former employer. After filing the charge, she was told to work on a Sunday. She said she could not do so due to church obligations. She did not show up to work on that Sunday and was fired. She then attempted to add to her EEOC claim by adding “religion” and “discharge” to the form, but she did not change the formal charge document. She then filed suit alleging religious discrimination and retaliation. SCOTUS is allowing this employment-discrimination case to move forward despite the fact that the EEOC claim she filed was not formally amended to include a religious discrimination charge.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take on two issues that directly impact Federal Contractors this week. The first case is based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and debates the question of if that statue extends anti-discrimination provisions based on sexual orientation or transgender status. Federal appeals courts have come to opposing conclusions on this provision, from New York, Georgia, and Illinois.
Fastenal has entered into a conciliation agreement with the OFCCP to settle allegations of hiring discrimination at its Denton, Texas facility. According to the conciliation agreement, OFCCP alleges that between November 6, 2012 – November 6, 2014, Fastenal discriminated against female, Black, and Hispanic applicants in the hiring process for its 8B Part-Time Laborer Job Group. The Conciliation Agreement notes the total adjusted shortfall, accounting for race/ethnicity and gender, is 55. To resolve these claims, Fastenal has agreed to pay $250,000 and to hire at least 55 eligible class members (36 females, 17 Blacks, and seven Hispanics) within the next 24 months, unless it exhausts the list of eligible class members prior to this date.
The central issue, in this case, is that while training for a tandem sky-dive, Donald Zarda, a long-time sky-diving instructor, revealed to one of his female students he was gay. He said that he did so to alleviate any discomfort she was feeling because of the close physical contact required for the jump. After the exercise, the customer told her boyfriend what Mr. Zarda had revealed to her. The boyfriend called Mr. Zarda’s employer, Altitude Express, and recounted the conversation, after which Mr. Zarda’s employment was terminated. The New York Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this was discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
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.
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.
On January 31, 2017, the White House shared that President Trump will not override the Executive Order (EO) signed during the Obama administration providing workplace protections for LGBT employees working on federal contracts. EO 13672, signed by President Obama in 2014, extended existing EO 11246 protections for federal contract employees to also prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. When the order was signed by President Obama, it applied to 28 million workers, or about a fifth of America’s workforce. OFCCP subsequently issued regulations to implement EO 13672, which can be found at https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/LGBT.html. In announcing that the new administration would not rescind these protections, the White House stated President Trump “is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.”
The White House recently rolled out a new online tool (www.worker.gov) that allows employees to file various types of complaints against their employer. This site also was designed to inform individuals of their employment rights. According to the White House, the website was created to assist individuals “who have had wages stolen, have been injured on the job, faced discrimination, or were retaliated against for seeking better wages or work condition,” file complaints against their employers.