Last week, President Trump rescinded Executive Order (EO) 13495, the Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts. President Obama issued this order in January 2009, along with two other EOs that directly impact Federal contractors. Under the old EO, companies assuming performance of an existing contract were required to offer employees of the existing contractor first right of refusal when staffing for the new contract. The EO also required all Federal contractors to display a poster informing employees of their rights. This recession also terminated any investigations or compliance actions based on Executive Order 13495.
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.
In their fiscal year 2018 reports, the EEOC and OFCCP report combined monetary settlements of $521 million to victims of workplace discrimination. It was reported that $505 million in funds were paid to settle EEOC complaints, benefiting almost 68,000 people. An additional $16.4 million was paid to 12,000 workers based on findings by the OFCCP, primarily in the area of compensation violations.
Several new pieces of guidance came out during and following the NILG conference held earlier this month. A few notable directives include the Contractors “bill of rights” and the directive about focused reviews in fiscal year 2019. Berkshire clients should also note the recent directive issued addressing OFCCP’s new plans to address religious organizations under its jurisdiction.
The SLS Hotel, operating in Miami Florida, has agreed to pay $2.5 million in a recent settlement brought about by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit alleges that black Haitian dishwashers were wrongfully terminated based on their race, color, and national origin. A staffing agency then filled the positions, in turn creating a workforce of predominately Hispanics with light or fair skin. Hotel and nightlife company SBE operates the SLS Hotel. SBE operates hotels and restaurants located both domestically and internationally. The company prides itself on creating an extraordinary experience for the community throughout each of its proprietary brands, according to its mission statement.
In December 2017, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed a lawsuit against several big businesses alleging age discrimination with the use of their social media advertising. Just recently the CWA added more companies to their list. The December suit named Amazon, T-Mobile, Cox Communications, and Cox Media Group. The recent amendment included Ikea and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
In May 2018, OFCCP entered into a conciliation agreement with Five Star Quality Care (dba Meadowmere and Mitchell Manor) to settle allegations that the contractor failed to hire African-American applicants for Dietary Aides at their West Allis, WI facility. The agency analyzed Meadowmere/Mitchell Manor’s applicant and hiring data during the period of October 2011 through October 2013 and found the contractor’s selection process was ‘subjective and non-uniform’ which resulted in the disproportionate non-selection of African-American Dietary Aide applicants.
Recently, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed a bill aimed at promoting equal pay for workers. This law promotes equal pay for workers regardless of race or gender. According to estimates, women in New Jersey earn roughly 81 cents on the dollar compared to men, which is closely in line with the national pay gap of 80 cents on the dollar.