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The EEOC Releases First Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination for Employers

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its first direct guidance for employers regarding COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Important takeaways from the guidance, as well as FAQs from the EEOC, are discussed in the attached link. Access the article.

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Dress Code Policies Reconsidered in the Pandemic

Employers are contending with how to respond to telecommuters dressing down during the pandemic. Companies also are considering how to ensure dress codes don't unlawfully discriminate or violate National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) rights. In a recent article by the Society of Human Resource Management, McDermott Employment associate Philip Shecter advises employers to be mindful of these rights, which may arise in the context of attire in favor of social justice movements. Access the article.

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Background Checks: The Advent of the New California Employment Class Action

Class action litigation brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is on the rise—particularly in California—after the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a 2017 decision applying a hypertechnical approach to the FCRA's disclosure requirements. Background checks are an integral part of the hiring process, but they open employers up to lawsuits for noncompliance with disclosure or adverse action requirements. Plaintiffs' firms are turning their attention to these cases because of the potential for statutory and actual damages, punitive damages, costs and attorneys' fees. In our recent webinars, we discussed strategies to help employers avoid and defend these claims. View Part I's slide deck here. View Part II's slide deck here.

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President Releases Executive Order Prohibiting Training for Contractors and Federal Grant Recipients

On September 22, 2020, US President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order, which prohibits federal contractors and recipients of federal grants from conducting certain workplace training on race and sex stereotyping. This Executive Order is likely to be challenged on various grounds, including First Amendment grounds, but all employers may wish to review their workplace training materials in anticipation of future Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) action for reverse discrimination. Access the article.

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“Because of Bostock” – Court Delays HHS Rule Re-interpreting Section 1557 Discrimination “Because of Sex”

One day before an updated rule of the US Department of Health and Human Services regarding Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act took effect, the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered a stay and issued a preliminary injunction precluding the most recent final rules from becoming operative. Entities subject to Section 1557 should — at least until decisions are issued in cases pending in US district courts — be cautious in their approach to their non-discrimination compliance obligations. Access the article.

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LGBTQ Title VII Ruling May Impact Your Employee Benefit Plan

On Monday, June 15, 2020, the US Supreme Court held in Bostock v. Clayton County that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender, gay and lesbian employees (and prospective employees) from workplace discrimination based on sex. This means that the protective authority of Title VII for LGBTQ individuals generally extends to employer-sponsored healthcare benefits. Access the full article.

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Justices Poised to Reshape Employer Religious Bias Issues

Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." Now is apparently the time for religious issues in employment law. In its current term, the US Supreme Court could hear three cases concerning religion under Title VII. Therefore, it is a good time for a refresher on these recurring issues. McDermott’s Sarah Schanz authors an article for Law360 discussing the recurring issues we’re seeing, including the questions of what amounts to undue hardship and who qualifies as a minister to invoke the ministerial exception. Access the full article. Originally published on Law360, February 2020

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Employment Cases to Keep an Eye on in 2020

This year, the US Supreme Court will get a chance to say whether federal civil rights law protects gay and transgender employees from discrimination, and California courts will grapple with recent changes making it harder for Golden State businesses to label workers as independent contractors. McDermott’s Michael Sheehan looked at these and other cases to watch in 2020 in a recent article for Law360. Access the full article. Originally published by Law360, January 2020

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Responses to Gender Pay Inequity: A Quick World Tour

Most major jurisdictions have pay equity laws, but their approach is far from uniform. Global companies need to evaluate compliance with these laws on a country-by-country basis whilst simultaneously addressing their compensation policies globally. A sample of the rules across several countries helps to identify trends that can drive effective global policies. Australia The Australian Workplace Gender Equality Act of 2012 mandates equal pay for equivalent or comparable work. There are annual reporting requirements for employers with 100 or more employees. Those reports must include the following indicators: gender composition of the workforce, gender composition of governing bodies, and equal compensation between men and women. Employers are penalised by being publicly named if they fail to lodge a public report on time, or inform employees or other stakeholders that a public report was lodged, or give the requested compliance data under the Act. Canada The...

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