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Almost four years ago, I posted a piece asking how many how many times an African-American employee must endure the sight of a hanging noose, or suffer other crude and offensive racial or other epithets, for the situation to become a hostile work environment and racial harassment. The question was: is one “N-word” sufficiently severe? Under existing federal caselaw, one isolated incident of harassment is generally not enough to constitute a hostile work environment unless…
The United States has yet to endorse equality for people based upon their sexual orientation. Some states and municipalities have done so, and polls show that a majority of Americans support this – but that obviously is not enough. And now the Supreme Court is poised to rule on a case this Spring that will either support such equality – at least in the workplace – or endorse continued disparate treatment. But!! The Swiss, by a…
Apropos a recent post about words and phrases which subtly-but-not-so-subtly connote that older workers are not wanted, I just read an article which had a short quote from the AARP’s Director of Multicultural outreach and engagement. The article noted that “Subtle words and phrases, like ‘recent college graduate’ and ‘digital native’ are terms … meant to discourage older candidates from applying.” The AARP director added that “photos of the workplace, all with younger people” are similarly discouraging,…
We are living longer. And working longer. This is good. And our culture and laws prohibit age discrimination in the workplace. This is also good. However, as an adjunct to that, we must deal with something that no prior generation has had to deal with (at least not as much): “when is it time to take granddad’s car keys away?” Do you take them away at a certain set age? Or wait until granddad can’t remember…
By: Amy Epstein Gluck The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is making some lists and checking them twice, that’s for sure. Piggybacking on my law partner Rich Cohen’s post about the annual breakdown of the 2019 enforcement and litigation data compiled by the EEOC, the EEOC just promulgated another report—its Annual Performance Report (APR). In the APR, the EEOC reveals that it resolved 173 lawsuits on their merits and obtained $39.1M as a result.…
I’m always interested to see how different words, terms and expressions are used by employers to communicate that “old people need not apply.”  You know – anyone over [fill in the blank]. This is illegal ageism, pure and simple – but the language used can be subtle (sometimes, but not every time, as a brick!). I just read about a new term which was used in the workplace to stand in for “younger” – “lean and agile.” Ahh, the…
By: Amy Epstein Gluck As of January 2020, 35 U.S. states and more than 150 cities and counties have passed “ban the box” laws, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP). What is “ban the box”? Which box? Where? You know, those little boxes on job applications. The ones that require an employee to “check” if they have ever been convicted of a crime or arrested. Ban the box laws require employers to…
By: Amy Epstein Gluck Yes, I do love that scene in Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise is kind of losing his mind but Cuba Gooding, Jr. helps him see the humor in their situation. But in this case, it’s true. Imagine this very common scenario: Sam supervisor walks into Hal HR’s office, and says “We need to terminate Edgar Employee. His performance is subpar, and his attitude stinks!” Hal nods his head and says, “Cool.…
The EEOC just released its always-interesting yearly breakdown of charges filed and resolved. At the end of every fiscal year, which ends September 30th, the EEOC issues in a press release its “results” with respect to number of cases files and completed, the amount of money recovered for employees, and other stats, and provides a link to its full report. The most interesting thing to me this year is what is NOT in the EEOC’s press…
Those who harass vulnerable workers are on the EEOC’s radar.  Not a surprise: this is one of the EEOC’s announced priorities.  And who are “vulnerable workers?” The EEOC just announced (like yesterday) a $70,00 settlement with a Florida restaurant franchise.  It was alleged that the owner and manager sexually harassed female employees through unwelcome touching, stalking, and sexual comments. Female servers were repeatedly asked to go out to dinner and groped in a back-storage room and suffered negative changes…