Posts Tagged ‘EEOC’

Free speech roundup

  • “EEOC to Gadsden Flag Lovers: Shut Up or Face Costly Lawsuits” [Hans Bader]
  • Ellen de Generes raises First Amendment defense in suit by real estate agent with joshed-over name [Ronald Collins]
  • Background: in England (generally unlike U.S.), tasteless jokes and online insults have been prosecuted as crime [Guardian on moves there to classify “misogyny” as hate crime]
  • Melania Trump’s defamation suit against U.K.-based Daily Mail is filed in Maryland, also names obscure blogger from that state [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
  • Tale of ginned-up out-of-state defamation lawsuit meant to aid in “reputation management” takedowns gets even weirder [Paul Alan Levy, earlier]
  • University of Tennessee, a public institution, cites First Amendment in dropping probe of Prof. Glenn Reynolds over controversial tweet [Robert Shibley, FIRE]

Free speech roundup

  • Free speech hero Flemming Rose’s acceptance speech on winning the 2016 Cato Institute Friedman Prize;
  • A Timeline of Attacks on Free Speech” is one of many features of new book Defending Free Speech, edited by Steve Simpson and highly recommended by figures including Harvey Silverglate, Flemming Rose, and Tara Smith [Ayn Rand Institute]
  • “Never Mind Peter Thiel; Gawker Killed Itself” [Simon Dumenco, Ad Age] That “prospect of financial ruin based on amorphous tort claims [will] improve quality of journalism” is a shaky premise, though [Jacob Sullum; earlier]
  • If you’ve heard and passed along the notion that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to civil cases you may find someone referring you to this Popehat page;
  • EEOC logic might require employers to investigate employees who make some kinds of critical water-cooler comments about political candidates [Eugene Volokh]
  • “Law Firm Sues 20-Year-Old Waitress Over Unflattering Yelp, Facebook Reviews” [Meagan Flynn, Houston Press]

EEOC: wearing “Don’t Tread On Me” cap might create hostile environment

“Wearing a Gadsden Flag hat to work could be considered racial harassment, according to the Equal Employment Commission, the government body that oversees ‘hostile work environment’ harassment claims.” The EEOC acknowledged that the historical origin of the rattlesnake flag was unrelated to racial matters. The case involved a federal worker, but the EEOC’s jurisdiction extends to the private sector and the principles it expounds are generally applicable there as well. [Andrew Stiles/Heat Street, Eugene Volokh; compare Snopes (alarm premature, EEOC still early in process) and Noah Feldman, Bloomberg View (yes, worth investigating as possible harassment)]

Seventh Circuit: ENDA not implied by current federal law

Rejecting the view of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit has ruled that Congress not having enacted a measure such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act banning sexual-orientation discrimination, plaintiffs cannot deduce the existence of such a ban from other elements of federal law. [Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed; Marcia McCormick, Workplace Law Prof] I saw this coming last year when the EEOC declared, on what did not seem strong legal grounds, that the previous federal court consensus that there is no implied ban had been effectively overridden by intervening case law.

EEOC roundup

  • “You’ve been warned. National-origin discrimination is a national strategic priority for the EEOC.” [Jon Hyman, earlier]
  • 2015 charge statistics: “The EEOC has now re-calibrated its entire enforcement machinery to churn out quick cost-of-defense settlements.” [Merrily Archer]
  • “Death by HR: EEOC Incompetence and the Coming Idiocracy” [Jeb Kinnison]
  • Liquor-hauling case aside, EEOC accommodation claims on behalf of Muslim complainants closely resemble those for members of other religious groups [Eugene Volokh]
  • “No Evidence That Training Prevents Harassment, Finds EEOC Task Force” [Christina Folz, SHRM]
  • Hospital that requires employees to announce ahead of time if they have religious objections to flu vaccination hit with EEOC charge for not being accommodating enough [EEOC press release]

Workplace roundup

  • The proportion of jobs requiring a license has risen from roughly 5 percent in the 1950s to 25 percent now, and why that matters [Edward Rodrigue and Richard V. Reeves, Brookings] Signs of bipartisan agreement that occupational licensing has gone too far [J.D. Tuccille, Reason] And surprisingly or not, it’s emerged as an Obama administration cause [Matt Yglesias, Vox]
  • “25 quick takes (no kidding!) on the EEOC’s proposed national origin guidance” [Robin Shea]
  • “Trial lawyers’ pecuniary interests have shifted our focus toward termination decisions, instead of hiring and promotion practices” [Merrily Archer]
  • Is it lawful to move full-time employees to part-time work to avoid ObamaCare mandates? [Jon Hyman, related]
  • Florida Supreme Court decision spells Christmas for workers’ comp lawyers, and insurers proceed to file 17 percent rate increase, so everyone’s happy [Insurance Journal]
  • “Uber and the gig economy’s existential litigation threat” [Alison Frankel] Labor union grip on state legislature imperils benefits of sharing economy [Steven Greenhut]

CRST Van Expedited v. EEOC

Another unanimous loss for Obama, another trip to the dunking booth for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: my new Cato post on last week’s Supreme Court decision on the proper standard for awarding attorneys’ fees to prevailing defendants in Title VII employment discrimination cases. Justice Thomas has it right in his concurrence: the ruling at hand is all well and good, but the Court needs to go further and rethink precedents that bend over backward to give prevailing employment plaintiffs a set of fee entitlements that it does not allow to prevailing defendants (& welcome SCOTUSBlog readers).

Eighth Circuit: obesity not a per se disability

Another big courtroom defeat for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: “A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled this week that obesity is not a ‘disability’ within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act — even as amended in 2009 — unless the condition was caused by some underlying physiological disorder. …The panel specifically rejected the position taken by the EEOC in its Compliance Manual.” [Employment and Labor Insider, Constangy; Morriss v. BNSF Railway]

Affirmative action hiring for the disabled

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC]: “The proposed rule…would require federal agencies to adopt the goal of achieving a 12% representation rate for individuals with disabilities, and a 2% representation rate for individuals with targeted/severe disabilities.” [Workplace Prof] Comments are open through April 25.

Labor and employment roundup

  • Immigration-related rules on the one hand, national-origin discrimination rules on the other: “Employers could get sued for following the law” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner]
  • Should anyone doubt labor relations as an academic field tilts way left, here are numbers [Mitchell Langbert, Econ Journal Watch]
  • Connecticut high court opens door to letting kids of dismissed workers sue employers for lost consortium, on top of suits filed by the parents themselves [Daniel Schwartz]
  • Obama scheme to yank millions of workers off salaried status is a real economic menace [Trey Kovacs, CEI, earlier]
  • Panel discussion marks 80th anniversary of National Labor Relations Act with lawprofs Richard Epstein and John Raudabaugh, Bill Samuel (AFL-CIO) and Mark Schneider (Machinists), moderated by Hon. Joan Larsen of Michigan Supreme Court [Federalist Society video, National Lawyers Conference]
  • “Employment-related class action settlements hit high in 2015” [12th annual Seyfarth Shaw Workplace Class Action Litigation Report via Staffing Industry Analysts] EEOC Employee Charge trends, annual report [Hiscox, and note map on p. 4 of employee lawsuit hotspots including Illinois, California, Nevada, and New Mexico]