Years ago, I wrote a blog post, “Two or More Genders? Gender Identity and the EEO-1 Form,” in which I discussed what employers should do when an employee refuses to identify as either male or female for purposes of EEO reporting. At that time, I spoke with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs about their approach to this issue (which was to assign a sex based on visual identification), but was never able to get the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to respond to me, despite multiple phone calls and emails. Well, now, the EEOC has offered some guidance on a related issue – reporting non-binary employees (those who do not identify as either male or female) on the EEO-1 Component 2 report.
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In an ironic twist, a manager’s alleged attempt to protect an employee from racism resulted in a discrimination claim by that employee.

In Ikome v. CSRA, LLCthe employee hailed from Cameroon and had very dark skin. He helped his employer, an information technology services company, win a contract in North Carolina with the Environmental Protection Agency and became project manager on the contract. Within weeks, however, he was replaced as project manager by a lighter-skinned African-American coworker. In his lawsuit for color and national origin discrimination, he alleges that his manager told him that people in North Carolina are “rednecks” (The manager denied using the term, but the employee’s allegations are assumed to be true at this point in the litigation, before it goes to a jury). The employee interpreted this to mean that rednecks are racist, and a lighter-skinned person would be more acceptable to them.
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The National Labor Relations Board has now addressed the use of mandatory arbitration agreements following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis, which upheld the enforceability of arbitration agreements containing waivers of the right to bring class or collective actions over employment-related disputes, rejecting the NLRB’s then-position that such waivers violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), as discussed in our prior E-lert.
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As promised, today we give you and third and final installment of our three-part series addressing the new opinion letters issued by the U.S. Department of Labor on July 1, 2019.  To read about the other letters issued by the DOL, check out this blog post and this blog post.  The final opinion letter, FLSA2019-9, addresses permissible rounding practices for calculating the number of hours worked by an employee.
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In our last blog post, we revealed a three-part series intended to address the new opinion letters issued by the U.S. Department of Labor on July 1, 2019.  The second of these opinion letters, FLSA2019-8, addresses whether paralegals employed by a trade organization are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements under Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA – an issue of admittedly more limited interest, except as to employers of such individuals.
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On July 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor issued three new opinion letters that address compliance issues related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  These letters are official, written opinions by the Department’s Wage and Hour Division that respond to fact-specific scenarios posed by employers and employees alike.  We are going to address each of the opinion letters in separate blog posts over the course of the next week.  But for now, let’s dive into the first of the three opinion letters!
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Just in time for Father’s Day, JPMorgan has agreed to pay $5 million dollars to settle a class action lawsuit based on a discriminatory parental leave policy. We previously blogged about this case when the ACLU announced that it was filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a JPMorgan dad. (and you can check out that blog post for a deeper explanation of the legal underpinnings of this issue, if you’re really interested). But this settlement provides an emphatic (and timely!) reminder to employers to take a look at their maternity/paternity or parental leave policies to make sure they don’t run afoul of the law.
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$3.8 million dollars. That’s what a Tucson, Arizona jury awarded to a former fire paramedic denied workplace accommodations required under the Fair Labor Standards Act for women who want to pump breast milk for their infants. Under the law, for the first year after the birth of a child, employers must provide non-exempt employees with reasonable breaks to pump. Employers also must provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from the view of others and that is free from intrusion by coworkers or others.
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I often tell my crazy teenagers that it doesn’t matter what you mean to say – it matters what the other person actually hears. (I’m not sure they actually hear me when I say that…) And a recent Family and Medical Leave Act case proves my point and provides a lesson for employers. Curlee v. Lewis Bros. Bakeries Inc. of Tennessee highlights the need for employers to be very careful and very clear in their verbal communications with employees about Family and Medical Leave Act obligations.
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March Madness has descended upon employers everywhere. Yesterday was Selection Sunday for the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament, and today, an estimated 40 million Americans will begin filling out their tournament brackets – many of them at work. And when the tournament begins, you can be sure that many employees will be checking scores at the office, if not actually watching the game. Others may call in sick after a late night game (particularly if their team lost). Team gear, talking smack – what to do?
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