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Religious Accommodation in the Texas Workplace

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees (in companies with 15 employees or more) from religious discrimination and requires that employers reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious, ethical and moral beliefs and practices of their employees, unless doing so will be an undue hardship on the employer.  (State and local government employers must adhere to these rules regardless of their number of employees.) Unless the employer can demonstrate that doing so will cause significant difficulty or expense, failing to grant a reasonable religious accommodation may be determined to be religious discrimination under Title VII. Title VII Read more
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Prohibited Job Application & Interview Questions

Allowed Job Interview & Application Questions Under various Federal (and Texas) laws, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant because of his or her race, color, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), veteran’s status, disability or genetic information. While these restrictions would seem to prohibit a fairly limited set of questions, court rulings have served to broaden the scope of the law significantly. Consequently, employers must exercise great care or risk (intentionally or unintentionally) running afoul of these laws during the job application and interview process.  Here, we consider “What can be Read more
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Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Training

Harassment prevention training is a critically important component of an organization’s plan to prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Workplace discrimination and harassment can lead to lawsuits that can do serious damage to a company’s finances and reputation. Importance of Anti-Discrimination Training Anti-discrimination training protects your business from disputes involving harassment, discrimination, and violation of federal and state laws governing the treatment of employees and coworkers in the workplace. It does this by Educating employees and managers on proper workplace conduct, Preventing discrimination and harassment, and Reducing the likelihood and/or success of harassment and/or discrimination claims and lawsuits. Training should Read more
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The ADA and Mental Disabilities

We are in the process of preparing our “Sensitive Employee Relations” presentation for the upcoming Frisco HR Summit at the end of March, so we thought we would provide you a preview of that speech while also providing some valuable information regarding mental disabilities and mental health and their relation to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Not only is mental health a very sensitive issue in the workplace but it can often be difficult to handle from a Human Resources perspective. Just as with other disabilities under the ADA, a mental disability is (a) any impairment that substantially limits one Read more
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President Trump Appoints Acting EEOC and NLRB Chairs

Last week, President Trump appointed EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic as Acting Chair of the EEOC and appointed NLRB Board Member Philip Miscimarra as Acting Chair of the NLRB. As an EEOC Commissioner, Lipnic served as a member of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the workplace.  Prior to her time with the EEOC, Lipnic served as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards under President George W. Bush from 2002 through 2009.  In that role, she oversaw the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Read more
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Discrimination Changes on the Horizon?

At the time of the June 30, 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc. decision from the United States Supreme Court, many employment law experts and practitioners recognized that the Court’s decision to let Hobby Lobby opt out of portions of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) on religious grounds could lead to a litany of lower court decisions addressing employers’ desires to opt out of other employment laws on religious grounds.  We now have such a case.  Yesterday, August 18, 2016, in a decision out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, a judge held that the Read more
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New EEOC Guidance on Retaliation

We posted a few days ago about the EEOC’s new guidance on Position Statements.  Well, the EEOC has been busy because they also have proposed new enforcement guidance regarding retaliation claims and charges.  From January 21, 2016 through February 24, 2016, the EEOC accepted input regarding its draft proposed enforcement guidance on retaliation claims.  The EEOC believes the updated enforcement guidance is necessary since nearly 43% of all private sector charges filed in 2014 included retaliation claims.  While the enforcement guidance is not binding law, employers should be aware of it since it is used by the agency in investigations Read more
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EEOC Position Statements

In order to assist employers in drafting EEOC position statements, we recently released a video on our YouTube page outlining tips for crafting EEOC position statements.  As a follow up to that video, we want to highlight the EEOC’s recent updated information and guidance regarding employer position statements.  A position statement is the employer’s response to an employee’s or ex-employee’s Charge of Discrimination.  In most instances, after an employee or ex-employee files a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC, the EEOC contacts the employer to request a position statement.  While many employers will utilize the services of a lawyer to draft the Read more
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What Justice Scalia’s Death Means for Employers

You likely have seen or read numerous stories and reports about the death of United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and what it means for U.S. politics and the upcoming presidential election.  We will leave that discussion to the experts.  If a replacement is not appointed and approved, though, the Supreme Court will be left with only 8 members that are ideologically split on 4-4 lines.  While there is no guarantee that this will be a problem, there is potential that some cases could be decided on a 4-4 basis.  If that happens, the lower court decision stands but Read more
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A Reminder About the Protected Nature of Alcoholism

You may or may not have seen the sports news in the last few days and weeks but ESPN and other outlets reported that former University of Southern California head football coach, Steve Sarkisian, filed a lawsuit against the school alleging disability discrimination and failure to provide a reasonable accommodation based on the fact the school terminated him near the middle of the 2015 football season. In December 2013, USC hired Sarkisian as the head football coach and entered into a five-year contract with Sarkisian. In October 2015, USC terminated Sarkisian only 24 hours after it asked him to take Read more