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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in EEOC (51)

Monday
May212018

Season-ed Employees Need Not Apply 

Earlier this month the EEOC announced that it had reached a settlement with Seasons 52, national restaurant chain. The Florida-based restaurant chain has agreed to pay $2.85 million to settle a nationwide age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Over 135 applicants provided sworn testimony that during interviews for positions at Seasons 52 across the country, managers asked them directly about their age or made age-related comments, stating that Seasons 52 hires younger people. The EEOC’s lawsuit sought relief for applicants aged 40 and over who were ultimately denied employment at Seasons 52.

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Monday
Mar052018

Can the Inclusion Rider Exist In and Out of Hollywood?

Frances McDormand ended her Oscar acceptance speech with two words: Inclusion Rider.  She forced the audience, the public, and the press to ask, “What’s an inclusion rider?”  She later informs curious minds that there has always been a rider available to individuals (likely A-list actors/actresses) who negotiate, ask for, or demand a percentage of diversity in either the casting or the crew in a film. An in-depth discussion of the concept is available in Stacy Smith’s 2016 TED Talk available here.

The questions: What if Hollywood demanded further diversity?  What if board members demanded diversity in the organizations they run?  What if executives, in negotiating contracts, demanded diversity in order to accept employment?  What if, executive compensation was determined through with an eye towards achievement of the inclusion rider? 

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Monday
Sep182017

PODCAST: Employment Policies in the Trump Administration

In this Verrill Voices podcast, labor and employment attorneys Tawny Alvarez and Richard Moon discuss recent administrative and legislative developments, how they affect employers generally. More specifically, they discuss the current position in which the Department of Justice and the EEOC are taking separate and distinct positions on the issue of whether Title VII covers sexual orientation discrimination, highlighting a Second Circuit case that has brought the issue to the forefront. In addition to sexual orientation and gender discrimination policies, the stalled increase in the overtime exemption wage and President Trump's recent direction on affirmative action policies are also discussed.

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Friday
Jan202017

Till Death Do Compensatory Damages Part . . . Or Not: Eight Circuit Finds Compensatory Damages Claim Under the ADA Lives Past Claimant’s Death

On Thursday, January 19, 2017, the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion in Guenther v. Griffin Constr. Co., 16-1760 (8th Cir. Jan. 19, 2017), and held that a claim for compensatory damages brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) survives the death of the aggrieved party.  The case involved an employee who was terminated from Griffin Construction in 2008 after overseeing construction projects for four (4) years.  He claimed that he was terminated as a result of his diagnosis with cancer. 

The former employee filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, but died before the administrative process was complete.  The EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter, having found reasonable cause, and the administrator of the estate filed suit under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act as well as Title I of the ADA.  Griffin Construction moved to dismiss (arguing the claims did not survive death) and the district court agreed, finding the ADA claim abated at death and entered judgment on the pleadings for Griffin Construction. 

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Wednesday
Jan182017

EEOC's Five Core Principles for Preventing and Addressing Harassment

Last week the EEOC released proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment with a Press Release noting that the proposed Guidance is available for input until February 9, 2017.  Information on how to provide feedback on the Guidance is available here.  Whether one chooses to provide feedback or not, however, the proposed Guidance and related documents are filled with helpful information.

The Press Release notes that between fiscal years 2012 and 2015, the “percentage of private sector charges that included allegations of harassment increased” annually to over 30% of all charges filled with the EEOC.  In fiscal year 2015 alone, the EEOC received 27,893 private sector charges that included allegations of harassment while federal employees filed 6,741 complaints.

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Tuesday
Nov082016

Western District of Pennsylvania Rules Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protected by Title VII

On Friday, November 4, 2016, the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an order denying Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center (No. 2:16-cv-00225) finding that a claim of sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The order, penned by U.S. District Judge Cathy Bisson, refuses to adopt the Third Circuit’s prior rulings that sexual orientation is not a protected class under Title VII, noting that there have been “significant intervening legal developments that call into question how the [Third Circuit] evaluated Title VII in Bibby” and also noted that in Bibby, the Court was not faced with the same arguments that the EEOC had presented in the current matter. 

Specifically, the Western District held: “Title VII’s ‘because of sex’ provision prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” and the court saw “no meaningful difference between sexual orientation discrimination and discrimination ‘because of sex.’”

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