EMS Employer Year-End Wrap-Up and Preview

2017 was a bit of a wild ride in the employment realm.  The Trump Administration worked to change the trajectory set during the eight years of the Obama Administration.  This past year, we saw the undoing or attempts to undo many of the Obama Administration initiatives, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) updates, changes to the Persuader Rule, interpretations of Title VII as it relates to transgender protections.  Not to mention the repeated attempts to chip away at the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, there were several new requirements for employers that went into effect in 2017 and a few upcoming in 2018.  Here is a quick review to ensure that your service is up-to-date and compliant. The Fair Labor Standards Act Changes These changes, which would have more than doubled the minimum salary levels for those “White Collar” exemptions, were set to go into effect back in 2016.  A Federal Court in Texas enjoined and put on hold these changes until the question of whether the Department of Labor (DOL) had the authority to unilaterally change the Regulations.  In July, 2016, the DOL published an Request For Information (RFI) with responses due in late September, requesting input...

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Transgender Protections Reversal

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memo last week to Agency heads and U.S. Attorneys that he is changing the Department’s position on Transgender protections and employment discrimination. This is a reversal on the position taken in 2014 by then U.S Attorney General Eric Holder that Title VII gender discrimination protections included discrimination on the basis of gender identity. This is contrary to several Federal Court decisions and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position that Title VII protections extend to gender identity. However, Session’s announcement may have little practical effect as many jurisdictions have state laws that provide protections from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  Employers need to be vigilant in their efforts to maintain workplace practices that ensure a discrimination free work environment for all individuals....

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Bathroom Battle Continues

In an unprecedented move, the United States Supreme Court has cancelled a scheduled hearing for Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who is fighting for the right to use the restroom in his public school consistent with his gender identity.  The arguments were scheduled to be heard on March 28th but have been removed from the hearing calendar following the cancellation of an order signed by President Obama by the Trump Administration.  The Appellate Court had relied on the guidance in the Obama order in rendering its decision.  Many feel that the removal of this case from the U.S. Supreme Court calendar is an effort to delay hearing of this issue until the vacant seat is filled by nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.  Learn more about Gavin Grimm, the cancellation, and what comes next on CNN.com. While this is not a case that involves the rights of transgender individuals in the workplace, it was serving as the test case for the transgender issue.  In the meantime, many states have passed laws regarding the rights of individuals to use the restroom that is aligned with their gender identity.  Employers should know that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is likely to continue to interpret (more…)

EEOC Sounds Off On Transgender Issues

A few days ago the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released Fact Sheet: Bathroom Access Rights for Transgender Employees Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This was in direct response to the passing of North Carolina’s HB2 in March that restricts multi-use bathrooms and changing facilities to be utilized only by those individuals based upon their sex noted at birth.  The North Carolina “Bathroom Rule” is directly aimed at transgender individuals and would force transgender individuals to use the restroom that is opposite of how they physically present.  In other words, a transgender male who has a beard and other characteristics typically associated with being male, would be forced to use a women’s restroom. In response to the new law, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had notified North Carolina that HB2 violates not only Title VII of the Civil Rights Act but also Title IX Education Amendments of 1972, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.  The DOJ sent a letter to the Governor and State legislature on May 4th informing them that they had until May 9th to notify the Department of their intent not to implement or enforce the new law or risk (more…)