On September 29, 2023, the EEOC released its Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace. If adopted following the rule-making process, this will be the first time the EEOC has provided guidance on workplace harassment since 1999.
On January 24, 2023, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released updated guidance on how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to job applicants and employees with hearing disabilities. The Q&A resource comes on the heels of the EEOC’s announcement of two settlements—one for $44,250 and the other for $180,000—with two employers accused of adverse employment actions against deaf individuals in violation of the ADA. Although the EEOC guidance does not contain new legal mandates, it is an important reminder to educational employers of how the agency will apply existing legal standards in cases involving individuals with hearing disabilities. Employers should review the guidance and their policies, procedures, and practices to mitigate the risk of challenges of employment discrimination by applicants and employees with hearing disabilities. The following is a summary of the major points from the guidance that employers should know.
The Great Pronoun Debate: Can Public Schools Require Employees to Use the Pronouns with Which Students Identify?
Schools and universities have struggled over the last several years with the question of whether students have a protected right to use gender-based pronouns with which they identify, but which differ from the pronouns associated with their birth gender. A subsequent, and sometimes more difficult question, is assuming that students do, can schools require teachers and other employees to refer to students by those gender-identity pronouns, particularly when the employee claims that acknowledging a student’s “change” in gender conflicts with the employee’s religious beliefs? Can a school fire a teacher who insists on using the old pronouns?
Just in Time for Veterans Day, Federal Agencies Provide Military Service Members and Veterans with Guidance on Unlawful Employment Discrimination
On November 10, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division jointly released a comprehensive resource document detailing federal laws and other authorities that specifically protect service members and veterans from workplace discrimination. In its press release, the EEOC described the jointly authored “Protections Against Employment Discrimination for Service Members and Veterans” as the first-of-its-kind single publication intended to “help veterans and service members determine which laws and federal agencies are responsible for enforcing their workplace rights and where to seek assistance if they believe those rights have been violated.”