Civil Rights Updates

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Medical Marijuana in HUD-Assisted Properties: Update Since HUD’s January 2011 Memorandum

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, which recognizes no medical use. In January 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued an...more

EEOC Launches First Phase of Digital Charge System

On May 6th, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced the launch of a pilot program called ACT Digital in 11 of its 53 offices, which allows for the digital transmission of documents between the EEOC...more

Supreme Court Update: Comptroller v. Wynne (13-485) And San Francisco v. Sheehan (13-1412)

We're back with the two remaining decisions from Monday, Comptroller v. Wynne (13-485) and San Francisco v. Sheehan (13-1412), two split decisions featuring strange bedfellows. The Justices' philosophical differences...more

Another DOJ Action over Allegedly Inaccessible Websites and Other Technologies

For today’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we have yet another Department Justice enforcement action to report relating to the allegedly inaccessible websites and other technologies. This time, DOJ is trying to...more

H2H Enterprises / Huddle House #670 to Pay $15,000 to Settle EEOC Racial Harassment Lawsuit

Restaurant Managers Created a Racially Hostile Work Environment For Black Employee, Federal Agency Charged - PINE BLUFF, Ark. - H2H Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a/ Huddle House #670 in Pine Bluff, Ark., will pay $15,000 to...more

Probability, Manipulation, And Random Drug Testing

Many employers — particularly, those in the transportation industry — use third party vendors to do the random selections for federally mandated drug and alcohol tests. I think it’s a great idea, because it prevents employees...more

Prevailing FEHA Defendant Not Entitled To Litigation Costs Unless Plaintiff’s Lawsuit Lacked Objective Basis

The California Supreme Court in Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire District affirmed the asymmetrical nature of litigation costs awards in discrimination lawsuits under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act...more

New Utah Law Prohibits Unequal Treatment of Rental Units by Homeowners Associations

Recent revisions to Utah law clarify the role and authority of homeowners associations in restricting owners’ renting out of their units, and may require associations to take action to comply. House Bill 98, signed into law...more

CFPB Reminds Mortgage Lenders to Include Section 8 Income

On May 11, the CFPB issued Bulletin 2015-02, reminding creditors to include income from the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Homeownership Program when underwriting mortgage loans. Within the Bulletin, the Bureau noted...more

EPA Criticized for Persecution of 9/11 Dust Whistleblower

A judge from the U.S. Department of Labor rebuked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its concealment of evidence in a case from several years ago against a senior chemist who was wrongfully terminated. The chemist,...more

Emergence of Transgender Status Issues in Workplace Raises Compliance Questions for Employers

Transgender issues have been grabbing headlines in recent months—perhaps most notably with Bruce Jenner’s televised announcement about his gender transition. Beyond the bright lights of pop culture, a wave of litigation and...more

“Ban the Box” Trend Continues Across the Country

The “ban the box” movement—which seeks to remove questions about criminal history from an employer’s initial employment application—continues to cut across geographic and political divides. In March and April, we blogged...more

U.S. Dept. of Education proposes new restrictions on campus financial products

The U.S. Department of Education has issued proposed revisions to its Title IV Higher Education Act (HEA) cash management rules that include significant new restrictions on financial products used to disburse credit balance...more

What is Retaliation in the Second Circuit Under the FLSA?

On April 20, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a long-standing precedent when it held in Greathouse v. JHS Security Inc., that an internal oral complaint could be sufficient to...more

Navigating complex post-pregnancy leave and restrictions

When Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medial Leave Act (FMLA), it considered them as needed protections for clear-cut situations. For...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - May 2015

Editor's Overview - This month we focus on the EEOC's proposed rules concerning wellness programs. As our colleague, Amy Covert, discusses, a recent change of position by the EEOC provides employers with opportunities...more

Complaining to the Boss? The Second Circuit Says That’s Protected

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation that oral complaints are protected by anti-relation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), but it did not address a...more

More than Just a TV Show: How Bruce Jenner’s Story Sheds Light on the Importance of Workplace Policies for Transgender Employees

Last month in a nationally televised interview, U.S. Olympic icon Bruce Jenner revealed to the world that he is a transgender woman. While the coming out process for the rest of the nearly 700,000 transgender Americans may...more

Religious Institutions Update: May 2015

Religious institutions commonly keep ministry supporters and members abreast of developments through newsletters, correspondence and other communications. Sometimes, the developments reported are embarrassing to those...more

EEOC Officials Field Pointed Questions During Senate Committee Hearing

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's enforcement strategies and ligation history came under fire from Republican members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday. During the hearing...more

LinkedIn Reference Search Not Subject To Fair Credit Reporting Act

Finding that LinkedIn’s “Reference Search” function was not subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a Northern California federal district court dismissed a putative class action filed on behalf of job applicants who...more

U.S. Department of Education Proposes New Restrictions on Campus Financial Products

The U.S. Department of Education has issued proposed revisions to its Title IV Higher Education Act (HEA) cash management rules that include significant new restrictions on financial products used to disburse credit balance...more

EEOC Retains Subpoena Power Even after Complainants' Private Lawsuit was Dismissed

Employers beware: in a shocking decision out of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, a court has allowed the EEOC to engage in a fishing expedition to gather more evidence against a company which had already successfully...more

EEOC Proposes Regulatory Clarification on the Application of the ADA to Employer Wellness Program Incentives

Action Item: Employers who already have, or are considering implementing, wellness programs that involve cost-sharing reductions or other financial incentives for participants should carefully review their programs given the...more

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Hostile Work Environment Can Be Created With A Single Racial Epithet

Despite consistent direction from the United States Supreme Court that courts should look at "all the circumstances" in determining whether a workplace environment is sufficiently hostile or abusive to give rise to an...more

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