Overview: To prevent and respond to employee discrimination based on protected class status, an employer must have zero-tolerance policy against this discrimination and communicate to their workforce that discrimination against any individual based on protected class status will not be tolerated.
Employers should understand that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion and national origin. Among the other federal laws that prohibit discrimination are the Americans with Disabilities Act (disability), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (genetic information) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age). State laws generally prohibit employee discrimination against the same classes protected by federal law. However, some state laws go further and consider gender identity/sexual orientation, unemployment status, and marital status to be protected classes.
An employer should implement a policy against discrimination and make sure that all employees and supervisors receive training on the policy An employer should develop and implement policies and practices that are facially neutral and do not discriminate. Further, employers should establish a multi-channeled complaint system and promptly respond to all discrimination complaints by immediately investigating and if necessary, take corrective measures and impose discipline.
Trends: There is a great deal of movement on the federal and state level to expand the protected classes under equal employment opportunity laws. Those protected under discrimination laws have advanced well beyond the traditional protected classes of race, sex, age, and disability to include genetic information, military status, transgender status, individuals with caregiving responsibilities and even unemployment status. As a result, employers can reasonably anticipate a greater number of lawsuits. Further, employers should know that there is also a trend towards class actions and allegations of widespread bias and discrimination by multiple plaintiffs. Employers need to know how to prevent and effectively respond to such claims.
Beth Zoller, J.D., Legal Editor
XpertHR has updated its Pennsylvania EEO-Discrimination content to reflect a new Philadelphia ordinance that expands the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals (LGBTs) in the workplace.
XpertHR has updated two of its state sections, Connecticut and New Jersey, to include further guidance on handling employee "whistleblowers" and to include a major exception to age-discrimination claims. Employers with locations in these states should review the additions to remain compliant with the law and proactive in preventing litigation.
Vermont recently enacted a law amending the Vermont Fair Employment Practice Law and expanding existing equal pay and discrimination laws to provide greater protection to employees. 2013 Bill Text VT H.B. 99; 2013 Bill Text VT S.B. 57.
Philadelphia has enacted a new ordinance expanding the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals (LGBTs) in the workplace, which may significantly affect employment policies and practices.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Vermont employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to terms of employment.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Vermont employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to EEO - discrimination.
On May 15, 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its questions and answers series regarding workplace rights and the prevention of discrimination against individuals with specific disabilities.
On May 14, 2013 Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Minnesota's EEO-Discrimination section in the Employment Law Manual has been updated to include Minnesota's new law legalizing same-sex marriage. The law will take effect on August 1, 2013.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Minnesota employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to EEO - discrimination.
HR guidance and support on how to develop and implement policies to prevent and respond to employee discrimination claims against protected classes.
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