Friday, February 5, 2016

Minnesota Employer Faces Lawsuit Over Denial of Health Insurance Coverage for Transgender Medical Treatments

A Minnesota woman is suing her employer for sex discrimination based on the denial of health plan coverage for her transgender son’s medical treatments. The employee, Brittany Tovar, alleges that Duluth-based Essentia Health and insurance provider HealthPartners violated federal and state law by denying coverage for her son’s gender reassignment surgery and related medications to transition from female to male. The suit alleges that Tovar’s son has gender dysphoria, a condition of feeling one’s gender identity is different from one’s gender assigned at birth.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Are You Implementing Anti-Retaliation ‘Best Practices'?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is preparing to issue a new enforcement guidance on “Retaliation and Related Issues.” The impending guidance, available here, is not yet final, but has been published by the EEOC for public comment. Once the guidance is finalized, it will not technically carry the force of law, but it will feel like it does. While courts are not obligated to follow EEOC guidance, the EEOC itself relies on its own enforcement guidance documents when addressing discrimination charges or litigating on behalf of claimants. Employers should, therefore, take the new guidance seriously.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pay Transparency Has Greater “Oomph” Under New OFCCP Regulations—New Requirements for Workplace Conduct, and Content of Manuals and Handbooks

In furtherance of pay equality and greater pay transparency, new requirements for federal contractors took effect on January 11, 2016, making it unlawful to discriminate against a party who inquires about, discusses, or discloses pay or compensation. (See 41 C.F.R. Part 60-1.) The executive order is intended to promote pay transparency and openness by permitting workers and job applicants the freedom to share information about pay or compensation without the threat of subsequent discrimination.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

EEOC Files Amicus Brief Arguing Sexual Orientation Discrimination is a Form of Sex Discrimination


In the early days of 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continues its strategic enforcement focus on LGBT rights. Last week, the EEOC filed an amicus brief in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit case, Burrows v. College of Central Florida.  In its brief, the EEOC argued that employment discrimination based on an individual's sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination and unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The ‘Gray Zone’ - Recording Devices in the Workplace

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has once again entered the confusing and inconsistent intersection between our technological ability to record almost anything and the rights of employers to restrict recordings in the workplace (the “Gray Zone”). (See our prior discussion about this topic in 2013). In a recent decision, the NLRB struck down a Whole Foods workplace policy banning employees from recording conversations or taking photographs in the workplace without approval.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Don't Get Burned By Misclassifying Employees


Wage and hour issues heated up earlier this year when the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released a proposed rule that would more than double the salary threshold for employees to be classified as exempt under the "white collar" exemptions to the federal overtime requirements. You can read our post from July of this year to learn more about the proposed rule, which would raise the minimum weekly salary requirement for the “white collar” exemptions from $455 per week to $970 per week.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Is Your Company Up to Speed on How to Minimize the Risk of Retaliation Claims?

The Star Tribune reported Wednesday that a former high-ranking Starkey employee has sued the company for retaliation, claiming that she was wrongfully fired for raising questions about potential improprieties in the company’s business practices. The suit continues a long-standing trend of mounting whistleblower and retaliation claims against employers. As discussed in an earlier post this year, retaliation claims continue to be the most commonly filed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge.