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Archive for September, 2015

FTA: Environmental and Sustainability Management Systems (ESMS) training and technical assistance (Sept. 30, 2015)

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is pleased to offer its next round of Environmental and Sustainability Management Systems (ESMS) training and technical assistance for transit agencies. The FTA is offering this opportunity to selected transit agencies to receive assistance in developing and implementing an ESMS. Application instructions and a brochure describing the training in detail can be found here. Transit agencies interested in applying for this program should submit a signed letter of application by October 30, 2015. You may learn more about FTA’s ESMS program and view past final reports at www.fta.dot.gov/EMS.

We are excited about continuing to partner with transit agencies in this environmental stewardship opportunity and encourage you to apply. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Antoinette Quagliata at 202-366-4265 or Antoinette.Quagliata@dot.gov.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks At Community Policing Forum In Seattle, Washington (Sept. 2015)

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Thank you, U.S. Attorney [Annette] Hayes, for those kind words – and for your extraordinary and longstanding service, sacrifice and leadership on behalf of this office and the people of the Western District of Washington. I also want to thank Mayor [Ed] Murray and Chief of Police [Kathleen] O’Toole for their leadership, their dedication and their hospitality in welcoming me to Seattle today. And I’d like to thank everyone who helped organize this important event. It’s a pleasure to join so many distinguished representatives of law enforcement, city government, faith communities, advocacy groups and local schools as we come together to discuss the ongoing efforts here in Seattle and across the United States to protect our citizens, to empower our communities and to strengthen our most fundamental civic bonds.

We have seen, particularly over the last year, the importance of that effort. From Ferguson to Baltimore and from Cleveland to New York City, we have witnessed the pain and the unrest that can ensue when trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve is damaged, broken, or lost. In many cases, these tensions have their roots in a long and difficult history of inequality, oppression and violence and they speak to issues that have tested our country’s unity since its inception. They will not be overcome with easy solutions or simple strategies. Sweeping progress will not occur overnight. But as Seattle’s recent experience can attest, real progress is possible – when we engage with one another, when we summon our goodwill and good faith and when we work collaboratively as partners with a mutual and shared interest in ensuring the safety and security of the communities we call home.

That is exactly the kind of common understanding that the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice and I personally want to help foster – and I am committed to using all of the tools at my disposal to create positive and lasting change. One year ago, the Department of Justice launched the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice – a comprehensive effort to enhance training, promote research and develop sound policy that will bolster law enforcement credibility, ensure procedural justice, minimize implicit bias and advance racial reconciliation. The Office of Justice Programs, under the direction of Assistant Attorney General [Karol] Mason, is partnering with law enforcement agencies at the state and local level, providing resources like grants, training and technical assistance. Our Civil Rights Division – led by the outstanding Vanita Gupta, who is joining us today – continues its work with police departments around the country to ensure constitutional policing in their jurisdictions, just as it did to great effect here in Seattle, in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. And our Office of Community Oriented Policing Service or COPS Office – under its wonderful Director, Ron Davis, who is also here with us today – is helping to ensure that local law enforcement officers have the resources they need to serve their communities fairly, faithfully and effectively.

These efforts are ongoing. Just a few days ago, I was proud to announce that the COPS Office is providing more than $107 million in new grants to support the hiring and retention of approximately 870 officers at roughly 200 agencies and to promote training aimed at expanding community policing and building community trust. I also announced that, through the Body-Worn Camera Pilot Partnership Program administered by our Bureau of Justice Assistance, we will provide more than $19.3 million to 73 local and tribal law enforcement agencies across the country to implement body-worn camera programs designed to enhance accountability and transparency for law enforcement and communities. And finally, I was pleased to announce that our Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is supporting a unique partnership between the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Coalition for Juvenile Justice as part of a new initiative to create positive interactions and relationships between young people and the police officers in their communities.

These are all promising endeavors and I am hopeful that they will contribute to the progress we would all like to see. But I also know that real change is spearheaded by those who are grappling with real problems every day – and our goal is to tap into the innovative programs and exciting ideas that are emerging from communities across the country. That’s why I embarked on a multi-city community policing tour to learn about – and bring attention to – some of the innovative programs that are getting results in localities from coast to coast. I’ve already made stops in Birmingham, Alabama; Cincinnati, Ohio; East Haven, Connecticut; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the first phase of the tour will conclude tomorrow in Richmond, California. All of these cities have experienced profoundly challenging police community relationships. But through hard work and collaboration – between civic leaders and public safety officials like the ones here with us today – all of them have made important strides in creating and sustaining meaningful change.

I am here in Seattle today because this city’s leaders – all of you around this table and your partners beyond this room – have demonstrated your commitment to making progress – together – on behalf of your fellow citizens and for the good of this great city. Three years ago, Seattle entered a consent decree with the Justice Department to remedy a pattern or practice of excessive force in policing. Thanks to the consent decree and the commitment to change it represented, the Seattle Police Department has adopted policies and instituted trainings to address bias, curtail the use of force and implement new mechanisms of accountability. Those reforms have not only led to positive results in Seattle, but have become a model for similarly situated departments throughout the country. I am proud of the important steps Seattle already taken and I promise you that the Department of Justice will be there as your partner as we continue this important work.

And so, as we continue this conversation, I want to thank you all again for your partnership, your hard work and your devotion to this vital cause. I am excited to have this opportunity to speak with you today. And I look forward to all that we will achieve in the days and months ahead.

Trucking Company Agrees to Settle EEOC Sex and Age Discrimination Case Involving a Strength Exam (Sept. 2015)

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Central Refrigerated Service Agrees to Refrain From Using Already Discontinued ‘WorkWell’ Examinations in Its Hiring Process

LOS ANGELES – Central Refrigerated Service has agreed to settle a sex and age discrimination charge filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The Utah-based trucking company was acquired by Swift Transportation in 2013.

This settlement resolves claims that applicants to truck driver positions at Central Refrigerated Service’s Fontana, Calif., facility who were female or over 40 years of age were allegedly adversely affected by a mandatory policy requiring them to take strength exams which EEOC said were not indica­tive of the strength level required for the positions. The exams were administered by WorkWell, Inc., a third-party vendor no longer used by the company. The EEOC charge alleged that the com­pany’s practice discriminated against women and older applicants who were ultimately not hired as a result of not passing the exam.

Upon acquisition by Swift Transportation, Central Refrigerated Service adopted Swift Transportation’s hiring policies, which do not require any strength or lifting exams.

EEOC and Central Refrigerated Service reached a three-year negotiated settlement agreement, although Central has made clear that it does not admit liability, but rather settled the matter because the WorkWell process had long ago been discarded by the company. Central agreed to an injunction precluding the use of WorkWell strength exams as a condition of employment. The company also agreed to maintain its anti-discrimination policies and post to an employee-accessible intranet platform for all current Central employees. The parties further agreed to the distribution of a public press release on the matter.

“Physical agility tests for positions that do not require the same level of physical ability can run afoul of federal law,” said Rosa M. Viramontes, district director of EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “We commend Central Refrigerated Service for shifting Central’s policies to ensure that job applicants have equal access to employment going forward.”

Mark Wilkey, Central’s general counsel, said, “Central Refrigerated Service is committed to equal opportunity employment and non-discrimination in employment. We are pleased to work with EEOC to resolve this matter.”

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC’s Strategic Enforce­ment Plan (SEP).

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.

E-MDS, Inc. Sued by EEOC for Pregnancy and Disability Discrimination (Sept. 25, 2015)

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Company Failed to Provide Disabled Pregnant Employee With Accommodation and Subsequently Fired Her While on Maternity Leave, Federal Agency Charged

AUSTIN, Texas – E-MDS, Inc., an Austin-based business which provides cloud computer software and management tools for doctor’s offices, including electronic health records, violated federal law when it failed to accommodate a disabled pregnant employee and subsequently fired her because of her pregnancy and her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Commission) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, the employee had heart arrhythmia and an adrenal gland condition that substantially limited her circulatory function. She was subjected to unlawful discrimination when E-MDS discharged her from her position, client service analyst, because of her sex, pregnancy and disability, particularly based on the refusal by E-MDS to provide leave as a reasonable accommodation to her physical impairment as required by the ADA.

The EEOC said E-MDS selected the employee for termination not for merit-based reasons but simply because she was on extended maternity and disability leave. The company claimed it needed to reduce its workforce. The pregnant employee’s direct supervisor had apparently selected someone else for layoff. The agency asserts that the pregnant employee with a disability known to the company was more qualified and better suited for retention.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on their disabilities and requires employers to provide employees with disabilities with reasonable accommodations unless doing so would be an undue hardship for the employer. Additionally, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees due to their pregnancies.

EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. E-MDS, Inc., Civil Action No. 1-15-cv-00860) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the victim, as well as injunctive relief.

“Management chose to fire a good employee simply because she was on maternity and disability leave,” said EEOC San Antonio Field Office Senior Trial Attorney Patrick Connor. “This woman should not have to lose her livelihood because of her pregnancy and medical condition.”

Eduardo Juarez, supervisory trial attorney for EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office, said, “A worker dealing with pregnancy and another physical challenge has enough to deal with without being unfairly and unlawfully deprived of her livelihood. Federal laws protect such people, and EEOC is here to enforce them.”

One of the six national priorities identified by EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the Commission to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the intersection between the ADA and pregnancy-related limitations.

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) presents a free Webinar for Employers! (Sept. 2015)

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Do you have questions about:

How to avoid discrimination in hiring, firing, and recruitment based on citizenship/immigration status, and national origin;
How to prevent discriminatory practices during the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes;
Government resources and more?

Plan to attend our next webinar for Employers and Human Resources Representatives on Tuesday, September 29, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and receive answers from experienced staff. Click here to register today! Space is limited.

Other September webinars (click on link to register):

September 30, 2015, 3:00 p.m. Eastern – OSC/USCIS Employee Rights (English)

View a complete list of OSC’s upcoming webinars. Sign up here to receive future OSC news and upcoming events.

Feel free to contact us:

Worker hotline: 1-800-255-7688
Employer hotline: 1-800-255-8155
TTY: 1-800-237-2515
E-mail: osccrt@usdoj.gov

Follow DOJ’s Civil Rights Division on Twitter, @CivilRights

OFCCP: Celebrating 50 years and the launch of the Class Member Locator (Sept. 25, 2015)

Friday, September 25th, 2015

This week marked OFCCP’s 50th Anniversary. Today we celebrated the Agency by having an event at the Department Labor to commemorate the past, present, and future of our work. We also had the opportunity to launch our Class Member Locator. Please find the video here: www.dol.gov/ofccp/CML.

The Class Member Locator new website is designed to help OFCCP locate affected class members and also provide individuals, who believe that they may be part of a class, to learn about the case by reading a brief summary, a redacted Conciliation Agreement, and press release, if available. In addition, the website provides regional email accounts and 1-800 numbers so that individuals can directly contact OFCCP if they have questions or need assistance.

This site will only be effective if we all do our part to spread the word about it. Please help us with our outreach by sharing the video on social media and telling your networks. We want to generate enough visibility around this site so that we are able to locate 100% of the applicants and workers who are negatively impacted by workplace discrimination.

Also, if you haven’t already seen it, I encourage you to check out OFCCP’s 50th Anniversary page at www.dol.gov/ofccp50. Our new website includes videos, a timeline of our history, as well as blog posts by several of our former directors.

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/ofccp.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (Sept. 2015)

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

The next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities is scheduled for October 14 and 15, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Organizations or members of the public wishing to submit comments and feedback on the interim report or general feedback may do so by using the form found at: www.acicieid.org/comments.

All comments received prior to October 2, 2015, will be forwarded to the Committee in advance of the October meeting. The interim report was submitted to Congress and the Secretary of Labor on September 15, 2015.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Business Sense (Sept. 23, 2015)

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Happy 70th to National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

When it comes to disability inclusion, 2015 has been a banner year, with July marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But the year’s not over yet. National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is right around the corner. And this year marks 70 years since NDEAM’s first observance, so there’s even greater reason to celebrate.

Held every October, NDEAM is always a fitting time for employers of all sizes to demonstrate their commitment to disability inclusion in the workplace. And this year’s NDEAM theme, “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am,” encapsulates an important message that emphasizes the value of doing so — that people with disabilities, like all people, are the sum of many parts, including their work experiences.

Every year, NDEAM’s true spirit lies in celebratory events and activities occurring in communities and organizations across the nation. As always, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) offers a range of free resources to help organizations take part, from posters, videos, and discussion guides to sample articles and proclamations. And as part of its celebration of ADA25, ODEP also assembled a collection of worker stories illustrating the spirit of NDEAM and the importance of the ADA in increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

So if your business has not yet celebrated NDEAM, make this the year you start. You can leverage ODEP’s employer idea list and sample materials to publish an article, create a poster display, train your employees on disability awareness or feature NDEAM in your social media activities. There are endless ways to participate, and ODEP gives you the tools to do so. No matter how you participate, one thing is certain — this October, and all year long, recognizing the diverse contributions of America’s workers with disabilities makes a perfect anniversary gift.

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

OFCCP Creates an Infographic to Explain its Jurisdictional Thresholds (Sept. 18, 2015)

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/ofccp.

As a part of its ongoing outreach and education efforts, OFCCP developed a new “Jurisdictional Thresholds” infographic. The infographic helps employers, employees, and other interested parties easily determine when OFCCP’s Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 503), and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act regulations apply to companies doing business with the federal government.

This new resource includes the recent increase to Section 503’s coverage threshold from $10,000 to $15,000. The increase resulted from an inflationary adjustment statute that authorizes the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to review and adjust “acquisition-related” threshold amounts in statutes that apply to federal procurement.

The infographic is available for download on OFCCP’s Web site at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Sept. 18, 2015)

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Submits Interim Report

The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) submitted its Interim Report to the Secretary of Labor and Congress on September 15, 2015. The report summarizes the progress of the Committee and provides interim findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Disability Employment Initiative Grants Awarded to Six States

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded grants totaling $14,911,243 to six states to increase employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities. The grants to Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, New York and Washington are part of the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), a joint initiative of DOL’s Employment and Training Administration and the Office of Disability Employment Policy. This is the sixth round of DEI funding. Since 2010, DOL has awarded grants worth more than $95 million through the initiative to 43 projects in 27 states to improve education, training, and employment outcomes of youth and adults with disabilities.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Renews Agreement with Administration for Community Living

Building on a partnership that started in 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living (ACL) signed a new memorandum of agreement to continue to jointly expand and promote competitive, integrated employment as the first employment option for individuals with significant disabilities. “This agreement solidifies our continued collaboration with the Administration for Community Living to align policy, practice, and funding toward outcomes related to competitive, integrated employment, independent living, and optimal socioeconomic advancement for individuals with disabilities,” noted ODEP Acting Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy, who signed the agreement with ACL Commissioner Sharon Lewis.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is celebrating its 50th anniversary! OFCCP invites you to join them for the “Journey of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action” event on Friday, September 25, 2015, 10:00-11:00 AM EDT, at the DOL’s César A. Chávez Auditorium, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. A reception will follow. Guests should arrive 30 minutes before the program for security screening, and photo identification will be required for entrance. Sign language interpreters will be provided. Please include any accommodation requests in your RSVP, which is due by Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) has issued its September 17 newsletter, featuring information on National Preparedness Month, the National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDES) report, upcoming events, and more. EARN is a service of the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities, which is funded by ODEP under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center.

American Association of People with Disabilities Presents Disability Mentoring Day

Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a national effort coordinated by the American Association of People with Disabilities to promote career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships. Local DMD Coordinators across the country volunteer their time to host and manage the logistical requirements for DMD events each October.