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EEOC Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Enforcement and Litigation Data (Jan. 2017)

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

Agency Adds Statistics Detailing LGBT Charges

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released detailed breakdowns for the 91,503 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received in fiscal year 2016. This is the second year in a row that the number of charges filed with EEOC has increased.

Overall, EEOC resolved 97,443 charges in fiscal year 2016 and secured more than $482 million for victims of discrimination in private sector and state and local government workplaces through volun­tary resolutions and litigation. The agency reduced the workload of pending charges by 3.8 percent to 73,508 — the lowest pending charge workload in three years. The agency responded to over 585,000 calls to its toll-free number and more than 160,000 inquiries in field offices, reflecting the significant public demand for EEOC’s services. EEOC has previously released fiscal year 2016 highlights.

This is the first year that EEOC has included detailed information about LGBT charges in its year-end summary. EEOC resolved 1,650 charges and recovered $4.4 million for LGBT individuals who filed sex discrimination charges with EEOC in fiscal year 2016. Additionally, the data show a steady increase in the four years the agency has been collecting LGBT charge data. From fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2016, nearly 4,000 charges were filed with EEOC by LGBT individuals alleging sex discrimination, and EEOC recovered $10.8 million for these individuals.

“EEOC advances opportunity for all of America’s workers and plays a critical role in helping employers build stronger workplaces,” said EEOC Chair Jenny Yang. “Despite the progress that has been made, we continue to see discrimination in both overt and subtle forms. The ongoing challenge of combating employ­ment discrimination is what makes EEOC’s work as important as ever.”

Specifically, the charge numbers show the following breakdowns by bases alleged, in descending order:

Retaliation: 42,018 (45.9 percent of all charges filed)
Race: 32,309 (35.3 percent)
Disability: 28,073 (30.7 percent)
Sex: 26,934 (29.4 percent)
Age: 20,857 (22.8 percent)
National Origin: 9,840 (10.8 percent)
Religion: 3,825 (4.2 percent)
Color: 3,102 (3.4 percent)
Equal Pay Act: 1,075 (1.2 percent)
Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act: 238 (.3 percent)

These percentages add up to more than 100 because some charges allege multiple bases.

EEOC legal staff resolved 139 lawsuits and filed 86 lawsuits alleging discrimination in fiscal year 2016. The lawsuits filed by EEOC included 55 individual suits and 31 suits involving multiple victims or discrimin­atory policies. At the end of the fiscal year, EEOC had 168 cases on its active docket, of which 48 (28.6 per­cent) involve challenges to systemic discrimination and an additional 32 (19 percent) are multiple-victim cases. EEOC achieved a successful outcome in 90.6 percent of all suit resolutions.

EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

EEOC Issues Quality Practices Plan on Federal Sector Hearings, Appeals and Oversight Functions (Jan. 2017)

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today published Federal Sector Quality Practices (FSQP) to address the quality of the agency’s hearings and appeals in federal employee employment discrimination complaints.

The FSQP also devotes attention to the Commission’s role in providing oversight of federal agencies when reviewing affirmative employment and barrier analysis plans, evaluating federal agency complaint processes, and offering technical assistance to federal agencies. It is modeled on the private sector’s Quality Practices for Effective Investigations and Conciliations (QEP), created pursuant to EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.

The FSQP was developed by an internal work group, appointed by Chair Jenny R. Yang, that surveyed the workforce to gather information on the hallmarks of quality work and studied commentary on the federal sector, including reviewing General Accountability Office reports; testimony from past Commission meetings; public comments and letters from stakeholders suggesting improvements for federal sector processing. The work group’s efforts were refined, and ultimately unanimously approved, by EEOC’s Commissioners.

“These Federal Sector Quality Practices provide guidelines to help our staff strengthen our federal employee hearings and appeals process, timely resolve complaints, and provide valuable oversight to agencies in their EEO programs,” said Chair Jenny R. Yang. “This document is a tool to ensure EEOC provides a high-quality work product to its federal sector stakeholders.”

EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

Labor Department: WIOA Section 188 Final Regulations at 29 C.F.R. Part 38 Published (Jan. 2017)

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center announces the publication of the Final Rule updating the Section 188 WIOA Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Regulations (29 CFR Part 38). Section 188 prohibits discrimination against individuals in any program or activity that receives financial assistance under Title I of WIOA as well as by the one-stop partners listed in WIOA Section 121(b) that offer programs or activities through the one-stop/American Job Center system. Section 188 prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief, or, for beneficiaries, applicants, and participants only, citizenship status or because of an individual’s participation in a program or activity that receives financial assistance under Title I of WIOA.

The final rule contains substantive changes necessary to address developments in equal opportunity and nondiscrimination law since 1999, when the part 37 regulations were issued originally. However, while the rule makes many substantive changes since 1999, the final rule does not impose significant new obligations on recipients. The rule’s updated provisions generally reflect obligations already imposed by changes to other nondiscrimination and equal opportunity laws that expanded, for example, protections against unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability, national origin (including limited English proficiency), and sex. This rule will ensure recipients understand how their obligations in this regard have changed over the past 17 years. The final rule also includes updates reflecting changes in the increased use of online service delivery models in the workforce development system since 1999.

The update ensures the entire workforce system is aware of current equal opportunity rights and responsibilities of beneficiaries and recipients. This regulation will also increase equality of opportunity for millions of job seekers, training participants, program beneficiaries, and recipients’ employees by allowing them to participate or work in programs and activities free from unlawful discrimination. The final rule safeguards access to the system in particular for people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, transgender individuals who may face various forms of sex discrimination, and individuals who are pregnant, have had a child, or have related medical conditions.

The effective date of the final rule is January 3, 2017.

Blogger’s Note: For the text of the final rule, go to https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/02/2016-27737/implementation-of-the-nondiscrimination-and-equal-opportunity-provisions-of-the-workforce-innovation. For a FAQs sheet and other information about the final rule, go to https://www.dol.gov/crc/188rule/. Importantly, the “effective date” of the final rule triggers deadlines for certain compliance activities.

Justice Department: Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC’s) new name is the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER)

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

As of January 18, 2017, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is now called the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER). IER will continue to have the same mission that it had 30 years ago when Congress created this office to enforce the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. To reflect the name change of the office, IER launched new English and Spanish websites featuring a new Workers’ Stories page where workers recount their experiences getting assistance through our worker hotline, a new IER poster (also in Spanish; more translations coming soon), and two new educational resources. The first is a resource guide for asylees and refugees with information about their employment rights and federal agencies that asylees and refugees may contact if they believe their employment rights have been violated titled, “Employment Rights & Resources for Refugees & Asylees.” The second is guidance for employers on avoiding discrimination against citizens of the Freely Associated States, titled, “Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Republic of Palau Have the Right to Work Without Facing Discrimination: What Employers Should Know.” For more information about IER and the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, visit www.justice.gov/ier. IER’s Spanish site is www.justice.gov/crt-espanol/ier.

U.S. DOJ Civil Rights Division News (Jan. 13, 2017)

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Civil Rights Division Highlights

The Justice Department announced today that it has found reasonable cause to believe that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. The department found that CPD officers’ practices unnecessarily endanger themselves and result in unnecessary and avoidable uses of force. The pattern or practice results from systemic deficiencies in training and accountability, including the failure to train officers in de-escalation and the failure to conduct meaningful investigations of uses of force. The city of Chicago and the Justice Department have signed an agreement in principle to work together, with community input, to create a federal court-enforceable consent decree addressing the deficiencies found during the investigation. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, head of the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta and U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon of the Northern District of Illinois delivered remarks at a press conference announcing the findings.

The Justice Department announced that it has entered into a court-enforceable agreement with the city of Baltimore to resolve the department’s findings that the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) engages in a pattern and practice of conduct that violates the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution as well as federal anti-discrimination laws. The consent decree, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, creates a pathway toward lasting reform within BPD. The decree’s requirements focus on building community trust, creating a culture of community and problem-oriented policing, prohibiting unlawful stops and arrests, preventing discriminatory policing and excessive force, ensuring public and officer safety, enhancing officer accountability and making needed technological upgrades. Attorney General Lynch and Vanita Gupta delivered remarks at a press conference announcing the agreement.

Attorney General Lynch delivered capstone remarks on community policing at University of Baltimore School of Law and explained that the “division’s police reform work focuses on addressing systemic breakdowns in community-police trust. In Baltimore and around the country, restoring that trust is essential to advancing public safety.”

As part of the Justice Department’s commitment to working with communities and law enforcement to build stronger relationships and mutual trust, Attorney General Lynch announced the release of the “Attorney General’s Community Policing Report,” a summary of the Attorney General’s 12-city Community Policing Tour and the department’s four Regional Justice Forums.

The Justice Department announced that it has filed a motion to intervene in Common Cause New York et al. v. Board of Elections in the City of New York et al., a private lawsuit alleging that the New York City Board of Elections failed to comply with Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). The lawsuit was filed by private plaintiffs on Nov. 3, 2016.

The Justice Department filed a proposed consent decree with the Palm Beach County, Florida, School Board to resolve a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the department under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Vanita Gupta delivered remarks at the Justice Department’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, explaining: “That’s what King wanted all of us to do: not to live a life of perfection, without struggle and failure, and not to let the status quo control our careers. But to find the courage and strength to lead, to inspire others, to take chances, to empower and lift our neighbors up. Through that process, man-by-man, woman-by-woman, community-by-community, he believed in America’s unyielding capacity for progress.”

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit to challenge the at-large method of electing the city council of Eastpointe, Michigan. The complaint alleges that the election system in Eastpointe violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by denying black citizens in the city the equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.

Former Chief of Police of Stevenson, Alabama, Daniel Winters, 56, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for beating an arrestee and for standing by while Winters’ friend beat the arrestee. On July 14, 2016, a federal jury convicted Winters of two counts of violating the individual’s civil rights. Winters was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala of the Northern District of Alabama.

The Justice Department announced that it has moved to intervene in Disability Rights Florida Inc., v. Julie Jones, a private lawsuit alleging that the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) failed to protect the rights of inmates with disabilities in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Former Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark A. Cowden, 51, of Weirton, West Virginia, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for using excessive force against an arrestee.

For more information, go to www.justice.gov.

U.S. Department of Justice: Winter Issue of Title VI Civil Rights News @ FCS Released (Jan. 13, 2017)

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

The Title VI Newsletter, https://www.justice.gov/crt/page/file/925946/download, is now available. Each January we commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose resilience, sacrifice, and faith in justice was instrumental in so many ways, including in compelling the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Winter 2017 issue continues our efforts to share information on important federal agency action to enforce Title VI – the law that prohibits race, color, and national origin discrimination by recipients of federal financial assistance.
During this month of reflection and resolution, we highlight examples of the federal agencies’ Title VI efforts, recognizing that this work rests on the shoulders of history and was informed by engagement with the American people. In this issue’s Agency Spotlight, Naomi Berry-Perez, Director of the Civil Rights Center at the U.S. Department of Labor, discusses the agency’s latest efforts grounded in Title VI, including the recently published regulation implementing the nondiscrimination provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act. We also feature Frequently Asked Questions on the application of Title VI in the context of health care programs and activities. Please read on for news of recent Title VI settlement agreements, an update to the Title VI Legal Manual, briefs, outreach activities, and more. To sign up for egovdelivery of the Title VI Newsletter, [go to https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOJ/subscriber/new?qsp=997.]

Christine Stoneman
Acting Chief
Federal Coordination and Compliance Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice

The Justice Department partners with Peru to Combat Employment Discrimination (Jan. 18, 2017)

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

The Justice Department and the government of Peru announced a formal partnership to protect workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin. On January 17, 2017, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Peruvian Ambassador Carlos Pareja signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the embassy and its consulates, and the Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC).

For more information, go to https://www.justice.gov/crt/immigrant-and-employee-rights-section.

New ‘Digest of EEO Law’ Issued by EEOC (Jan. 2017)

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Includes Selected Notable Federal Sector Decisions for Fiscal Year 2016

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the latest edition of its federal sector Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEO Digest), which is available online.

The EEO Digest, a quarterly publication prepared by EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO), features a wide variety of recent Commission decisions and federal court cases of interest. Additionally, the Digest includes hyperlinks so that stakeholders can easily access the full decisions which have been summarized.

“This annual special round up of noteworthy case decisions provides a one-stop location for federal sector stakeholders,” said Carlton M. Hadden, director of OFO. “The Digest of EEO Law is a great resource for the federal sector EEO community. We welcome your comments or suggestions for future topics by emailing us at ofo.eeoc@eeoc.gov.”

This special edition of the Digest (FY 2017, Volume 1) contains summaries of noteworthy decisions issued by EEOC, including cases involving: Agency Processing, Attorneys’ Fees, Class Complaints, Compensatory Damages, Dismissals, Findings of the Merits, Remedies, Sanctions, Settlement Agreements, Stating a Claim, Summary Judgment, and Timeliness. The summaries are neither intended to be exhaustive or definitive as to the selected subject matter, nor are they to be given the legal weight of case law in citations.

In addition to the quarterly Digest, Commission federal sector decisions are available on EEOC’s website. The public may also receive federal sector information updates and news items via GovDelivery and Twitter.

EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

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EEOC Seeks Public Input on Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Harassment (Jan. 2017)

Monday, January 16th, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it has voted to release for public input a proposed enforcement guidance addressing unlawful harassment under the federal employment discrimination laws. The proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment is available for input until Feb. 9, 2017 at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EEOC-2016-0009.

This proposed guidance, which is the product of extensive research, analysis, and deliberation, explains the legal standards applicable to harassment claims under federal employment discrimination laws. The laws enforced by EEOC protect individuals from harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information.

Between fiscal years 2012 and 2015, the percentage of private sector charges that included an allegation of harassment increased from slightly more than one-quarter of all charges annually to over 30% of all charges. In fiscal year 2015, EEOC received 27,893 private sector charges that included an allegation of harassment, accounting for more than 31% of charges filed that year. In the same year, federal employees filed 6,741 complaints alleging harassment – approximately 44% of complaints filed by federal employees that year.

“Harassment remains a serious workplace problem that is the concern of all Americans. It is important for employers to understand the actions they can take today to prevent and address harassment in their workplaces,” said Chair Jenny R. Yang. “The Commission looks forward to hearing public input on the proposed enforcement guidance.”

Preventing systemic harassment has been one of EEOC’s national enforcement priorities since 2013. The Commission reaffirmed this priority in its Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2017-2021. At a public meeting in January 2015, the Commission established a Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace to analyze workplace harassment and identify innovative and creative prevention strategies. Chaired by Commissioners Chai R. Feldblum and Victoria A. Lipnic and comprised of academic experts, legal practitioners from the plaintiff and defense sides, employers, employee advocacy groups, and organized labor, the Select Task Force met 10 times between April 2015 and June 2016 to hear and consider testimony and public comments. At a June 2016 public meeting, Commissioners Feldblum and Lipnic presented their Report of the Co-Chairs of the Select Task Force on Harassment in the Workplace (“Harassment Prevention Report”) with findings and recommendations about harassment prevention strategies.

“I am pleased that we are able to follow up on the recommendations in our Harassment Prevention Report with this release of the draft enforcement guidance on unlawful harassment,” said Feldblum. “This guidance clearly sets forth the Commission’s positions on harassment law, provides helpful explanatory examples, and provides promising practices based on the recommendations in the report. I believe it will be a helpful resource for employers and employees alike, and I look forward to receiving comments from the public.”

“As we learned from the Harassment Prevention Report this past year, 30 years after the U.S. Supreme Court laid down the law in this area, harassment charges and cases remain a far too dominant part of the work of the Commission,” said Lipnic. “I am pleased the Commission is offering an updated version of its positions on the important legal issues on this topic and look forward to the public input.”

The public is invited to submit input about the proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment via www.regulations.gov. Alternatively, members of the public may send written feedback to: Public Input, EEOC, Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507. Please provide input in narrative form and do not submit redlined versions of the guidance document. Input will be posted publicly on www.regulations.gov, so please do not include personal information that you do not want made public, such as your home address or telephone number. The deadline for submission of public input is February 9, 2017.

After reviewing the public input, the Commission will consider appropriate revisions to the proposed guidance before finalizing it.

EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division News (Jan. 6, 2017)

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

The Justice Department released a comprehensive report that provides an overview of the Civil Rights Division’s police reform work under Section 14141 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The report, “The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present,” is designed to serve as a resource for local law enforcement agencies and communities by making the Division’s police reform work more accessible and transparent.

The Division recently launched a new website to make information about the Justice Department’s investigation of unsolved homicides, or “cold cases,” from the Civil Rights Era more accessible to the public. Over 50 closing memos are already available on the site. In the coming months, this website will make all Civil Rights Division closing memos available to the public in a format that is fully text-searchable. The memos can also be sorted by date of incident. We hope that these materials will be of use to researchers, historians, community leaders and members of the general public.

The Justice Department filed a statement of interest addressing the harmful effects of subjecting juvenile offenders to solitary confinement. The statement of interest was filed in V.W. et al. v. Conway et al., a class action brought by six juveniles and their parents and natural guardians to challenge the placement of youth in solitary confinement in the Onondaga County Justice Center in Syracuse, New York.

The Justice Department filed a consent order to resolve allegations that Union Savings Bank and Guardian Savings Bank engaged in a pattern or practice of “redlining” predominantly African-American neighborhoods in and around Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; and Indianapolis. “Redlining” is the discriminatory practice by banks or other financial institutions of denying or avoiding providing credit services to consumers because of the racial demographics of the neighborhood in which the consumer lives.