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Archive for February, 2017

U.S. Department of Labor: Final Rule Implementing Executive Order 13559: Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships with Faith-based and Other Neighborhood Organizations

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

DOL’s Equal Treatment rule, published on April 4, 2016, and effective May 4, 2016, amended DOL’s existing rule at 29 CFR Part 2 Subpart D by prohibiting all recipients of DOL funding from discriminating on the basis of religion. In addition, the rule requires religious organizations that are recipients of direct DOL funding offering services within the US to give beneficiaries a notice of their protections. That notice advises beneficiaries that the organization may not discriminate against the beneficiary on the basis of religion and that if the beneficiary objects to the religious character of the organization, then the organization must promptly make a reasonable effort to provide a referral to an alternative provider. The notice also advises beneficiaries of their right to file a complaint with the CRC for denial of service or a violation of the rule. (See Fact Sheet: https://www.dol.gov/cfbnp/13559.pdf). Information on how to file a complaint with CRC can be found on CRC’s website www.dol.gov/crc.

U.S. Department of Labor: State Responsibilities for Ensuring Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a directive that, for the first time, clarifies that federal unemployment insurance and civil rights laws require meaningful access to the UI system. The directive specifically details the obligations of the states to ensure ready access to UI benefits for all workers, including specific categories of workers who are at greatest risk of being denied access to benefits based on overly restrictive automated systems.

Go to https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_02-16_Acc.pdf for the complete directive.

Kentucky’s Unemployment Insurance division resolves allegations of discrimination made by US Labor Department (Feb. 2017)

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Agreement ensures access to program benefits for those with limited English proficiency

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center and the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, Division of Unemployment Insurance have entered into an agreement to resolve allegations that the state failed to provide adequate language assistance services to those with limited English proficiency to allow meaningful access to Kentucky’s unemployment services.

The department’s investigation focused on whether KOET’s unemployment insurance program violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. CRC found KOET did not take reasonable steps to provide individuals with limited English proficiency with meaningful access to unemployment insurance benefits, programs, services and information. By entering into a conciliation agreement, KOET demonstrates its commitment to correcting this situation.

Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, KOET’s Division of Unemployment Insurance will:

Assess the language needs of the limited English proficiency populations it serves by identifying the highest-demand languages and specific needs of these populations at the state and local level.
Develop and implement a language access plan that details how KOET will provide meaningful access to the LEP populations it serves.
Correct deficiencies in translations of written materials, including Web pages and online filing systems, by identifying vital written materials (those that are necessary to understand, access, and receive benefits and/or services) and translating and disseminating those materials.
Provide training to all staff on language access obligations and provide meaningful access to those with limited English proficiency through language assistance services.
Publicize the availability of language assistance.
This settlement demonstrates the department’s commitment to vigorous enforcement of the laws that protect all Americans who seek services provided by American Job Centers. The department acknowledges KOET’s commitment to non-discrimination and its willingness to address these allegations affirmatively and cooperatively.

CRC administers and enforces laws that apply to recipients of financial assistance under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and its predecessor, the Workforce Investment Act; American Job Center partners listed in WIOA/WIA Section 121(b) that offer programs or activities through the workforce development system; state and local governments and other public entities operating programs and activities related to labor and the workforce; and any other recipients of financial assistance from, or programs conducted by, the department.

For more information about CRC, call (202) 693-6500 (voice) or 800-877-8339 (relay) or go to http://www.dol.gov/crc/.

North Carolina Commerce Department agrees to improve access to workforce programs after US Labor Department’s compliance review (Feb. 2017)

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

State to correct deficiencies, remove language barriers to federally funded services

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Commerce after a compliance review by the federal department’s Civil Rights Center found the state’s unemployment insurance and employment service programs deficient in providing services to those with limited English proficiency.

Prompted by a national origin discrimination complaint by Legal Aid of North Carolina, the CRC sought to determine if the programs – administered by the state’s Divisions of Employment Security and Workforce Solutions – met their obligations to provide meaningful access to limited English proficient individuals to programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. The DES administers the unemployment insurance program, while the DWS administers the employment service program.

After completing its review, the center found that DES and DWS policies, practices and procedures required improvement to comply with requirements set forth under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and the regulations that implement these statutes. In its agreement, the state’s DES and DWS programs will:

Assess the language needs of the limited English proficiency populations they serve by identifying the highest-demand languages, adequately tracking and reporting future encounters with these individuals and addressing specific translation needs of these populations at both the state and local level.

Develop and implement language access plans for providing meaningful access to those with limited English proficiency.
Correct deficiencies in translations of written materials, including Web pages and online filing systems.
Identify and correct deficiencies with the provision of interpretation services to individuals with limited English proficiency.
Provide training to all staff on language access obligations and provide meaningful access to those with limited English proficiency through language assistance services.
Publicize the availability of language assistance and the right of potentially aggrieved individual with limited English proficiency to file claims of delay/denial.
Notify customers of their language access rights and their right to file claims of delay/denial.
The settlement demonstrates the department’s commitment to vigorous enforcement of the laws that protect all Americans who seek services provided by American Job Centers. The department also acknowledges DES and DWS’s commitment to non-discrimination and their willingness to address these allegations affirmatively and cooperatively.

CRC administers and enforces laws that apply to recipients of financial assistance under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and its predecessor the Workforce Investment Act; American Job Center partners listed in WIOA/WIA Section 121(b) that offer programs or activities through the workforce development system; state and local governments and other public entities operating programs and activities related to labor and the workforce; and any recipients of financial assistance from, or programs conducted by the department.

For more information about CRC, call (202) 693-6500 (voice) or 800-877-8339 (relay) or go to http://www.dol.gov/crc/.

Covenant Transport To Pay $30,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit (Feb. 2017)

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Trucking Company Refused To Hire Applicant Because of Inability to Provide a Urine Sample Due to Medical Condition, Federal Agency Charged

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Covenant Transport, Inc., a trucking company based in Chattanooga, Tenn., will pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit had charged that Covenant discriminated against an applicant for a commercial truck driver position on the basis of his disability. Covenant conditionally approved the applicant’s application, pending a license check and a drug screening. The applicant told Covenant’s representative he was unable to provide a urine sample due to a medical condition, bladder exstrophy, but could provide blood for the drug screening. Covenant initially agreed to the blood screening, but later decided not to hire the applicant because of his medical condition and the fact that he could not provide a valid urine specimen.

Failing to make a reasonable accommodation for an applicant’s disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-00142 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. Covenant denied that it discriminated against the applicant.

According to the settlement terms written in a consent decree signed by Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan, Covenant will pay $30,000 in compensatory damages to the affected applicant. Addition¬ally, Covenant must develop a written drug testing policy and provide 90 minutes of annual training on that policy to its recruiters and head of safety for the next two years.

“The EEOC appreciates Covenant’s willingness to resolve this case without protracted litigation,” said Faye Williams, regional attorney for the Memphis District Office. “The agency remains committed to enforcing the ADA to remove barriers to employment for persons with disabilities.”

According to its website, Covenant Transport, founded in 1986, operates as a premium transportation service provider specializing in critical, hazmat, government, Canadian and Mexican shipments. The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ-ment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against New York Restaurant (Feb. 2017)

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

The Justice Department reached an agreement today with Levy Premium Foodservice Limited Partnership, doing business as Levy Restaurants, a national chain of sports arena restaurants. The settlement resolves the department’s investigation of a charge filed by a work-authorized immigrant against Levy’s Barclay Center restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, alleging discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The department concluded, based on its investigation that Levy discriminated against two lawful permanent residents at its Barclay Center restaurant by improperly reverifying their employment eligibility because of their immigration status. The department also determined that Levy improperly required them to present specific types of documents to re-establish their employment eligibility and suspended the charging party when he was unable to present such a document. The antidiscrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on the employee’s citizenship, immigration status or national origin.

Levy cooperated with the department throughout the investigation, quickly reinstated the charging party, and restored his lost wages and leave benefits. Under the settlement, Levy must pay a civil penalty to the United States, undergo department-provided training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

“The Justice Department is committed to ensuring the rights of lawful U.S. workers to be free from discriminatory barriers based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend Levy for working with the Civil Rights Division to implement the corrective action resolving this matter.”

The division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits, among other things, citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.govEmail links icon; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with City of Philadelphia to Resolve Disability Discrimination Complaint (Feb. 6, 2017)

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

The Justice Department filed a proposed consent decree today to resolve a complaint that the city of Philadelphia discriminated against an employee with a disability when it terminated the employee rather than reassign him to a vacant position for which he was qualified, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

According to the department’s complaint, the employee, who worked for the city as a sanitation worker, was terminated from his position after he had a heart attack and his doctor placed him under a 20-pound lifting restriction, which prevented him from continuing as a sanitation worker. Although the employee made several requests for reassignment and the city had numerous vacant positions, the city failed to consider the employee for reassignment to a different position for which he was qualified. Instead, the city terminated the employee because of his disability.

The proposed consent decree, which is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, requires the city’s streets department to revise its policies to ensure that reassignment is considered as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, train relevant employees on the ADA and report to the Justice Department on implementation of the decree. The city will also offer to reinstate and reassign the employee to an open position for which he is qualified and will pay the employee a total of $90,000 for back pay, accrued interest and compensatory damages. This matter was based on a referral from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Philadelphia Area Office, which completed the initial investigation of the facts.

“Firing an employee because of a disability in these circumstances constitutes discrimination and violates the ADA,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Just because an employee’s disability prevents them from working in one position does not disqualify them from working successfully in a different position. We commend the city of Philadelphia for agreeing to revise its policies and offering to reinstate the former employee.”

For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.

Justice Department: Statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the Withdrawal of Title IX Guidance (Feb. 2017)

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

The Department of Justice and the Department of Education today withdrew guidance for educational institutions, issued in 2015 and 2016, that took the position that the prohibitions in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and implementing regulations against discrimination on the basis of sex require access to sex-segregated facilities on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the following statement:

“The Department of Justice has a duty to enforce the law. The prior guidance documents did not contain sufficient legal analysis or explain how the interpretation was consistent with the language of Title IX. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice therefore have withdrawn the guidance. Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue. The Department of Justice remains committed to the proper interpretation and enforcement of Title IX and to its protections for all students, including LGBTQ students, from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.”

EEOC’s EXCEL Training Conference in Chicago June 27-29, 2017 (Feb. 2017)

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that registration is now open for its 20th annual Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws (EXCEL) training conference on preventing employment discrimination for both the public and private sectors. The conference will take place June 27-29 in Chicago.

EXCEL’s 20th anniversary theme is Embracing the Future: People, Purpose, Passion.

EXCEL is the EEOC’s premier training conference and features comprehensive training workshops and events specifically designed for federal EEO managers, supervisors and practitioners. EXCEL also features the most up-to-date guidance and information for private-sector human resource professionals, attorneys, ADR specialists and EEO consultants.

Additional details about the conference, including agendas, pricing information and online registration are available at http://eeotraining.eeoc.gov/excelmain.html

Registration information may also be obtained by calling 1-866-446-0940 or via e-mail: eeoc.traininginstitute@eeoc.gov.

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

EEOC Extends Public Input Period on Proposed Harassment Enforcement Guidance to March 21, 2017

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it has extended for 40 days the public input period on its proposed enforcement guidance on unlawful workplace harassment. The proposed guidance is now open for public input until March 21, 2017.

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

Public input may be submitted online at this location [https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EEOC-2016-0009] on www.regulations.gov until midnight on March 21, 2017. Alternatively, members of the public may send written feedback to: Public Input, EEOC, Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507. All 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.

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.