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EEOC Announces Featured Speakers at Annual EXCEL Conference on Employment Discrimination Law (May 2017)

Monday, May 29th, 2017

AARP CEO to Deliver Keynote Speech on Persistent Problem of Age Bias

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that several nationally known authorities on equal employment opportunity law and policy will speak at the agency’s 20th annual EXCEL training conference in Chicago on June 27-29. EXCEL stands for Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws.

The theme of this year’s EXCEL conference is Embracing the Future: People, Purpose, Passion. EXCEL provides the employer community, in both the federal and private sectors, with tools and strategies to address emerging issues in equal employment opportunity (EEO) and foster model work­places nationwide. EXCEL includes separate agendas for the federal and private sectors, which includes state and local governments. The comp­rehensive training workshops and events are geared toward EEO managers, supervisors, practi­tioners, HR professionals, attorneys, ADR specialists and other interested parties.

“EXCEL is the EEOC’s premier annual training event,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. “EXCEL attendees will get cutting-edge information and the latest updates on EEO law and policy issues. This conference is a key EEOC tool in promoting best practices in the workplace.”

As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the agency is pleased to announce that Jo Ann Jenkins, chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), will be one of the keynote speakers. Jenkins has been described as a visionary “thought leader” and a catalyst for breakthrough results at the nation’s largest advocacy organization for older Americans (with over 30 million members).

Other speakers include:

Kathleen McGettigan, acting director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), who has an extensive understanding of both the private and public sectors. She has spent over 25 years in federal service at OPM and 20 years in private sector financial management.

Steve Pemberton, senior executive at Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led health and well-being enterprise in the world. He is a subject matter expert on diversity, inclu­sion and related issues.

Haben Girma, a civil rights attorney and leader in global inclusion efforts. She is the first deaf and blind graduate of Harvard Law School.

Sheldon Goode, director of diversity and inclusion for Oshkosh Corporation, a global company that is the leading manufacturer and marketer of specialty vehicles.

In addition, EXCEL 2017 offers three plenary sessions, two specialty tracks and over 50 open workshops. The plenary sessions and workshops provide participants with knowledge and skills to address the emerging issues in EEO, enhance their performance and meet the evolving demands of today’s workplace – from harassment and retaliation to disability and accommodation. A sampling of the workshop topics includes:

You Measure What You Treasure: Diversity Metrics
Tricky HR Situations: Harassment and Retaliation Edition
MD-715: Addressing Opportunities for Hispanics in the Federal Workforce
Accommodation Outside the Office – Issues and Answers
Get It Right the First Time: Investigative Interview Techniques
Islamophobia 2.0
The ADEA at 50: Observe the Golden Anniversary by Avoiding the Golden Handshake

The EXCEL conference will take place June 27-29 at the Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60605. Additional information about EXCEL — including the agenda, pricing information and online registration — is available online at https://eeotraining.eeoc.gov/excelmain.html.

EEOC: Older Americans Month Message from the Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic (May 29, 2017)

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Older Americans Month honors older Americans and celebrates their contributions to our country. The EEOC recognizes the value that older workers bring to the workplace and to our economy as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) this year.

When the ADEA was enacted in 1967, arbitrary age limits for hiring and firing were common. Explicit age limits barred workers over age 45 from a quarter of private sector jobs, those over age 55 from half of such jobs, and workers over age 65 from almost all such jobs.

Much has changed in 50 years. The ADEA opened up opportunities for older workers by banning most age limits and requiring equal treatment of workers without regard to age. More older persons are in the workforce than ever before, as more older women and those over age 65 continue to work. Older workers are more educated and healthier than previous generations, and the most engaged group in the workforce.

Traditional norms about work and retirement are changing dramatically, as many older workers plan to continue working into their 70s in full- or part-time jobs, in second careers or new fields. And, contrary to stereotypes that older workers are not innovative or creative, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55-64 age group.

Many employers recognize the value of older workers, citing their professionalism, strong work ethic, reliability and commitment. Research demonstrates that age diversity can improve organizational performance and the productivity of both older and younger workers with mixed-age work teams.

A few years after the ADEA was enacted, the Senate Special Committee on Aging noted that the “ADEA was enacted, not only to enforce the law, but to provide the facts that would help change attitudes.” Today we ask: Have attitudes about older workers and age discrimination progressed with the dramatic changes in the workforce and the workplace?

Unfortunately, age discrimination remains a significant problem for older workers that diminishes their financial security and limits their contributions to our economy. At the EEOC, we work to change attitudes about older workers and the discriminatory practices they confront through concerted enforcement and prevention programs.

Next month the Commission will hold a public meeting on June 14 in Washington, D.C. to hear from experts who have studied age discrimination, ageist stereotypes, the challenges older workers face in getting and keeping jobs, and strategies for employers to leverage the value of an aging workforce. The meeting will launch the EEOC’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the ADEA to continue the promise of the ADEA to ensure that employment opportunities are based on ability, not age.

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (May 26, 2017)

Friday, May 26th, 2017

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

Free Tool to Assess Workplace Technology Accessibility — PEAT Enhances TechCheck
The ODEP-funded Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) has enhanced TechCheck, a free, interactive tool that helps organizations evaluate their accessible workplace technology efforts and find resources to develop them further. TechCheck gives users a confidential benchmarking “snapshot” of the current state of their workplace technology, recommended accessibility goals and steps they can take to achieve them. Updated features of the tool include automatic scoring and a customized list of resource links based on user responses, making TechCheck a natural step for employers seeking to build or fine-tune an accessible workplace technology initiative.

ODEP Highlights Apprenticeship with #ApprenticeshipWorks Video Series
Apprenticeship is an important strategy for job seekers looking to punch their ticket to the middle class and for businesses seeking skilled workers who can flourish in the global economy. Today, apprenticeship programs also extend beyond traditional trades, thriving in high-growth industries like information technology and healthcare. ODEP’s #ApprenticeshipWorks Video Series features apprentices with and without disabilities (Recruits) and their apprenticeship sponsors (Sponsors) talking about how apprenticeship works for them and how it can work for other job seekers and businesses across the country. Videos are available in English and Spanish with captioning and audio introduced versions.

New EFSLMP Resource: Pilot Provider Transformation Manual
The Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP) has released its Pilot Provider Transformation Manual. The new manual is intended to help guide and support provider organizations interested in transforming their service delivery models to have an Employment First emphasis on competitive integrated employment. The new manual features eight modules covering several key components of successful systems change, based on ODEP’s Criteria for Performance Excellence in E1st Provider Transformation. This Pilot version is ready for use, so please download the manual and share it broadly with your networks and colleagues who are working on Employment First systems change.

EARN Promotes Disability Employment Strategies for Small Businesses
“Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success” is a toolkit created by the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN). This resource provides practical guidance for small businesses on how to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities. It also describes approaches business associations — including but not limited to local chambers of commerce and business leadership networks — can use to educate their members on the issue and raise awareness in their communities. Highlighting innovative and sustainable strategies, the “Steps to Success” provides a platform for the exploration of best practices for increasing the capacity of small businesses to employ people with disabilities.

JAN Study Shows that Workplace Accommodations Remain “Low Cost, High Impact”
The most recent annual “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact” study conducted by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) indicated that the majority (59 percent) of workplace accommodations cost nothing, while for those that do, the typical small expenditure pays for itself in the form of reduced workers’ compensation and training costs and increased productivity and morale. Employers in the JAN study, which has been conducted since 2004, represented a range of industry sectors and sizes and contacted JAN for information about workplace accommodations, the ADA, or both.

Fair Housing News: HUD Charges New Hampshire Landlords with Discrimination Against Families with Children (May 2017)

Friday, May 19th, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging a group of New Hampshire landlords with housing discrimination for denying families with children the opportunity to rent certain apartments. HUD alleges that MSM Brothers, Inc., the owner of a 192-unit apartment complex in Dover, New Hampshire, and its on-site manager engaged in housing discrimination by limiting rental options for applicants with young children. Read the charge.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to families with children under age 18.

“Families shouldn’t be restricted to particular units of a housing development or subjected to different rental terms just because they have children,” said Bryan Greene, HUD’s General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to protecting the housing rights of families with children and will continue to take appropriate enforcement action whenever those rights are violated.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when a mother filed a complaint alleging that she had been denied the opportunity to rent a two-bedroom unit at White Cliffs at Dover. After an investigation, HUD filed a charge on behalf of the woman, alleging that after White Cliffs’ manager learned that she had an infant son, he told her that she could only rent one of the first-floor units, none of which was available. The charge further asserts that New Hampshire Legal Assistance Fair Housing Project conducted testing which revealed similar treatment of testers posing as prospective renters with children.

Each year, approximately 12 percent of the complaints that are filed with HUD allege familial status discrimination.

HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless either party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the complainant for her loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties to vindicate the public interest.

People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (May 19, 2017)

Friday, May 19th, 2017

LEAD Center Releases Brief on the ABLE Act and Employment
The LEAD Center has released a brief titled, “The ABLE Act and Employment: Strategies for Maximizing the Effectiveness of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act as a Tool for Financial Stability and Employment Outcomes of People with Disabilities.” This brief demonstrates how provisions in the ABLE Act can be combined with federal benefit services and other federal programs and initiatives to further competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities. The brief contains a list of the provisions of the ABLE Act, their impact on the financial self-sufficiency and employment opportunities of persons with disabilities, and recommendations on how to best utilize the ABLE Act to maximize these outcomes.

American Job Centers and Digital Access: A Guide to Accessible Information and Communication Technology
Within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a provision stating that all comprehensive American Job Centers (AJCs) and affiliated sites must be physically and programmatically accessible to individuals with disabilities, including information and communication technology (ICT) designed, procured, maintained, and used by AJCs, as outlined in WIOA’s Section 188. For many AJCs, addressing accessible technology issues may be new territory. With that in mind, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) and the LEAD Center worked together to create “American Job Centers and Digital Access: A Guide to Accessible Information and Communication Technology.” This guide is designed to promote the importance of ICT accessibility issues and point out helpful “how to” resources to help AJCs ensure that their ICT is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. It also includes an Appendix featuring a glossary of commonly used definitions and acronyms.

Mental Health at Work — Mental Health Month Blog
In observance of Mental Health Month in May, Betsy Kravitz, Business Development Specialist in the Office of Disability Employment Policy, posted “Mental Health at Work” on the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog site. Reflecting on her experiences in the workplace as a person with bipolar disorder, Kravitz discussed the importance of accommodations and employer support to the mental wellness of all employees.

PEAT Blog Celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness Day
In celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), the ODEP-funded Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) compiled a list highlighting some of their favorite actionable quotes from PEAT contributors, including accessibility experts, employers, government entities, disability advocates and others. Pulled from a variety of PEAT resources, the quotes explore the challenges of implementing accessible technology, as well as the great promise it holds for removing workplace barriers for employees and job seekers with disabilities.

NCWD/Youth Offers Publications on Mental Health Needs of Youth
Youth with mental health needs often face unemployment, underemployment, and discrimination when they enter the workforce. Employment data show that individuals with serious mental illness have the lowest level of employment of any group of people with disabilities. The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) offers several publications that outline practical information and resources for youth service practitioners. In addition, they provide policymakers, from the program to the state level, with information to help them address system and policy obstacles in order to improve service delivery systems for youth with mental health needs.

New from the Ask JAN Blog
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has posted two new entries on the Ask JAN blog. In “Reading Made Easier,” Sarah Small, JAN Consultant on the Cognitive/Neurological Team, described some new technology that she had the opportunity to test at the annual California State University Northridge (CSUN) Assistive Technology Conference. Melanie Whetzel, JAN Lead Consultant on the Cognitive/Neurological Team, wrote “May is Mental Health Awareness Month,” in which she presented information on mental health disabilities, including examples of effective accommodations in the workplace.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) has issued its May 17 newsletter, highlighting information on DiversityInc’s 2017 list of “Top 50 Companies for Diversity,” the “Right Direction” mental health employer resource, upcoming web events, and more.

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

EEOC Training Alert: “Disability Program Manager – Basics” Course, May 17-18, 2017

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

WASHINGTON – In March 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office of Federal Operations (OFO), announced the issuance of the 2017 Federal Training Course Calendar, which is available online along with registration information.

Register now for the following 2-day federal sector training course next week on Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30-5:00 each day:

May 17-18: Disability Program Manager – Basics course in Washington, DC.

The main objective of a Disability Program Manager is to help agency management meet its affirmative employment responsibilities to ensure employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. This course outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Disability Program Manager and identifies some of the challenges faced.

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

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (May 12, 2017)

Friday, May 12th, 2017

CDE and AUCD to Host May 11 Twitter Chat on Creating Inclusive Work Environments for People with Mental Health Disabilities
In recognition of Mental Health Month, ODEP’s Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) are hosting a Twitter chat on Thursday, May 11, from 1:00-2:00 PM ET. Titled “#CDEMentalHealth: Creating Inclusive Work Environments for People with Mental Health Disabilities,” the chat will feature special guest Andy Imparato, Executive Director of AUCD. Don’t miss this chance to engage with Andy and others in an online discussion about the importance of helping people with mental health disabilities thrive in the workplace, along with strategies for doing so effectively. To participate in the conversation, please use the hashtag #CDEMentalHealth.

PEAT Talks: W4A and the Future of Accessible Work — May 18, 4:00-5:00 PM ET
In celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) will present its May PEAT Talk, “W4A and the Future of Accessible Work.” Join W4A Conference Chair Vivienne Conway to hear the highlights and top trends emerging from the global conference Web For All 2017: The Future of Accessible Work. The PEAT Talk will be held May 18, 4:00-5:00 PM ET.

Job Accommodation Network Releases Quarterly E-News
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) E-News shares information about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches; the latest trends in assistive technologies; announcements of upcoming JAN presentations, media events, trainings, and webcasts; and legislative and policy updates promoting the employment success of people with disabilities. The current newsletter features articles on taking a service animal to a job interview, returning to work after hospitalization for mental health treatment, overtime restrictions and the ADA, and more.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) has issued its May 3 newsletter, highlighting information neurodiversity in the workplace, Mental Health Month, the Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability, upcoming web events, and more.

The Playlists: Disability Resources for WIOA Practitioners
A suite of new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) resources called “The Playlists: Disability Resources for WIOA Practitioners” has been posted on the Disability and Employment Community of Practice on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce GPS technical assistance site. Each playlist is a set of links to resources such as toolkits, reports, online courses, and videos on a specific topic related to improving service to individuals with disabilities. The resources are intended for use by workforce development professionals, employers, rehabilitation services providers, adult educators, and other practitioners.

U.S. Department of Transportation to Host Civil Rights Virtual Symposium — May 17-18
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2017 Civil Rights Virtual Symposium, “Speaking with One Voice: Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future,” will be held May 17-18. The symposium is a two-day virtual event that will connect stakeholders, themes, and perspectives across the civil rights and transportation communities. It will focus on principles of civil rights, diversity, and inclusion while acknowledging the achievements of past work to advance the cause of equity and opportunity. The sessions will explore emerging issues that will assist in the innovative development of new policies to help transform the future of transportation.

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

HUD Approves Agreement Between African-American Couple and Farmers Insurance Resolving Discrimination Claims (May 2017)

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today it is approving an agreement between an African-American couple in Los Angeles and three home insurance companies in California. The Conciliation Agreement resolves allegations the insurers discriminated against the family based on their race and where they lived. Read the agreement.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental, sales or home insurance transactions based on a person’s race or national origin.

“No homeowner should be made to feel like they won’t be able to protect the biggest investment of their lives because of their race or that of their neighbors,” said Bryan Greene, HUD’s General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take steps to ensure that companies that provide products and services for homeowners are aware of and adhere to their obligations under the Fair Housing Act.”

The case began when the married couple filed a complaint with HUD alleging that Fire Insurance Exchange of Woodland Hills, Farmers Insurance Exchange of Westlake Village, and Farmers Group, Inc., of Woodland Hills were unresponsive to their insurance claim after heavy rain caused their roof to collapse. The couple alleged the insurance companies initially delayed responding to their claim, then failed to notify the couple of the disposition of their claim, and ultimately refused to pay their claim because they are African American and live in a Hispanic neighborhood.

Under the Conciliation Agreement, Farmers Insurance Exchange agreed to pay the couple $15,000 in monetary relief.

People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.

Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Business $ense (May 10, 2017)

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

The Building Blocks of Inclusion—Ready for Your Desktop

Today’s employers are in a battle for great talent. They’re seeking competent, flexible, loyal and creative employees who bring diverse perspectives and solid results to their organization. Perhaps more than any other group, people with disabilities possess precisely these attributes, but not all employers know how to effectively recruit, retain and advance such individuals.

That’s where Building an Inclusive Workforce comes in. Newly updated for 2017, this step-by-step reference guide offers strategies and tactics for effectively including people with disabilities in your workforce. It’s a perfect addition to your desktop, featuring easy-reference inclusion techniques in a compact, flip-guide format.

Available via mail order free of charge—and online for download—the guide covers information and resources in the following categories:

• Business Strategies that Work
• Creating an Inclusive Culture
• Recruiting and Hiring
• Retaining and Advancing Employees
• Resources and Links for Federal Agencies

Building an Inclusive Workforce was developed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). To order copies, visit ODEP’s publications order webpage. To learn more about ODEP’s efforts to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities, visit the ODEP website.

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

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

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Includes Key Federal Sector Decisions, Special Article on Age Bias

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 on the EEOC’s website.

This edition (Fiscal Year 2017, Volume 2) features a special article entitled, “Age Discrimination: An Overview of the Law and Recent Commission Decisions.” This comprehensive article discusses the analysis of age discrimination claims and recent case law – including U.S. Supreme Court decisions and Commission decisions.

“Unlawful age discrimination has no place in the federal sector workplace,” said Carlton M. Hadden, director of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO).

“It is anathema to the federal government’s goal of being a model employer,” OFO Director Hadden added. Age-related employment decisions are often based on myths, fears and stereotypes about the talent and ability of older workers. This article is an excellent resource to help eliminate those false notions.”

The article points out, “The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The law forbids discrimination with regard to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, train­ing, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. It is also unlawful to harass a person be­cause of his or her age or retaliate against a person for raising a claim of age discrimination.”

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