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Archive for October, 2017


Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Nashville Manufacturing Plant Allowed Sexually Hostile Work Environment for Male Employees, Federal Agency Charged

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Centurion Products, LLC, a leading manufacturer of stone veneer building materials, will pay $125,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Centurion violated federal law by maintaining a sexually hostile work environment at its Nashville plant. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Centurion’s floor supervisor and other male employees routinely used explicit sexual innuendos and insults and engaged in unwelcome sexual touching of male employees.

The EEOC further charged that despite receiving multiple complaints from employees, Centurion failed to respond to those complaints in a prompt or appropriate manner. Further, the federal agency alleged that Centurion terminated an employee in retaliation for lodging a complaint about the harassment.

Although Centurion denied the allegations in the complaint, Centurion admitted it did not maintain any written policy or procedure to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace. Centurion also admitted it failed to file annual EEO-1 reports as required by federal regulations.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII’s prohibition against sexual harassment applies to all employees, including employees of the same sex as the harasser. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Centurion Products, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:16-cv-02616) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit includes:

• mandatory implementation of a written policy prohibiting sex discrimination, including same-sex harassment, and retaliation;
• mandatory anti-harassment training for employees and supervisors;
• provision of a bilingual hotline telephone number for employees to report complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation;
• monitoring by the EEOC of any future complaints of sexual harassment for three years;
• future compliance with EEO-1 reporting regulations; and
• notice of the settlement to Centurion’s employees.

“Employees everywhere in America and in all kinds of workplaces are entitled to a safe work environment. said Regional Attorney Faye Williams of EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which serves Tennessee, Arkansas and seventeen counties in Northern Mississippi. “We trust that the measures contained in the decree will ensure a safe work environment and prevent recurrence of future misconduct of this sort.”

Centurion Stone, founded in Nashville in 1969, employs approximately 160 people at its Nashville manufacturing plant.

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (Oct. 20, 2017)

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

For more information on these articles, click here.

Deadline Approaching to Submit Comments on Proposed Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work State Demonstration
The President’s FY 2018 budget included a proposal for demonstrations to test key elements of several promising programs operated by Washington State’s workers’ compensation system, with an increased emphasis on access to employment-related supports. Through a request for information, ODEP and its partner, the Social Security Administration, are seeking public input on how this future demonstration project could best be designed to promote labor force attachment, coordinate employment and health services, and support injured and ill workers in returning to and remaining at work. Please share this RFI with your networks and encourage your members and stakeholders to provide recommendations as we shape this future project. The deadline to submit comments is Monday, October 30.

Most Integrated Employment Settings: Tools to Advance System Outcomes in Your State — October 24, 3:00-4:30 PM ET
ODEP developed the Most Integrated Employment Settings State Self-Assessment to promote cross-system coordination and to track progress within and between systems. This user-friendly tool helps states pinpoint where they may need to focus more energy to ensure that employment programs are supporting people to be truly integrated. The LEAD Center will be presenting a webinar, to be held October 24, 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET, to introduce the tool, its format and its ease of use. A team of state leaders from Utah will describe their experiences using the MIES tool, and explain how the tool helps determine next steps to advance competitive integrated employment for the people with disabilities they serve. Please join if you are involved with your state’s Olmstead Plan, Medicaid State Plan and HCBS Waivers, Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration, Vocational Rehabilitation, State Workforce Programs, State Education/Special Education Programs, State Use Programs, State Tax Credits and Related Employer Incentives, and/or otherwise promote employment of people with disabilities in the most integrated setting.

NCWD/Youth to Host #NDEAMyouth Twitter Chat — October 26, 7:00 PM ET
In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the National Collaborative for Workforce and Disability for Youth will host a #NDEAMyouth Twitter chat with youth and adults, including educators, youth service professionals, and families, about ways to support career development among youth with disabilities to increase their career awareness and success in employment. On October 26 at 7:00 p.m. ET, we’ll talk about identifying career interests and strengths, exploring career options, building career readiness skills, navigating decisions about disability disclosure and requesting accommodations, and obtaining work experience. We also want to hear what you’re doing to celebrate NDEAM in your community or organization. Use hashtag #NDEAMyouth to share your perspective, strategies, and resources.

Inclusion@Work: A Framework for Building a Disability-Inclusive Organization
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion is pleased to unveil a new website feature, “Inclusion@Work: A Framework for Building a Disability-Inclusive Organization.” Developed in collaboration with ODEP, this resource outlines seven core components of a disability-inclusive workplace, along with a menu of strategies for achieving them. To further illustrate the framework, EARN is also producing a series of seven podcast interviews with employers with exemplary track records in disability employment; the first will be available soon.

ePolicyWorks Launches New Blog, Inaugural Feature on Autonomous Vehicles and People with Disabilities
ePolicyWorks has launched its official blog “Conversations on Policy,” a platform for federal agencies, policymakers, public and private entities, and citizens to share strategies to engage citizens and stakeholders in the policy development process. The blog will also support ePolicyWorks’ continued efforts to be a valuable resource for effective practices that impact the employment of people with disabilities. In addition to regular posts by ePolicyWorks’ online dialogue partners, blog posts will also feature innovative citizen engagement efforts on policymaking from across the federal government. Special attention will be paid to efforts that support policies that promote the employment of people with disabilities. The inaugural post, by ODEP staffers Nadia Ibrahim and Lindsey Teel, explores the potential of autonomous vehicles to allow people with disabilities to pursue employment opportunities through two personal stories.

A Look Inside National Disability Employment Awareness Month
The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology was recently featured in a blog written by Laura Goslin of Deque Systems. The blog was an interview with Corinne Weible, Deputy Project Director for PEAT, and focused on National Disability Employment Awareness Month and PEAT resources. Weible highlighted PEAT’s new “Buy IT Guide for Purchasing Accessible Technology,” an online resource to help employers build accessibility and usability into their IT procurement processes. “Buy IT” was launched in October as part of PEAT’s observance of NDEAM.

October is ADHD Awareness Month
The newest posting to the Job Accommodation Network’s blog focuses on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Month. Melanie Whetzel, JAN Lead Consultant on the Cognitive/Neurological Team, discusses the implications of the 2017 theme, “Knowing Better: ADHD Across the Life Span.” Whetzel notes that awareness of ADHD at all times of life is important so that people can better understand how to accommodate themselves at home, in school, and in the workplace. Samples of situations and solutions involving employees with ADHD are highlighted.

U.S. Department of Justice Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (Oct. 18, 2017)

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Upcoming Webinar Schedule

IER Webinars

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is offering a number of free, informative webinars for the public in October and November. These include webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. Please review the webinar schedule to choose the right presentation for you.

IER enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This law prohibits 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 visit

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 11:00 am ET
IER Worker Advocate “en Español” webinar

Register Here

Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 3:30 pm ET
IER Employer/HR Representative webinar

Register Here

Thursday, November 23, 2017 at 11:30 am ET
IER Worker Advocate webinar

Register Here


Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Minority Employees Were Subjected to Degrading Slurs and Innuendos

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Reliable Inc., doing business as Reliable Nissan, along with other entities involved in operating the Albuquerque car dealership, has agreed to settle charges of discrimination based on race, national origin, and religion, along with retaliation, that were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The agreement follows conciliation between the EEOC and Reliable Nissan over claims that two Reliable Nissan Managers repeatedly used the “N-word” during a sales meeting, and referred to African, African-American, Native American, Muslim and Hispanic employees in a derogatory manner. Employees alleged that managers made offensive jokes about Muslim and Native American employees’ religious practices and traditions, and used racial epithets like “n—-r,” “drunken Indians,” “red.” and “redskins.” Racially offensive pictures targeted against minority employees were also posted in the workplace.

The EEOC investigated the charges and found that the racial slurs and innuendos created a hostile work environment for minority employees, and that Reliable Nissan failed to take prompt and remedial action to stop the harassment. The EEOC’s investigation further revealed that employees who complained were retaliated against.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees because of their race, national origin or religion. Title VII also protects employees who complain about discrimination from retaliation.

As part of the conciliation agreement, Reliable Nissan agreed to pay a total of $205,000 to three emp-loyees who filed discrimination charges with the EEOC and 11 other minority employees who were subjected to the hostile work environment. The company also agreed to provide annual training for two years for its emp-loyees, including managers and human resources employees. Additionally, Reliable Nissan agreed to re¬view its policies and procedures to ensure that employees have a mechanism for reporting discrimination and to make certain that each complaint will be appropriately investigated.

“It is important for all employees to feel safe and free to come forward with reports of harassment,” said EEOC Albuquerque Area Director Derick Newton. “As soon as an employer becomes aware of any kind of harassment because of race, national origin, or religion, the employer must act promptly and appropriately.”

EEOC Phoenix Office District Director Elizabeth Cadle added, “It is illegal for employees to be subjected to such degrading comments and innuendos based on their race, national origin and religion. The EEOC will continue to hold employers accountable for such offensive and discriminatory conduct.”

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


Friday, October 13th, 2017

Dear Colleague,

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging the owners and operators of two apartment buildings in Altoona, Pennsylvania with violating the Fair Housing Act by posting online classified ads that discriminate against families with children. Read HUD’s charge.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against families with children and pregnant women, including unlawfully denying or limiting housing, making discriminatory statements, or imposing discriminatory rules or policies.

“No family should be denied the opportunity to rent a home simply because they have children,” said Anna Maria Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s enforcement action reaffirms HUD’s commitment to make sure housing providers meet their obligations to treat all applicants fairly, regardless of whether they have kids or not.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when the Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh, a local HUD-assisted fair housing organization, filed a complaint alleging that the owners and managers of the Altoona properties repeatedly violated the Fair Housing Act by running ads on Craigslist that discriminate against families with children. One ad for a two-bedroom unit read: “Not suitable for children/pets.”

After the online ad was posted, the Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh conducted fair housing tests to determine if the landlords intended to reserve apartments at the property exclusively to people without children, as advertised. One tester, posing as a married man with a pregnant wife and a three-year-old son, was told by the owner that he would not show him the unit because it “wouldn’t work out for either of us.” A second tester, posing as a man with no children, was told by the owner that the unit would be available in a week. A third tester, posing as a married woman with a child, was told that having children was a problem because the unit is located above the leasing office and children would make noise and because there is no yard. Three additional tests also revealed the owner demonstrated a preference for renting to applicants who did not have children.

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

Any person who believes she or he has 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 online 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 (Oct. 2017)

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Employment for People with Disabilities — October 20, 12:00-1:00 PM ET
ePolicyWorks invites you to participate in our Twitter chat, “#EPWChat — Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Employment for People with Disabilities,” on October 20 from 12 to 1 p.m. ET. This interactive conversation, co-hosted with Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), will feature special guests Amitai Bin-Nun, SAFE’s Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Innovation; Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, Government Affairs Specialist, National Federation of the Blind; and Kent Keyser, Policy Fellow, United Spinal Association. Through this event, ePolicyWorks is seeking to gather insights on transportation technologies such as autonomous vehicles (AV) and how they can best serve to increase workplace participation for the disability community. Participants can join this real-time Twitter conversation by following and tagging their posts with the hashtag #EPWChat. This chat is being held in tandem with the ePolicyWorks online dialogue, “Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Employment for People with Disabilities” that runs from October 10 to October 20.

Advancing Disability Employment in Your State: Resources and Information — October 18, 3:00-4:30 PM ET
Are you interested in national and state-level disability employment statistics, policy and initiatives? Join this LEAD Center webinar to review the valuable comprehensive resources on the newly branded Data and Resources to Inspire a Vision of Employment (DRIVE) web platform. This website houses over 80 disability-employment related statistics, state disability employment policies by various categories, information about WIOA implementation from a disability perspective, capacity-building information and more. Learn how to compare state statistics and policies side by side, and how to find very specific and useful information.

ODEP Releases #ApprenticeshipWorks Guides
Apprenticeship is a growing strategy for connecting more workers with the skills they need to get jobs. ODEP’s efforts in apprenticeship promote inclusive program models that fulfill employer needs by attracting a diverse array of candidates, including people with disabilities. Now ODEP has released its #ApprenticeshipWorks Guides, which introduce youth, educators, service providers, and businesses to the benefits and opportunities of inclusive apprenticeship.

Buy IT! Offers Guidance on Purchasing Accessible Technology for Your Workplace
Implementing accessible technology in your workplace means buying accessible tech in the first place. Just in time for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology has launched “Buy IT!: Your Guide for Purchasing Accessible Technology.” This free online resource helps employers and their resource purchasing staff build accessibility and usability into their information technology (IT) procurement processes. Featuring background and sample language, Buy IT! offers step-by-step guidance on researching IT vendors, specifying accessibility requirements in your RFPs, and validating the accessibility of your product choices. As such, it addresses a crucial step in reducing the technology-related barriers facing many employees, job seekers, and customers with disabilities by helping businesses buy and implement technology that works for everyone.

JAN Announces Its 2017-2018 Monthly Webcast Series
The Job Accommodation Network announced its 2017-2018 Monthly Webcast Series schedule. These hour-long, free webcasts will allow participants to learn from the experts and help refine the way to resolve accommodation situations. The series will provide more information on job accommodations for motor, sensory, psychiatric and cognitive issues. Topics will also address telework, modified schedules, parking and current events, as well as the annual update on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Certificate of participation are provided.

JAN Publishes New Blogs and Consultants’ Corner
With new blogs and a Consultants’ Corner publication, the Job Accommodation Network is keeping up to date with hot topics in the field of accommodations. Blog topics include “All Disabilities Matter in an Inclusive Workplace” and “Workplace Supports for Employees with Breast Cancer.” The Consultants’ Corner takes on the issue of “Getting to Work on Time.”

Technology Changes Everything: Innovating to Include People of All Abilities in a More Diverse Workforce — October 26-27
Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, will be a presenter at the Technology Changes Everything Forum, sponsored by the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability. Through several panels and keynote speakers, this event will highlight existing and emerging innovations promoting greater disability inclusion in the workplace. Topics to be addressed include: workforce development initiatives in technology and tech-intensive industries, training initiatives in the tech sector for people on the Autism Spectrum, inclusive design in tech products and services, entrepreneurship training and promotion for individuals with disabilities, and a discussion on how recruitment, screening, career development and job matching online tools can be designed to facilitate greater inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace.

Webinar: Impacts of Laws and Regulations on Automated and Connected Vehicle Introduction in Transit (November 16, 2017)

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Explore issues related to connected vehicle and automated vehicle use in public transportation during this webinar featuring contributors to Impacts of Laws and Regulations on CV and AV Technology Introduction in Transit Operations, a recent report by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP).

The webinar will discuss potential barriers imposed by operating policies, agency regulations, and laws related to the transit environment. Without adjustment, the combination of new technology with old rules could result in delays and restrictions to deployment, which may reduce the societal benefits of automated technologies. The report presents a road map of activities that industry groups, legislatures, the federal government and others could undertake to facilitate automated roadway transit operations.

This NCHRP webinar is offered through the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). FTA sponsors TCRP to develop innovative solutions and adapt technologies and approaches to help meet the demands placed on the nation’s public transit systems.

Webinar Presenters

Douglas Gettman, Kimley-Horn
Sam Lott, Texas Southern University
Jerome Lutin, New Jersey Transit, retired (moderator)

Justice Department Settles with Montgomery County, Maryland, After School Program to Ensure Compliance with the ADA (Oct. 2017)

Friday, October 13th, 2017

The Justice Department announced today that it reached an agreement with Bar-T Year Round Programs for Kids (Bar-T), located in Montgomery County, Maryland, to remedy alleged violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Department investigated whether Bar-T discriminated against a student with a disability, specifically Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and her parents when it expelled the student on the basis of behaviors associated with ASD, without properly considering whether Bar-T staff could implement reasonable modifications to permit the student to remain enrolled.

The Settlement Agreement requires Bar-T to adopt a nondiscrimination policy; designate staff at each operating location to address ADA issues; implement a process for parents or guardians of children with disabilities to request reasonable modifications and for Bar-T to conduct an individualized assessment of each request; provide ADA training to staff; and report on compliance with the agreement. Bar-T will also pay $13,500 in compensatory damages to the student and her parents.

To find out more about this agreement, or the ADA, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at


Monday, October 9th, 2017

Trainings Focus on Harassment Prevention and Creating Respectful Workplaces for All

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it will launch two new trainings for employers: Leading for Respect (for supervisors) and Respect in the Workplace (for all employees). Instead of traditional compliance training that solely focuses on legal definitions and standards for liability, the new program provides an exciting training alternative for harassment prevention. The trainings will be conducted by EEOC Training Institute staff.

The training program focuses on respect, acceptable workplace conduct, and the types of behaviors that contribute to a respectful and inclusive, and therefore ultimately more profitable, workplace. The program is customizable for different types of workplaces and includes a section for reviewing employers’ own harassment prevention policies and procedures.

The training program is an outgrowth of the Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.

“We always said the report was just a first step,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic, co-author of the report. “Implementation of the report’s recommendations is key. These trainings incorporate the report’s recommendations on compliance, workplace civility, and bystander intervention training. I believe the trainings can have a real impact on workplace culture, and I hope employers make use of them.”

EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, the report’s other author, said, “A strong training program is a critical piece of a holistic harassment prevention effort. We know that workplace incivility often acts as a ‘gateway drug’ to workplace harassment. These trainings, therefore, provide employees with the specific skills they need to act respectfully and to intervene when they observe disrespectful or abusive behavior. In short, the program is designed to stop improper behavior before it ever rises to the level of illegal harassment.”

For more information on the Respectful Workplaces Training Program for private employers or state or local government agencies, go to the EEOC Training Institute website, contact your nearest Outreach and Education Coordinator, or contact Program Analyst Michelle Crew at For more information on the Respectful Workplaces Training Program for federal agencies, contact

The trainings were designed by Fran Sepler, of Sepler and Associates, under a contract with the EEOC.

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

Fair Housing News (Oct. 2017)

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Dear Colleague,

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced an agreement to resolve a discrimination complaint brought by fair housing advocates against Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) challenging the fairness of the State’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program. The agreement establishes policies, incentives, and more flexible program rules that will streamline the creation of affordable housing in higher opportunity neighborhoods in the Baltimore region.

Specifically, the settlement will increase the number of affordable housing units in the region by as many as 1,500, with more than 1,000 of those units being new construction. In addition, developers of affordable housing will no longer have to satisfy previously required local scoring or approval criteria before applying for state-allocated tax credits. Read the Conciliation and Voluntary Compliance Agreement.

“Skyrocketing housing prices in the Baltimore region are making it harder than ever for hardworking families to find decent housing at prices they can afford,” said Anna Maria Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s agreement will help ensure that people of all backgrounds who call this area home have more affordable housing options in higher opportunity neighborhoods.”

The agreement announced today is the result of a complaint filed with HUD in 2011 by the Baltimore Regional Housing Campaign (BRHC), a coalition of housing and civil rights organizations. BRHC said the state maintained a policy requiring local jurisdictions to approve proposed affordable housing projects prior to the consideration or allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to fund construction. The coalition’s complaint alleged that requiring local jurisdiction pre-approval prevented the placement of LIHTC-funded properties in predominately White areas, thereby limiting housing opportunities for African American and Hispanic families in communities of opportunity.

Under the terms of the agreement, DHCD will:

Not reinstate the previously required local approvals of proposed affordable housing projects, or impose new threshold or scoring criteria that require the approval of a local governing body;
Ensure that no fewer than 1,500 units of Family Housing are developed in communities of opportunity within the Baltimore region, 1,050 of which will be newly constructed units;
Revise the state’s Qualified Allocation Plans (QAP) Transit-Oriented Development Guide to award points to any proposal to develop family housing in a community of opportunity, and adjust the incentive in QAPs for units with two or more bedrooms;
Expand its affirmative fair housing marketing plans with specific outreach to public housing authorities, voucher administrators and mobility counseling programs; and
Pay $225,000 to sustain BRHC’s mission of working to increase choice, educational opportunity and social equity for low-income families in the Baltimore region.

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 at or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.