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Archive for March, 2018

Labor Department’s OFCCP Announces Annual VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark is 6.4 Percent (Mar. 2018)

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

oday the 2018 Annual Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) hiring benchmark was updated on the VEVRAA Benchmark Database. Effective on March 31, 2018, the new benchmark is 6.4%.

Looking for prior national percentages? View a chart of the annual national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force from prior years on the Annual VEVRAA Benchmark Effective Dates page.

National and state information has also been updated in the VEVRAA Benchmark Database for federal contractors and subcontractors who calculate an individualized hiring benchmark using the five-factor method.

Need more information on VEVRAA requirements? Visit our VEVRAA information page, or contact the OFCCP Help Desk at 1-800-397-6251 (TTY: 1-877-889-5627) or online.

U.S. Department of Justice: Information on EADs for DED Liberia (Mar. 2018)

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

USCIS has automatically extended the validity of employment authorization cards for individuals with Deferred Enforced Departure from Liberia.

If your employee has an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766, often referred to as an “EAD”) with an original expiration date of March 31, 2018 and containing the category code “A-11,” this EAD is automatically extended and the employee may continue to work without a new one (and without a receipt notice) through the end of the automatic extension period, September 30, 2018.

Federal Register notice announcing the extension: https://go.usa.gov/xQYcr.

OFCCP Compliance Evaluation Experience Survey (Mar. 2018)

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

In a continued effort to provide compliance assistance, OFCCP will be sending out a survey to gather more information about how we can continue improving communication, transparency, and timeliness during our compliance evaluations.

If you’re a contractor that completed a compliance evaluation between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2017, watch your inbox over the next two weeks for a survey from OFCCP.

The survey, deployed electronically via SurveyMonkey, will collect information on contractors’ experiences during compliance evaluations to identify areas where OFCCP can strengthen its outreach, education, training, and processes. On the survey form, you will have the opportunity to provide concrete suggestions for improving your interaction with OFCCP. Your input on this survey helps OFCCP make the process more effective and identify possible areas of compliance assistance that might be strengthened during future compliance evaluations.

We know that some of you may have concerns about anonymity. To address these concerns, OFCCP selected the option in SurveyMonkey that makes survey responses anonymous. Moreover, SurveyMonkey is not collecting or sharing data with OFCCP that would personally identify survey respondents, including their IP address. We will never schedule a contractor for a compliance evaluation based on participation in this survey. Additionally, because the survey is anonymous, your participation will have no impact on any compliance evaluation that is already underway. You will remain anonymous to us, and we will only use the information you submit to determine what we are doing well and where we may need to improve.

Have questions about the survey? Please email us at OFCCP-Customer-Exp-Survey@dol.gov.

Migration Policy Institute (Mar. 2018)

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Amid Federal Pullback from Labor Standards Enforcement, States Are Using Innovative Strategies to Identify Violators in Immigrant-Dense Industries

WASHINGTON – Systemic wage underpayment, payroll fraud and misclassification of employees as independent contractors to avoid paying workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and payroll taxes are among the labor standard violations more likely to be found in low-wage industries that employ significant numbers of immigrants.

Immigrants, who represent 17 percent of the U.S. labor force, are twice as likely as native-born workers to be employed in industries where violations of core labor standards are widespread—construction, transportation, cleaning and food preparation among them. Underpayment, informal work and unsafe working conditions hurt U.S.-born and immigrant workers alike, deprive states of tax revenue and disadvantage law-abiding employers.

Against a backdrop of deep cuts in resources for labor standards enforcement and a federal deregulatory agenda that favors employer self-regulation, the issue of how to regulate low-wage, immigrant-dense workplaces is receiving greater attention.

A new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report, Strategic Leverage: Use of State and Local Laws to Enforce Labor Standards in Immigrant-Dense Occupations, examines a range of innovative strategies that states, both liberal and conservative, are deploying to strategically use limited resources on higher-yielding, targeted enforcement approaches.

States with a long history of labor-protection regimes—such as California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Washington—are increasingly being joined in the development of creative strategies by states with less history in this area, including Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee, the report finds.

“State and local governments are a natural fit to step into this regulatory vacuum,” said report co-author Muzaffar Chishti, who directs MPI’s office in New York, based at NYU School of Law. “They have a large, direct financial stake in deterring underpayments to workers and payroll fraud. Moreover, states have unique enforcement powers and often surpass federal agencies in their ability to access data to target and impose civil orders, and criminally prosecute companies that egregiously violate workplace laws.”

Beyond civil investigations, litigation and criminal prosecutions, some states are using data to drive decisions on which employers to prioritize for investigation and prosecution. Others are partnering with private organizations, such as worker advocacy groups, and government agencies at different levels to enhance their enforcement.

“State and local governments that purely react to complaints on a first-come, first-served basis should consider measures to build a directed-enforcement strategy for high-impact enforcement in low-compliance sectors of the economy,” Chishti and co-author Andrew Elmore conclude.

Read the report here: www.migrationpolicy.org/research/strategic-leverage-use-state-and-local-laws-enforce-labor-standards-immigrant.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Weekly Bulletin (Mar. 2018)

Monday, March 19th, 2018

PROFESSIONAL ENDODONTICS TO PAY $47,000 TO SETTLE EEOC AGE DISCRIMINATION SUIT

Medical Practice Discharged Employee Because She Turned 65, Federal Agency Charged

DETROIT – A Southfield, Mich.-based oral surgery practice will pay $47,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Professional Endodontics, P.C. violated federal law by firing Karen Ruerat four days after her 65th birthday. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Ruerat, who had worked for the company for 37 years, was terminated in January 2016 pursuant to a company policy which required employees to retire at age 65.

This alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Professional Endodontics, P.C., Case No. 4:17-cv-13466) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to providing for the award of monetary relief to Ruerat, prohibits any similar discrimination in the future and requires Professional Endodontics to provide anti-discrimination training to its employees. The training will include instruction on the practices made unlawful under the ADEA.

“December 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the ADEA,” said Kenneth Bird, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office. “Five decades later, the EEOC remains committed to vigorously enforcing that all-important law. Private employers need to understand that mandatory retirement policies run afoul of the ADEA and will be met with challenge.”

The Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.

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

U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Employee Rights Division Extends Employment Authorization Cards–Syria (Mar. 2018)

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Information on EADs for TPS Syria

USCIS has automatically extended the validity of employment authorization cards for individuals with Temporary Protected Status from Syria.

If your employee has an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766, often referred to as an “EAD”) with an original expiration date of March 31, 2018 and containing the category code “A-12” or “C-19,” this EAD is automatically extended and the employee may continue to work without a new one (and without a receipt notice) through the end of the automatic extension period, September 27, 2018.

Federal Register notice announcing the extension: https://go.usa.gov/xnub2.

U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Employee Rights Webinars March and April, 2018

Friday, March 16th, 2018

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is offering a number of free, informative webinars for the public in March and April. These include webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. Please review IER’s 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 www.justice.gov/ier.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 10:30 am ET
IER Training for Employers and HR Professionals

Register Here

Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm ET
IER Training for Worker Advocates

Register Here

Martes, 10 de abril del 2018 a las 11:00 am ET
Seminario de la IER para defensores del trabajador

Regístrese

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm ET
IER Training for Employers and HR Professionals

Register Here

Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 1:30 pm ET
IER Training for Worker Advocates

Register Here

OFCCP Provides More Transparency to Federal Contractors (Mar. 16, 2018)

Friday, March 16th, 2018

As part of ongoing efforts to increase transparency of preliminary findings with federal contractors, and to achieve consistency across regional and district offices, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is standardizing the use of Predetermination Notices (PDN).

With Directive 2018-01, OFCCP provides a uniform protocol for OFCCP staff to follow across all of its regions for using PDNs in both individual and systemic discrimination cases.

A PDN is a letter OFCCP uses to inform federal contractors of the agency’s preliminary findings of employment discrimination. Prior to Directive 2018-01, OFCCP reserved use of the PDN for systemic discrimination cases and permitted regional and district offices discretion in whether to issue the PDN prior to issuing a Notice of Violation.

View Directive 2018-01 here.

Have questions? Contact the OFCCP Help Desk at 1-800-397-6251 (TTY: 1-877-889-5627) or online.

U.S. Department of Justice Weekly Digest Bulletin: Immigration-Related Discrimination (Mar. 2018)

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Justice Department Resolves Discrimination Claim Against Bolingbrook, Illinois, Meat Processing Plant

The Justice Department today announced it has signed a settlement agreement with West Liberty Foods L.L.C., an Iowa-based meat processing business that operates a plant in Bolingbrook, Illinois, to resolve the Department’s investigation into whether the company discriminated against work-authorized immigrants when verifying their employment authorization, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The Department’s investigation revealed that West Liberty Foods routinely asked non-U.S. citizens hired at its Bolingbrook location to present specific documents, such as permanent resident cards or Employment Authorization Documents, to establish their work authority but did not make similar requests of U.S. citizens. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to more or different documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.

Under the settlement, West Liberty Foods will pay a civil penalty of $52,100 to the United States, ensure that its human resources staff participate in department-provided training, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, and be subject to departmental monitoring for two years.

“When verifying an employee’s work authorization, employers must ensure that they do not impose unlawful barriers based on citizenship status,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend West Liberty Foods for its cooperation with the Department’s investigation, and look forward to working with the company to implement this agreement.”

The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and 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.gov; 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 for a fee, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Weekly Digest Bulletin: Featuring Disability, Pregnancy, and Age (Mar. 11, 2018)

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

ABM AVIATION SUED BY EEOC FOR DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION
Employee Denied Reasonable Accommodation and Discharged Due to Medical Restrictions, Federal Agency Charged

ATLANTA – ABM Aviation, Inc., formerly Air Serv Corporation, an aviation industry cleaning and services provider at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Ga., violated federal law when it denied an employee a reasonable accommodation and terminated her employment due to her disabilities, cardiomyopathy and acute myeloid leukemia, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. The EEOC further alleged that ABM discriminated against the employee when it suspended her for absences related to her disabilities.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. ABM Aviation, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-CV-957-SCJ JSA) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The federal agency seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.

“ABM recklessly disregarded the federally protected rights of this employee to earn a living and provide for her family given a reasonable accommodation,” said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “The EEOC will continue to hold employers accountable for failing to honor anti-discrimination laws if we are to see significant, long-term change in the way society views individuals with disabilities and the value they add to the workforce.”

Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director for EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, added, “Supporting the medical needs of their employees to allow reasonable accommodations of disabilities should be a top priority for all employers not just because it is the law, but because it is the right thing to do.”

SCOTTISH PINES REHABILITATION & NURSING CENTER SUED BY EEOC FOR PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION
Laurinburg Nursing Home Refused to Accommodate and Fired Pregnant Nursing Assistants, Federal Agency Charges

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Century Care of Laurinburg, Inc., doing business as Scottish Pines Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, a North Carolina corporation, violated federal law when it refused to accommodate the pregnancy-related work restrictions of two employees, resulting in the employees’ termination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Scottish Pines offered light duty or job modifications to accommodate the temporary restrictions of certified nursing assistants (CNA) who were injured at work. However, the company refused to grant similar accommodations or modifications to CNAs who experienced pregnancy-related work restrictions. The EEOC says that in November 2014, the company refused to accommodate the pregnancy-related lifting restriction of CNA Mary Jacobs and instead placed her on unpaid leave. The company terminated Jacobs in February 2015 when her leave expired and she was unable to return to work without the pregnancy-related restriction.

Further, the EEOC says, in December 2015, CNA Laketa Watts notified Scottish Pines of her pregnancy-related work restrictions, including a 20-pound lifting restriction. According to the EEOC’s suit, the company refused to accommodate Watts’ work restrictions. At all times relevant, the company had mechanical lifting devices to lift patients and did not prohibit CNAs from seeking assistance from co-workers to manually lift patients. Accordingly, the EEOC contends that Jacobs’ and Watts’ pregnancy-related work restrictions could have been accommodated

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees due to pregnancy, including pregnancy-related conditions. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Century Care of Laurinburg, Inc. d/b/a Scottish Pines Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, Civil Action No 1:18-cv-00170) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief including policy changes at the company, as well as back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Jacobs and Watts.

“Employers must generally treat the work restrictions of pregnant employees just like those of non-pregnant employees,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Companies must be careful not to violate federal anti-discrimination law when they pick and choose which employees to accommodate.”

IT STAFFING COMPANY PAYS $50,000 TO SETTLE EEOC AGE DISCRIMINATION SUIT
Company Told Applicant “Age Will Matter,” Federal Agency Says

NEWARK, N.J. — Diverse Lynx, LLC, a Princeton, New Jersey-based IT staffing firm with offices in Princeton and Noida, India, will pay $50,000 and will undertake significant remedial measures to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC alleged that Diverse Lynx violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) when, after learning an applicant’s date of birth, the company sent the applicant an email stating that he would no longer be considered for the position because he was “born in 1945” and “age will matter.” The ADEA prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of age, including discrimination in referrals by employment agencies.

Under the consent decree entered by the Court, Diverse Lynx is prohibited from considering an applicant’s age when deciding whether to refer them to a job opening. In addition, Diverse Lynx may not request or solicit an applicant’s year of birth before referring the applicant to a prospective employer. Diverse Lynx has agreed that it will provide its employees, including its managers and supervisors, with live training that addresses federal anti-discrimination laws, and complaint and reporting procedures. Diverse Lynx also agrees that it will not retaliate against persons who complain of discriminatory conduct or practices.

“A basic principle of anti-discrimination law requires that job applicants be judged on their individual qualifications. Employers and employment agencies that consider an applicant’s protected trait, such as age, violate federal law and will be prosecuted,” said EEOC senior trial attorney Rosemary DiSavino.

Kevin Berry, district director of the EEOC’s New York District Office, added, “This case should send a clear message that federal anti-discrimination laws apply to employment agencies as well as employers. An employment agency’s refusal to refer a qualified applicant because of the applicant’s age is a plain violation of the ADEA.”

The New York District Office oversees New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and most of New Jersey.