When new and experienced business owners are crafting employee policies, there are many federal laws to keep in mind, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of religion. Employers are required under federal law to provide reasonable accommodations for their employees' religious beliefs if they are sincerely held.
Employers need to make sure they are properly incorporating the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among other federal employment laws, into their employees' contracts and employee handbooks as well as in hiring policies. A federal judge recently decided in favor of a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused the retail chain of discriminating against a job applicant through their corporate "look policy."
Attorneys who represent businesses have been watching to see how the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the giant Wal-Mart sex discrimination case might affect pending class-action employment litigation. In the weeks following the case, the class-action status of several plaintiff groups who have filed lawsuits against their employers has been upheld. These decisions have prompted some businesses to complain that judges have been interpreting the Supreme Court's recent ruling too narrowly.
The giant telecommunications company, Verizon Communications, has agreed to settle a lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission that claimed the company discriminated against employees with disabilities. The EEOC said that Verizon's attendance policy did not reasonably accommodate workers with disabilities.
A transgender New Jersey man has filed a lawsuit against his former employer for wrongful termination. According to a piece in Forbes, the case may be the first in the U.S. where a transgender person is claiming employment discrimination based on birth gender. The case no doubt will spark complicated employment issues for employers to consider.
A final version was released recently of amendments added to the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2008. The ADA was expanded in response to U.S. Supreme Court decisions that narrowly interpreted the law that is meant to protect people from discrimination in employment based on a disability. The new amendments were put in place to overturn those decisions.