Monday, February 27, 2017

That is SO last week

Last week, the administration rescinded Obama-era federal guidelines interpreting federal anti-discrimination laws to require schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. Some prominent employers have criticized the administration’s decision. Attorneys for Gavin Grimm, the transgender teen who sued his school board for barring him from the boys’ bathroom, said his case would continue to the Supreme Court next month, despite the administration’s decision to withdraw the federal guidelines. Although the developments last week concern anti-discrimination laws in education, the administration’s decision could signal the direction of regulation in employment and impact employer behavior on the issue of transgender employee rights. Because transgender bathroom access is a hot issue in the employment arena, these developments are being closely watched and discussed by employment law commentators.
 
Discrimination  
  • A Social Security Administration judge in Texas sued his employer to avoid being disciplined for refusing on religious grounds to watch a mandatory LGBT diversity training video.
  • A Minnesota woman has sued her former employer for firing her after she refused to attend a business lunch at Hooters.
  • The Center for Investigative Reporting took a detailed look at new EEOC chair Victoria Lipnic’s record as an EEOC commissioner.
  • SHRM offered advice for building diverse and inclusive teams.
  • The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a Fayetteville city ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice agreed to pay $225,000 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by a former prosecutor who alleged that women in the U.S. attorney’s office in Spokane, Washington were not treated equally to men.
Technology
  • Quartz tested digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa to see how they respond to sexual harassment, and the results are enlightening.
  • Google is suing Uber, alleging that a former employee stole trade secrets related to Google’s self-driving car technology.
  • Recode covered the controversy over Instacart’s evolving approach to tipping and compensation of delivery workers.
  • Harvard Business Review looked at why corporate boards aren’t adequately dealing with today’s biggest threat: cybersecurity.
In Other News
  • The New York Times Magazine published The Jobs Americans Do, an in-depth look at America’s working class today.
  • Legislation proposed in Maryland that mirrors the attempted federal increase in overtime eligibility by the Obama administration could make 80,000 workers eligible for overtime.
  • The New York Department of Labor recently issued regulations allowing employers to set limits on employee discussion of wages but not to prohibit such discussions altogether.