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EEOC and OSHA Ask: Is Your Workplace Transgender Neutral? UPDATE

I recently wrote about OSHA’s plan to develop and distribute information to ensure transgender employees have safe and adequate access to workplace restrooms.  This week, OSHA issued “Best Practices - A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers,” with the stated Core Principle that “[a]ll employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.”  The OSHA Guide notes the following:

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EEOC and OSHA Ask: Is Your Workplace Transgender Neutral?

The widely discussed Bruce Jenner interview has been a media sensation but for employers there are more important recent stories on transgender issues in the workplace. Last month, the EEOC issued a ruling that Title VII was violated by the Army when it refused to allow a transgender, male-to-female, civilian employee to use the women’s common restroom.   

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2012 Fiscal Year EEOC Enforcement Statistics Reveal Decrease in Overall Charges and Increase in Employer Payouts

The recently released 2012 EEOC enforcement statistics indicated an overall decrease in charges and increase in damages paid by employers.  Notably, for the second consecutive year, the EEOC reduced its pending inventory of private sector charges by 10% from fiscal year 2011, bringing inventory to 70,312.  However, the EEOC obtained the largest amount of monetary recovery in 2012, totaling $365.4 million.  Leading the states in originating charges was Texas at 9.0% of charges filed nationally, followed by Florida (8.0%) and California (7.4%).   

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Flying the Not So Friendly Skies – A New Kind of Sexual Harassment?

Consider this scenario – a male manager tells his female subordinate that he is requiring her to allow a third party to take nude pictures of her but if she prefers, she can instead elect to be groped by a total stranger.  This is part of her job and if she refuses she could be terminated or face other adverse action, e.g. discipline or demotion.  That manager should be fired immediately, you say?  How about this scenario: a male manager tells his female subordinate that he is requiring her to take a commercial airline flight to visit a customer.  That one happens every day and could hardly be objectionable, or could it?

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TAGS: Harassment

What Can Be Done About Workplace Violence?

Sad news from Connecticut yesterday as another workplace shooting claimed 9 lives.

I’m not going to suggest that it could have been prevented, and in fact I have my doubts that such incidents can be completely prevented in a free society such as ours. Moreover, it would be inappropriate to second guess the company involved based on news stories that may or may not be complete and accurate. Nevertheless, it is timely to consider what steps employers can take to minimize the risk of workplace violence.

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Alleged Harasser's Sexual Orientation Relevant in Same Sex Harassment Cases

There has been a lot of news coverage lately of Rep. Eric Massa’s resignation and apparently related allegations of harassment of male staffers. 

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TAGS: Harassment, Labor & Employment Law, Litigation

Eleventh Circuit Rejects "Equal Opportunity Jerk" Defense

Every now and then, I encounter an argument in the context of a harassment claim that inappropriate comments were not directed toward the complaining party but were made for all to hear.  The argument goes that if the comments were offensive, they were offensive to all and therefore not actionable.  This is sometimes referred to as the “equal opportunity jerk” defense.  

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TAGS: Harassment, Labor & Employment Law

Tiger Woods

If you have turned on the television or radio, read a newspaper or looked at the internet in the past few days, you have probably heard about Tiger Woods’ car accident last Friday and the speculation about the circumstances surrounding the accident.  It is safe to assume that employees are discussing it and all the salacious speculation as well. 

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TAGS: Harassment, Labor & Employment Law

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