An Alabama staffing firm (sometimes called a temp agency) has recently come under fire for employment discrimination. News reports allege that the firm honored requests for whites-only temporary workers. These reports indicate that, sometimes, the client would use code words like “country boys” to request white employees. In its defense, the firm has responded that it does not honor such requests.
In a case of first impression, Quigg v. Thomas County School District, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the burden-shifting framework (known as “McDonell Douglas”) established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 for cases involving mixed-motive discrimination claims. Instead, the Court adopted a less stringent standard, allowing claims to proceed where the plaintiff is able to show that (1) the defendant took an adverse employment action against the plaintiff and (2) a protected characteristic was a motivating factor for the adverse employment action.
The name—Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act—suggests something straight forward: Employers can’t order DNA tests for potential employees. And what employer in a right mind would be doing that in the first place? It’s expensive, after all.
As the summer drew to a close, the EEOC continued to aggressively pursue claims of pregnancy discrimination, filing a total of eight lawsuits involving pregnancy-related discrimination in the month of September alone. These cases range from New Mexico to Georgia and include a wide variety of employers from a commercial moving company to a temporary staffing agency to a home healthcare provider. Despite these differences, however, a common thread throughout the cases is the consistent “no tolerance” position of the EEOC related to pregnancy discrimination. This policy prohibits discrimination based on (a) current pregnancies, (b) past pregnancies, (c) potential or intended pregnancies, and (d) medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.
On September 11, 2015, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a final rule that prevents government contractors from having pay secrecy or confidentiality policies. Specifically, the rule prohibits discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee or applicant because the employee or applicant inquired about, discussed, or disclosed the compensation of the employee or any other employee. But the rule allows contractors to require human resources personnel (who have access to employee compensation information as part of their job responsibilities) to keep such compensation information confidential.