Lipnic Won’t Seek Third Term on EEOC

Victoria Lipnic, a Republican first appointed by President Obama, has announced that she will not seek a third term as a commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after her current appointment ends on July 1.

Victoria Lipnic

With only three members currently serving on the agency, that would render the EEOC quorum-less and unable to issue rulings. However, she has indicated she would be willing to stay after her term if needed. If President Trump nominates a replacement, she can stay in her position for 60 days after July 1. If he doesn’t nominate anyone, she can stay until the end of the Congressional session.

The other two members on the commission are Chair Janet Dhillon, a Republican nominated by President Trump, and Charlotte Burrows, a Democrat and Obama appointee.

Before Chair Dhillon was confirmed by the Senate, Lipnic served as acting chair. With Chai Feldblum, a Democrat, she led a task force that created guidance on workplace harassment before Trump took office. She is still at odds with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in believing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Retaliation Tops Charges Filed with EEOC in FY 2019

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released detailed breakdowns for the 72,675 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received in fiscal year 2019. The comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for FY 2019, which ended Sept. 30, 2019, are posted on the agency’s website, which also includes detailed breakdown of charges by state.

eeoc-files-seven-sexual-harassment-lawsuits-#metooThe FY 2019 data show that retaliation continued to be the most frequently filed charge filed with the agency, followed by disability, race and sex. The agency also received 7,514 sexual harassment charges — 10.3 percent of all charges, and an  1.2 percent decrease from FY 2018.  Specifically, the charge numbers show the following breakdowns by bases alleged, in descending order:

  • Retaliation: 39,110 (53.8 percent of all charges filed)
  • Disability: 24,238 (33.4 percent)
  • Race: 23,976 (33.0 percent)
  • Sex: 23,532 (32.4 percent)
  • Age: 15,573 (21.4 percent)
  • National Origin: 7,009 (9.6 percent)
  • Color: 3,415 (4.7 percent)
  • Religion: 2,725 (3.7 percent)
  • Equal Pay Act: 1,117 (1.5 percent)
  • Genetic Information: 209 (0.3 percent)

These percentages add up to more than 100% because some charges allege multiple bases.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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OSHA Form 300A Injury and Illness Tracking Must Be Posted by Feb. 1

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires firms with 250 or more employees and those in high-hazard industries with 20 to 249 employees to post Form 300A in their workplace from Feb. 1 to April 30.

OSHA-form-3ooa-must-be-posted--by-Feb.-1The form summarizes work-related injuries and illnesses from the previous calendar year and must be posted in a conspicuous place.

In addition, the data on the form must be submitted to OSHA by March 2.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Chipotle Fined $1.3 Million for Child Labor Violations

Fast casual chain Chipotle has agreed to pay $1.3 million in fines for child labor violations in Massachusetts.

chipolte-workers-sue-to-get-overtime-payThe fine caps a three-year investigation following a complaint by a parent whose kid was forced to work “well past midnight.”

In the course of the investigation, the state’s attorney general’s office discovered more than 13,000 child labor violations, including working without proper permits, working late into the night, and working more hours allowed per day and per week. Some 50 Chipotle locations were involved.

“Chipotle is a major national restaurant chain that employs thousands of young people across the country and it has a duty to ensure minors are safe working in its restaurants,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in the statement. “We hope these citations send a message to other fast food chains and restaurants that they cannot violate our child labor laws and put young people at risk.”


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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SCOTUS Won’t Review Obamacare Ruling This Term

While a district judge in Texas weighs the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), an appeal to the Supreme Court to review the circuit court ruling that struck down the ACA’s individual mandate has been rejected for this term. The court could choose to take it up come next October, but this effectively means that Judge Reed O’Connor — whatever he may decide — is the sole remaining arbiter of the ACA’s constitutionality before the November election.

EEOC-lawsuits-return-to-normalOn Dec. 18, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision from a July 9th hearing on Judge O’Connor’s 2018 ruling that the entire law is unconstitutional. The three-judge panel, however, agreed only with the judge’s ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. It then ordered him to review the law in greater depth and forward his findings about what’s valid and what’s not. So the circuit court in New Orleans still holds sway over whatever he decides.

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NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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D.C. Circuit Court to Decide Fate of EEO-1 Pay Data Mandate

The EEO-1 Pay Data Collection saga continues and will resurface Friday before a panel of the U.S. Court Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

eeoc-pay-data-collection-to-be-challengedThe Obama-era Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) originally ordered companies to submit pay data, broken down by sex and race, as part of their annual EEO-1 Report.

(The EEO-1 is an annual survey that requires all private employers with 100 or more employees and federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a federal contract, sub­contract or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more to file the EEO-1 report.)

However, before data could be collected, the incoming Trump administration and its Office of Management and Budget (OMB) nixed the plan.

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NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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CNN to pay $76 Million in Back Wages, Largest Sum in NLRB History

As part of a settlement signed this month, CNN has agreed to pay $76 million in back pay, the largest monetary remedy in the history of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The back pay amount, larger than what the agency collects on average in a typical year, is expected to benefit over 300 individuals.

The dispute originated in 2003 when CNN terminated a contract with Team Video Services (TVS), a company that had been providing CNN video services in Washington, D.C., and New York City. After terminating the contract, CNN hired new employees to perform the same work without recognizing or bargaining with the two unions that had represented the TVS employees. CNN sought to operate as a nonunion workplace and conveyed to the workers that their prior employment with TVS and union affiliation disqualified them from employment.

After a lengthy hearing in 2008, an administrative law judge found that CNN’s actions violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that CNN was a successor to, and joint employer with, TVS. In 2014, the NLRB agreed and ordered CNN to bargain with the unions and provide back pay.

Later, in 2017, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, including Chief Judge Merrick Garland and then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh, adopted the majority of the board’s findings, and enforced the board’s order that CNN cease and desist from refusing to recognize and bargain with the unions.  However, the court remanded the board’s joint employer finding for further clarification, along with the issue of back pay for further consideration by the board.

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NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Little Sisters of the Poor Case Heads to SCOTUS

The Supreme Court has agreed to review a case brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic home for the elderly and “neediest,” against a mandate by the Obama administration that they must provide birth control services in their health insurance policies.

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Little Sisters of the Poor Philadelphia

“It is disappointing to think that as we enter a new decade, we must still defend our ministry in court,” Mother Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters of the Poor said in a statement. “We are grateful the Supreme Court has decided to weigh in, and hopeful that the Justices will reinforce their previous decision and allow us to focus on our lifelong work of serving the elderly poor once and for all.”

The 2011 Obama executive order has been the subject of more than 100 lawsuits, with the Little Sisters’ drawing the most media exposure.

In 2017, President Trump issued his own executive order countermanding Obama’s order. EO 13798 states that it “shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.”

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NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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HHS Proposes Rule for Faith-Based Service Providers

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a rule that implements President Trump’s Executive Order No. 13831 (May 3, 2018), removes regulatory burdens on religious organizations, and ensures that religious and non-religious organizations are treated equally in HHS-supported programs.  The proposed rule ensures that HHS-supported social service programs are implemented in a manner consistent with the Constitution and other applicable federal law.

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HHS Secretary Alex Azar

“President Trump’s administration is taking historic action to protect religious social service providers from discrimination in federal regulations,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Americans of faith play an essential role in providing healthcare and human services to so many vulnerable people and communities, and President Trump is dedicated to removing every unfair barrier that stands in the way of this important work. Americans from every walk of life deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Our Constitution and civil rights laws ensure equal treatment and today’s action makes clear that the federal government cannot discriminate against people and institutions based on how they live out the dictates of their faith.”

Under current regulations that govern HHS-supported programs, religious providers of social services — but not other providers of social services — must make referrals under certain circumstances to alternative service providers and must post notices regarding this referral procedure.  These regulatory burdens had been required by then-President Obama’s Executive Order No. 13559 (Nov. 17, 2010).

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NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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OSHA Penalties to Rise Tomorrow

According to the Inflation Adjustment Act, the Department of Labor (DOL) and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) each year have until Jan. 15 to adjust their penalties for inflation. Accordingly, increased penalties will take place tomorrow, Jan. 16, 2020.

dol-schedules-overtime-rule-public-sessionsThe new 2020 maximum OSHA penalties are as follows:

  • Other-than-Serious: $13,494 (increased from $13,260)
  • Serious: $13,494 (increased from $13,260)
  • Repeat : $134,937 (increased from $132,589)
  • Willful: $134,937 (increased from $132,589)

These and other DOL penalties were published today in the Federal Register.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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