Tuesday, July 5, 2016

EEOC Updates - Sexual Orientation and Disparate Impact


Friend-of-blog, and past guest blogger David Lopez (General Counsel, EEOC) sends along a couple of important updates from the agency. First, the Commission recently entered into its first settlement of a sexual orientation case. From the news release:

“The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced [] that Pallet Companies, doing business as IFCO Systems, will pay $202,200 and provide significant equitable relief to settle one of EEOC’s first lawsuits alleging sex discrimination based on sexual orientation. . .

EEOC charged that a lesbian employee at IFCO's Baltimore facility was repeatedly harassed by her supervisor because of her sexual orientation. Her supervisor made numerous comments to her regarding her sexual orientation and appearance, such as "I want to turn you back into a woman" and "You would look good in a dress," according to the suit. EEOC charged that the supervisor also made sexually suggestive gestures to her. IFCO retaliated against the female employee by firing her just days after she complained to management and called the employee hotline to report the harassment, according to the suit.”

This settlement obviously represents an important development in this area of the law.

Second, attached is an order from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (See Download CROTHALL.ORDER.6.28.16).  The order discusses a company’s obligations to keep disparate impact information under the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures. Though a technical decision, it is very important and I encourage those of you studying or litigating in this area to take a look at this case.

-- Joe Seiner


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