Friday, October 10, 2014

In 2008, Anthony Booth and Jerry Brown filed charges against the County and the Union with the EEOC and the Florida Commission of Human Rights.  The charges stated issues with the County and Union’s response to past internal complaints.  In 2007, Booth named Brown as a witness in a grievance he filed against the supervisor of station 14.  As a result of the grievance, the plaintiffs and supportive coworkers were transferred to different stations.  The plaintiffs allege that the harassment in their workplace was a direct result of the charges filed with the EEOC and FLHR, and that the County and Union condoned it.  
After the charges were filed, Booth and Brown began to be harassed by their coworkers.  Memos,  along with newspaper articles, naming both Booth and Brown were being placed all around the station.  The memo gave a description of the discrimination charges filed by the plaintiffs and discussed the possibility of Union prices increasing due to the charges.  The plaintiffs began to complain that they felt unsafe around their coworkers and in their work environment.  Due to these complaints, the County required the men to complete fitness-for-duty examinations before being allowed to continue working. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court’s entry of judgment in favor of the County, and ordered that judgment be entered against the County.  While affirming the district court’s entry of judgment against the Union, the Eleventh Circuit agreed that the Union retaliated against the plaintiffs by mentioning their names in the memos.  The Eleventh Circuit held that the examinations ordered by the County were sufficient proof to support the Title VII retaliation claim.  Booth v. Pasco Cnty., Fla., 12-14194, 2014 WL 3031177 (11th Cir. July 3, 2014).

New Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

On July 14, 2014, the EEOC issued the Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination, which intends to provide guidance regarding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).  Under the PDA, “an employer cannot discriminate against and employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions must be treated the same as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.”  42 U.S.C. § 12101.  By issuing this new guidance, the EEOC hopes to reduce the number or pregnancy discrimination claims by requiring employers to offer reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Executive Order Expands Protections to LGBT Federal Employees

On July 21, 2014, President Obama expanded anti-discrimination protections to federal employees and federal contractors through an executive order that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Executive order 13672, which is enforced by the EEOC, has increased the protections offered for federal LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) workers.  The EEOC relies on several circuit court decisions in regards to transgender discrimination.  In Hopkins, the Supreme Court held that under Title VII, “an employer may not take gender into account in making an employment decision.”  Prince Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 239 (1989).