Has the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) extended the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
That is a question being asked after the EEOC released a question and answer fact sheet to protect employees or applicants who experience domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking outside of the workplace. Though the EEOC acknowledged that there is no current federal employment statute which specifically prohibits discrimination based on these categories, the Q&A provided examples to identify when employer actions, stemming from the employee's experience with sexual/domestic violence or stalking, can give rise to violations of Title VII or ADA.
According to the EEOC, some examples of employment decisions that may violate Title VII and involve applicants or employees who experience domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking include:
• An employer terminates an employee fearing the potential drama battered women bring to the workplace.
• A hiring manager refuses to select a male applicant after learning the applicant obtained a restraining order against a male domestic partner.
• An employer allows a male employee to use unpaid leave to appear for a criminal assault hearing but does not allow a similarly situated female employee to use equivalent leave to testify in the criminal prosecution of the domestic violence she experienced.
According to the EEOC, some examples of employment decisions that may violate the ADA and involve applicants or employees who experience domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking include:
• An employer chooses not to hire a job applicant after an online search reveals she was a complaining witness in a rape prosecution and received counseling for depression.
• Coworkers subject an employee, facially scared in an attack, to abusive comments, which the employer does not try to stop.
• An employer denies a schedule change, or accrued sick or unpaid leave, to an employee not covered by the FMLA who needs time off to get treatment for depression and anxiety following a sexual assault.
• An employer denies a shift transfer to an employee who was stalked by an ex-boyfriend who works in the same building on the employee's current shift.
• An employer tells coworkers that an employee is being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from incest.
The Q&A also explains the process an employee should use to file a claim of discrimination.
This commentary is for educational purposes. If you would like to be represented by an attorney in the Las Vegas law office of Parker Scheer Lagomarsino, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within 24 hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.