The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is understaffed. Case filings are also down. So at a recent Practicing Law Institute Conference, two EEOC regional attorneys outlined future plans, practices, and targets of the EEOC.
1. The EEOC has drafted a strategic enforcement plan which has three guiding principles: a) targeted enforcement, b) an integrated approach to public and private sector enforcement, and c) accountability.
2. After charges are file, In deciding which cases to pursue for litigation the EEOC will consider four primary factors:
a) Does the case potentially affect a large number of claimants;
b) What area of the law does the charge involve;
c) Does the charge allege bias against a vulnerable worker or group of workers; and d) Whether the case will have a significant impact in shaping the law on a particular subject.
3. Current litigation priorities are cases that:
a) allege systemic discrimination, especially in recruitment and hiring;
b) involve immigrant, migrant, or other vulnerable workers;
c) implicate emerging legal issues, including under the ADA Amendments Act, discrimination against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and forced unpaid leave as an accommodation for pregnant workers;
d) preserve individuals’ access to the legal system, such as cases involving employers’ attempted curtailment of employee job rights, including through overbroad waivers; and e) combat sexual harassment.
4. The EEOC may also target the following policies and practices:
a) “fixed-leave” policies, which are unlawful under the ADA amendments, as well as what is known as “100-percent healed policies,” in which an employer requires an employee to be 100 percent healed before returning to work from medical or disability leave.
b) using a standard one-size fits-all form request for ADA accommodations.
The EEOC attorneys also noted that it is unlikely the EEOC will go after too many more Equal Pay Act cases since low-income workers can receive better damages under Title VII, which permits compensatory awards.
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