State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q1/Q2 2020

State and local governments are increasingly regulating the workplace. In the first and second quarters of 2020 alone, legislatures were particularly active in passing laws addressing sexual harassment training, discrimination including hair discrimination, criminal background inquiries, salary history, and a variety of unpaid and paid leaves. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this update provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance. (Please note that developments specifically related to COVID-19 are not included in this update.)

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Supreme Court Decides Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court decided three cases, holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender identity.

In each of the three cases, an employee was fired shortly after revealing that he or she was homosexual or transgender. Each plaintiff brought suit under Title VII, alleging unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex. The Eleventh Circuit held that Title VII does not protect against discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation, while the Second Circuit held that it did. The Sixth Circuit held that Title VII protects against discrimination on the basis of transgender identity.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

‘Answer Is Clear’: Title VII Forbids Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

On June 15, 2020, in the month and year that marks the 50th anniversary of LGBTQ+ Pride traditions, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In the 6-3 decision authored by Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court said that Title VII’s message is simple: “[a]n individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions . . . [and] it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.” Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 590 U.S. ___ (2020).

This opinion resolves a circuit split arising from decisions by the Second, Sixth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. In each case, an employer fired a long-time employee shortly after the employee disclosed being “homosexual” or “transgender” and allegedly for no reason other than the employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Minnesota Supreme Court: Standard for Workplace Sexual Harassment Should Reflect Today’s ‘Societal Attitudes’

On Wednesday, June 3, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the “severe or pervasive” standard used in workplace sexual harassment cases. But in doing so, it held that lower courts interpreting the standard must consider today’s definition of appropriate workplace conduct.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

OFCCP Revises Voluntary Self-Identification Disability Form

The OFCCP announced on May 8, 2020 that it completed its awaited update to the Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form, which was recently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and expires on May 31, 2023. Covered federal contractors and subcontractors have until August 4, 2020 to replace the old form.

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EEOC Pushes Back EEO Data Collections Until January and March 2021

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will delay the opening of the 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 (Employer Information Report), the 2020 EEO-3 (Local Report) and the 2020 EEO-5 (Elementary-Secondary Staff Information Report) until 2021, in light of COVID-19. Accordingly, EEO-1, EEO-3 and EEO-5 filers should begin preparing to submit data in 2021.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.