In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted to protect the employment rights and opportunities of people with disabilities, and ensure their access to public services and accommodation. In September 2008, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 repudiated several U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting ADA narrowly, and provided additional clarifications intended to ensure the broad availability of ADA’s protections. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) develops and applies employer standards, facilitates lawsuits by aggrieved employees, and can enforce ADA directly by filing its own lawsuits.
Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog
The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s extended beyond the ballot box to enter most U.S. workplaces. Beginning with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, federal (and follow-on states’) laws seek to ensure employees' rights to equal treatment, by prohibiting employer discrimination against employees because of any characteristics that historically have been the basis for discrimination (dubbed “protected classes”). Federally protected classes presently include the following:
Everyone has relationships in the workplace. Many relationships are purely professional, while some add personal elements, and one or more may even be very personal. Anti-discrimination laws may impose scrutiny on any relationship where at least one person is a manager or supervisor, or the owner of a small enterprise. In the U.S. these include laws (including Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, and comparable state laws), regulations and enforcement guidelines (from by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state equivalents), and court cases applying these standards. In Canada these include comparable human rights and occupational health and safety regimes.
Do you ever discuss work with co-worker friends on Facebook or other social media sites? Or, if you’re an employer, do you worry about what your employees may post about work on their Facebook pages—even when they do so from home after hours?
Is your organization one of the many with policies restricting employees’ use of social and other electronic media? If so, you need to consider last month’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision, finding that Costco’s policy violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This decision is another recent example of a regulator’s interpretation of ambiguous employer policies in ways that protect employee rights by using the employer’s ambiguity against it – and reinforce that employment law best practices require clarity and narrow drafting.