A couple of weeks ago, employment law practitioners from South Carolina and North Carolina gathered for the 31st Annual NC/SC Labor & Employment Conference. The program was filled with many highlights, including a presentation from David Lopez, General Counsel of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
Mr. Lopez discussed the EEOC’s “Top Ten Litigation Developments” and gave some valuable insight into the current trends and thinking at the federal agency charged with regulating and enforcing workplace discrimination. According to Mr. Lopez, the EEOC’s priorities are the following, in order of importance:
- Number 10: Racial Harassment
- Number 9: Disparate Impact in Background Screening (i.e., whether questions about applicant convictions has disproportionate effect on certain racial minorities)
- Number 8: Sex Discrimination
- Number 7: Preservation of Access to the Legal System (arbitration agreements, retaliatory conduct, etc.)
- Number 6: The Importance of Juries (statistics show EEOC is often successful in jury trials)
- Number 5: Discrimination Against Immigrant, Migrant, & Other Vulnerable Workers
- Number 4: Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Workers
- Number 3: LGBT Coverage under Title VII
- Number 2: Pregnancy Discrimination
- Number 1 (tie): EEOC’s Pre-suit Obligations (what exactly are the conciliation requirements?)
- Number 1 (tie) : Religious Discrimination/Accommodation
Obviously, there is a lot to discuss with this list, and future posts will dive into some of these issues individually – so be on the lookout! In the meantime, employers should review this list carefully and think about how you are being proactive to prevent these discriminatory practices – particularly ones that are gaining increasing media attention such as LGBT discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and banning the box legislation.