On January 1, 2015, Colorado’s employers will begin feeling the full impact of HB-1136, which ratchets up remedies available for employees alleging workplace discrimination or harassment. HB-1136 passed largely along party lines in 2013, against the appeals of the business community. Though discrimination may be extremely difficult to prove, employers argued, it is extremely easy to allege, and under HB-1136, employers losing start big money in non-recoverable defense fees as soon as the allegation arises. And, given the ever-increasing cost of defense, the cost to disprove discrimination has never been higher.
Employers can, however, take affirmative steps to minimize the impact of HB-1136 by building strong preventive infrastructure within their workplaces. This recorded webinar features Julie Pate, Esq., SPHR of Employment Compliance Solutions and Merrily Archer, Esq., M.S.W. of EEO Legal Solutions. They offer practical tools for building and fortifying compliance infrastructure, including tips on screening, managing performance, training, documenting, rehabilitating, and finally, terminating employment.
Nearly 25 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) broke down workplace barriers for QUALIFIED individuals with disabilities– even profound sensory, physical, and intellectual ones—so long as they can perform essential job functions with or without REASONABLE accommodation. In passing this landmark legislation, Congress promised the business community that the ADA would NOT (a) require employers to fundamentally alter their positions to fit the limitations of disabled applicants or workers; (b) force employers to modify job-related performance and/or qualification standards; (c) allow the EEOC to substitute its judgment for employers’ about minimally successful job performance; (d) mandate “reasonable accommodations” that interfere with operations or impose crushing expense.
The EEOC’s more recent ADA prosecutions, however, have systemically broken each of these promises. In EEOC v. Picture People, for example, the EEOC claimed that a deaf/mute person was “qualified” to perform a sales position requiring excellent communication skills at a children’s portraiture retailer, with the reasonable accommodation of substituting written notes and pointing for the fluid communication required for successful performance. Likewise, in a recently filed prosecution, the EEOC claims that an intellectually impaired man with Down Syndrome could “successfully perform” his duties at a rural Papa John’s pizza joint, with the reasonable accommodation of a full-time job coach to supervise his activities and keep him on task.
How far must an employer go to REASONABLY accommodate an employee’s “disability,” before concluding that s/he simply cannot perform essential job functions with or without REASONABLE accommodation and is, therefore, not “qualified” within the meaning of the ADA?
This webinar will speak directly to employment lawyers and HR professionals. We will examine pertinent passages from the ADA’s legislative history, analyze several recent EEOC prosecutions that demonstrably conflict with legislative intent, explore effective arguments in litigation, and dive deeply into the documentation necessary to defend workplace qualification and performance standards. With a little “protected concerted activity” of their own, employers can restore the careful balances that Congress struck between the employer and disability rights community in passing the ADA over two decades ago.
In July, 2014, the EEOC issued new enforcement guidance on “pregnancy and related discrimination,” which creates additional accommodation obligations for employers. Perhaps for that reason, numerous Biglaw outfits have publicly challenged the EEOC’s guidance as, among others, exceeding its statutory mandate, lacking statutory basis and contradicting the majority of judicial circuits to consider these issues. Unfortunately, HR practitioners are stuck in the middle, struggling to reconcile and administer competing legal views in everyday leave, hiring, termination, and reasonable accommodation decisions.
This webinar will candidly address the EEOC’s new enforcement guidance, pointing out where the EEOC’s “interpretation” oversteps actual judicial precedent and agency authority. More importantly, however, we will also offer practical solutions about how to ensure accountability and enforce performance standards while accommodating pregnancy and related conditions in the workplace. With a legally conservative, creative, and technologically-based approach, the EEOC’s new guidance on pregnancy discrimination—extrajudicial as it may be—need not undermine operations and performance objectives.
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Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) turned 50 earlier this month. When we measure what matters, however, this important milestone leaves little cause for celebration. This webinar addresses the fundamental questions that the EEOC, lawyers, legislators and even civil rights advocates have apparently ignored: (1) how far have we really come?; and more importantly, what can we do BETTER to advance the March toward Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)? In this webinar, we also make specific policy recommendations (i.e., “sparks”) to jumpstart our progress, focusing on initiatives that have proven more effective at resolving workplace disputes than our current litigation-based enforcement model.
EEO starts in HR, and HR will continue to play a critical role in advancing our March. We hope you enjoy this recorded webinar.
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Here is the link to the FREE recorded webinar, Beyond Compliance: Building Model Workplaces for GLBTQ Employees featuring Courtney Gray of Colorado’s GLBT Center and Brent Houchin, Senior Employee Relations Manager at Denver Health. This webinar received amazing participant reviews!
In celebration of LGBTQ Awareness Month, EEO Legal Solutions is teaming up with Brent Houchin, Senior Employee Relations Specialist at Denver Health, and Courtney Gray, Transgender Programs Manager at the GLBT Center of Colorado, for this FREE, interactive 90-minute webinar on June 25, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (MDT). We’ll address basic legal compliance–e.g., discrimination/harassment prevention, FMLA compliance, reasonable accommodations, and benefit administration—to help employers get it right before violations (and heartache) occur.
But we have higher aspirations than mere legal compliance; rather, we aim to furnish employers with the tools they need to build model workplaces for LGBTQ employees. Most employers now understand that building model workplaces for LGBTQ employees boils down to attracting and retaining top talent. Thus, this webinar will sensitize employers to common workplace problems facing GLBTQ employees and offer practical preventive solutions. We’ll also discuss “best practices” for supporting transitioning and transgender employees, who too often find that coming out means losing their job. Finally, in hopes of further breaking down communication barriers, this webinar will include a moderated Q & A session for substantive questions.
The EEOC and OFCCP have both announced crackdowns on workplace wage disparities ostensibly due to gender, ethnicity, and race. For most employers, these disparities arise from a complicated constellation of factors tied to length of service, performance, disparate duties, etc. Nevertheless, without documentary support to explain these reasonable disparities, employers can fall prey to lengthy, expensive regulatory investigations. In short, it pays to detect and address pay disparity issues before the EEOC and OFCCP do.
EEO Legal Solutions is delighted to team up with compensation discrimination expert Patrick Nooren, PhD of Biddle Consulting Group. Patrick literally wrote the book on auditing for pay discrimination, and can guide you through some essential exercises to detect potential pay problems in your compensation structures.
This webinar is approved for 1 General HRCI credit.
and Tools for Building Defensible Workplaces
In workplace lawsuits, employee-side attorneys cast supervisors as villains whose statements, acts, decisions, and omissions should (1) impute liability to the overall organization; and (2) justify, in certain cases, the imposition of individual liability against them personally (e.g., FLSA, FMLA, torts). Despite their critical role and risk in employment disputes, HR practitioners and corporate counsel too often overlook the importance of “co-opting” line supervisors in building a culture of compliance. In fact, when properly trained, supervisors are the eyes, ears, and hands of HR and compliance counsel: they spot issues, detect disputes, involve appropriate stakeholders, escalate problems, and implement action plans, all of which can help stop everyday workplace clashes from degenerating into litigation.
This webinar speaks directly to your supervisors, offering practical “defensive management” tools for today’s workplace. We’ll cover (1) the current regulatory climate and corresponding need to partner closely with HR and compliance counsel on personnel decisions; (2) basic defense themes in employment litigation and how to develop effective documentation to support them; (3) common trouble spots that can result in individual liability for supervisors and how to avoid them; and (4) best practices for minimizing the risk of litigation.
This webinar is also a work in progress that can benefit from YOUR participation and input. Ultimately, based on participant feedback, we plan to re-record this webinar so that you have a FREE online training resource to share with your supervisors.
What a long strange trip Colorado’s Amendment 64 will be for Colorado’s employers
Now that the smoke has cleared (a little), Colorado’s Amendment 64 has left employers holding a bag of new workplace issues: can Colorado employers continue to maintain their drug-free workplace policies, as well as their safety, performance and disciplinary standards?
EEO Legal Solutions is delighted to partner with Julie Pate-Gurule, Esq. of Employment Compliance Solutions, LLC. As a former attorney with Mountain States Employers Counsel (MSEC) and as an in-house counsel, Julie understands the daily challenges HR practitioners and attorneys face when navigating the regulatory minefield in our workplaces. In this webinar, Julie will guide participants through the evolving law of weed at work and acquaint them with best practices for maintaining their performance and safety standards.
Systemic discrimination—particularly challenging employers’ “discriminatory hiring barriers” (i.e., qualification standards)—forms the foundation of the OFCCP’s and EEOC’s strategic enforcement plans. Since announcing the shift to systemic discrimination in April, 2006, the EEOC has investigated and/or prosecuted numerous employers for using skill-based testing, criminal history information, and credit report scores to screen applicants. These EEOC prosecutions, however, have not stood up to the scrutiny of the litigation process, garnering summary dismissals and stinging rebukes from federal judges on the threshold element of any systemic case—i.e., whether the challenged practice has statistically significant adverse impact on any protected group. In fact, the arguments carrying the day in court are statistical, not “legal.”
In this lively webinar, Patrick Nooren, PhD of Biddle Consulting Group and Merrily Archer, Esq., M.S.W. of EEO Legal Solutions will
Provide insight into the OFCCP’s and EEOC’s focus on systemic discrimination;
Decrypt theoretical terms like “systemic discrimination” and “disparate impact” and explain where these problems crop up in everyday HR practice;
Analyze two recent landmark EEOC prosecutions—EEOC v. Freeman and EEOC v. Kaplan, and showcase what went well, particularly the arguments that persuaded the court;
Offer practical suggestions about how to avoid landing in the EEOC’s systemic discrimination crosshairs, including how to use BCGi’s free, online adverse impact calculator.
We hope you can join us!
Workplace conflict is inevitable. Nevertheless, Employment Practices Liability (EPL) insurance claims rank high on most employers’ lists of big hazards to avoid in 2014. With a solid infrastructure to prevent and manage workplace disputes most ordinary “people problems” should never become legal ones that result in an EPL claim.
EEO Legal Solutions is delighted to team up with EPL guru Brit Weimer, Esq. of Jones Satre & Weimer PLLC in Minneapolis, MN to examine the most important facets of any EPL-claim prevention program. We’ll offer cost-effective solutions for standard compliance activities (e.g., training, policy posting), introduce new techniques to avoid large-scale liability (e.g., FLSA, systemic discrimination), and explore the benefits of aggressive workplace performance management and dispute resolution programs.
An application is pending for one (1) General HRCI credit.