Vermont Bar Journal
Fall 2008 - #7.
Promoting Equal Access to Employment and Achieving Discrimination Free Workplaces: Recent Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Vermont Bar Journal #175, Volume 34, No. 3 FALL 2008
Promoting Equal Access to Employment and Achieving Discrimination Free Workplaces: Recent Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionby Sandra W. Everitt, Esq.The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission opened its doors on July 2, 1965. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC has been enforcing equal employment laws and providing guidance to employers and employees on workplace rights for forty- three years. The EEOC enforces federal laws, in public and private work places, based on age, color, disability, equal pay, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, retaliation, sex, and sexual harassment. During its forty-three years the EEOC regularly issued written guidance on the laws it enforces and a variety of employment topics, to assist employers and employees in understanding their obligations and rights. This year was no exception. In 2008 the EEOC issued guidance in response to the increased number of issues raised in connection with employing veterans with service- connected disabilities(fn1) and the increase in pregnancy discrimination claims.(fn2) The EEOC also undertook enforcement initiatives regarding systemic race discrimination and issued a best practices guide on religious accommodation to prevent religious discrimination at work. The following is a brief overview of the new 2008 guidance coupled with an encouragement to employment professionals and employees to access FREE assistance in resolving some of the equal access and equity issues that arise in the workplace.
What is veteran's preference? Are employers required to maintain employment for veterans with service- connected disabilities? What can an employer ask and what should a veteran applicant tell about service-connected disabilities? What types of reasonable accommodations are employers required to provide, and what can employees expect as accommodation for their service-connected disabilities? All these questions, and more, are covered in the February 2008, EEOC Guidance Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A Guide for Employers(fn3) and the March 2008 frequently asked question (FAQ) guide, Veterans with Service- Connected Disabilities in the Workplace and The Americans with Disabilities Act.(fn4)
The guidance and the FAQs provide...