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On May 3rd, the Georgia legislature is set to vote on the anti-gay “religious liberty” bill, which gives faith based organizations the option to deny certain services to gay people. Proponents argue that the bill protects “religious freedom.” However, opponents explain that the measure is appalling and “anti-LGBT.” The fight underscores that while discriminatory incidents still occur, many businesses and employers now recognize how harmful discrimination is, and the importance of eliminating discriminatory practices.

Numerous companies have publicly denounced the bill and have threatened to pull out of Georgia if the Governor signs HB 757. These companies include Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Marriott.   Disney has stated that it will stop filming in Georgia, and in a statement noted, “Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law,”

Currently, federal law – Title VII of the Equal Rights Act of 1964 – prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.

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Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed two sexual orientation discrimination lawsuits against private employers asserting violations of Title VII of the Equal Rights Act of 1964. This is an important step. Although Title VII prohibits sex discrimination, it does not explicitly prohibit “sexual orientation” discrimination. Last year, the EEOC issued a report setting forth it’s opinion that sexual orientation should be included under the umbrella of “sexual discrimination.”

The recently filed employment discrimination cases seek to enforce this opinion.   In the first, a gay male suffered alleged harassment at work – his manager referred to him using gay slurs and made derogatory comments about his sexuality and sex life. Although he complained, reports assert no actions were taken.

In the second case, a lesbian worker was harassed by her boss. When she complained, she was fired.

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Employment news reports that Bank of America has agreed to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) asserted that a deaf employee sought a reasonable accommodation from the Bank but the Bank failed to provide one.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. This includes taking reasonable steps to accommodate employees who can perform the job, but may require certain adjustments in order to perform essential tasks. Generally, “reasonable accommodations” are those that don’t cause an “undue hardship” for the employer, such as being unduly expensive or negatively affecting a facilities’ ability to conduct business.

In this instance, the worker was denied the use of a sign language interpreter, and instead had to write notes to communicate, which were often difficult for him to understand.

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USA Today reports that five women’s soccer players have filed a wage discrimination complaint against U.S. soccer. Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Rebecca Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan have filed the complaint on behalf of the entire team.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency in charge of enforcing employment laws, will begin an investigation into the allegations. The players have asserted that they earn just 40% of what the men’s national team make, despite having won three World Cup Championships and four Olympic Championships.   A representative for the women notes, “This is one of the strongest cases of gender discrimination I have ever seen … We have a situation here where the women’s have outperformed the men on the field and in every other way yet earn fraction of what the men are paid.”

Filing a claim with the EEOC is the first step in pursuing a charge of employment discrimination. Once you file a complaint, the EEOC will conduct an investigation and perhaps suggest mediation. Alternatively, if the parties don’t mediate, the EEOC may provide you with a “right to sue” letter, which allows you to file a federal lawsuit.   If you believe that you have suffered any form of employment discrimination, it is important to consult with a skilled Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer. A knowledgeable employment attorney can help you understand your rights and remedies, and ensure that you follow the proper procedures to receive redress in your matter.

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Employment law news reports that an African American woman has just launched an app seeking to help end workplace discrimination.   In general, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against employees on the basis off their race, sex, religion or national origin. Additional laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of age and disability.   For example, pursuant to Title VII employers may not take an individual’s race into consideration when making any decision concerning their employment such as hiring, firing, or promoting.

The woman explained that she often had difficulty getting her foot in the door in the tech industry, a field traditionally dominated by white males. In order to help eliminate bias –whether conscious or unconscious – she developed an app that sends employers resumes without the candidates names or pictures so that they are judged solely on their merits and technical skills.   She explained that often companies don’t even recognize that they are excluding talent on the basis of racism or sexism.

Hopefully this app will help level the playing field by eliminating hiring biases. If you believe that you have been a victim of discrimination, it’s important that you fight back. For more information or to discuss your matter with an experienced Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer, please contact the dedicated Georgia employment lawyers at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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According to recent employment law news, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed its first lawsuit alleging gender bias on the basis of sexual orientation discrimination. Two separate lawsuits have asserted that the protections afforded by Title VII of the civil rights act of 1964 for sex discrimination extend to sexual orientation as well. As the first lawsuits of their kind, this is an historic event.

In general, Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate against employees based on their sex (as well as other protected categories such as religion, race, color and national origin). In the past, this has been applied to situations where employers terminated workers, failed to hire or promote, or took any negative employment action against a worker because they were male or female.   The recently filed cases each involve discrimination against individuals due to their sexual orientation – one is against a gay male and the other is against a lesbian female.   The gay male alleged that he was referred to by his manager using various anti-gay slurs, and when he complained to his director, the director failed to take action to stop the harassment and asserted that the manager was “just doing his job.”   In the other matter, the female alleged that she was harassed due to her sexual orientation, and was fired after she complained.

A representative from the EEOC noted, “While some federal courts have begun to recognize this right under Title VII, it is critical that all courts do so.” While the EEOC filed this lawsuit, such claim may be brought by a private employment discrimination lawyer. Private attorneys may be able to pursue both federal and state claims, and obtain redress for discrimination in a more efficient manner than is possible through a federal agency.

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Finding a work place that is free from bias and discrimination is important to all of us. You feel better about working hard if you know your accomplishments are rewarded equally and fairly, that everyone has an equal chance for success- and that no one faces unlawful discrimination. What are the key elements in having a work place free from discrimination?

First, it is important that your employer either have an in-house human resource professional or someone specifically trained in employment law who understands what are acceptable hiring questions, understands the best practices concerning employment policies and procedures, and what constitutes discrimination and harassment.

It is also important that your company keeps a manual or handbook incorporating all of the company’s policies and procedures and distributes it to all employees. If you haven’t received an employee manual, it’s a good idea to ask your supervisor if one exists. Not having specific guidelines concerning employment laws and how they relate to your workplace can be a red flag. Often, the lack of proper education about proper practices can unwittingly lead to discrimination and harassment in the work place.

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According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the number of disability discrimination claims filed is at an all time high. Statistics reveal that the EEOC received nearly 27,000 complaints in 2015.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against “qualified individuals with a disability” as it relates to the terms and conditions of their employment. The Acts also prohibit disability harassment and retaliation against workers for complaining about disability discrimination or for participating in another’s disability discrimination case.

A covered disability under the ADA includes medical, physiological or psychiatric conditions that substantially limit a major life activity, such as blindness.   In terms of the ADA, what constitutes a disability is a legal definition rather than a medical.   Additionally, you are protected from discrimination based on a “perceived” disability – i.e. where an employer discriminates against you because you have a condition that they (unfoundedly) believe may affect your work or because of a past history of a medical condition.

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An ongoing age discrimination case filed against the Kansas City Chiefs has just settled. The employment discrimination lawsuit was brought by a 61-year-old man, who was the former director of operations.   He was fired in 2010 and replaced with a 37-year-old. According to allegations in the case, the Chief’s owner had expressed his wishes to “go in a more youthful direction” with the football team’s chief of staff.  The lawsuit alleged that, as the result of this general sentiment, the organization terminated older employees, making room for younger workers.

According to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) it is illegal to discriminate against workers based on their age. This includes firing (or failing to hire), failing to promote a worker, or harassing them as the result of his or her age (such as making derogatory comments or age-related jokes). It is also illegal to retaliate against someone for participating in another’s age discrimination case.

Thus if “age” was the reason behind the a decision to terminate certain employees, this may constitute a violation the ADEA.

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A new employment discrimination lawsuit has been filed against Yahoo alleging that the tech giant was biased against men. According to allegations, the company favored female employees, both in terms of performance reviews and job retention.

The lawsuit was filed by a man who was working as an editorial director at Yahoo before being laid off. His termination was part of a “mass-layoff”, according to the complaint, which requires a 60-day notice period – longer than he was given. Additional allegations set forth in the complaint include that the top management shifted from 20% female to 80% female over the course of his time at the company. He also stated that top management has made statements in the public supporting increasing the number of female employees, as well promoting women based on their gender, while terminating, demoting or laying off male employees because of their gender.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, colorsexnational origin, and religion. This means that it is illegal to take an employee’s gender into consideration in any aspect of employment including hiring, firing, or failing to promote. Sex discrimination may exist where management takes negative employment action not only against female employees, but also against males and transgender workers.