EEOC’s Public Portal online now

Today the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched an EEOC Public Portal to provide online access to individuals inquiring about discrimination. “This secure online system makes the EEOC and an individual’s charge information available wherever and whenever it is most convenient for that individual,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. “It’s a giant leap forward for the EEOC in providing online services.” The EEOC Public Portal allows individuals to submit online initial inquiries and requests for intake interviews with the agency. Initial inquiries and intake interviews are typically the first steps for individuals seeking to file a charge of discrimination with EEOC. In fiscal year 2017, the EEOC responded to over 550,000 calls to the toll-free number and more than 140,600 inquiries in field offices, reflecting the significant public demand for EEOC’s services. Handling this volume of contacts through an online system is more efficient for the public and the agency as it reduces the time and expense of paper submissions. The new system enables individuals to digitally sign and file a charge prepared by the EEOC for them. Once an individual files a charge, he or she can use the EEOC Public Portal to provide and update contact information, agree to mediate the charge, upload documents...

Depression, PTSD & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights

If you are suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another mental health condition, you are protected against discrimination and harassment at work  because of your condition, you have workplace privacy rights, and you may have a legal right to get reasonable accommodations that can help you perform and keep your job. The following questions and answers briefly explain these rights, which are provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You may also have additional rights under other laws not discussed here, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and various medical insurance laws.1. Is my employer allowed to fire me because I have a mental health condition?No. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you simply because you have a mental health condition. This includes firing you, rejecting you for a job or promotion, or forcing you to take leave. An employer doesn't have to hire or keep people in jobs they can't perform, or employ people who pose a "direct threat" to safety (a significant risk of substantial harm to self or others). But an employer cannot rely on myths or stereotypes about your mental health condition when deciding whether you can perform a job or whether you pose a safety risk. Before an...

Court finds sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination

The Hon. Cathy Bissoon, District Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, has just held: "There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality. As the EEOC states, “[d]iscriminating against a person because of the sex of that person’s romantic partner necessarily involves stereotypes about ‘proper’ roles in sexual relationships – that men are and should only be sexually attracted to women, not men.” (Doc. 16) at 11-12. This discriminatory evil is more than reasonably comparable to the evil identified by the Supreme Court in Price Waterhouse. Indeed, the Court finds discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is, at its very core, sex stereotyping plain and simple; there is no line separating the two. Contra Prowel, 579 F.3d at 291 (“[T]he line between sexual orientation discrimination and discrimination “because of sex” can be difficult to draw.”). It is, in the view of the undersigned, a distinction without a difference. Forcing an employee to fit into a gendered expectation – whether that expectation involves physical traits, clothing, mannerisms or sexual attraction –constitutes sex stereotyping and, under Price Waterhouse, violates Title VII. Simply put, Mr. McClendon’s alleged conduct...