Wisconsin employees may be affected by new legislation designed to protect pregnant women from job discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated 30-year-old doctrines to clearly articulate that any form of discrimination against pregnant women at the workplace is to be considered illegal and constitutes sexual discrimination. The chairwoman for the EEOC says that the agency continues to receive an alarming amount of claims alleging overt or subtle discrimination against pregnant employees.
Wisconsin readers may be interested in a new executive order that President Barack Obama is planning to sign. Once signed, the order will ban federal contractors from discriminating against individuals based on their gender identity and sexual orientation.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin Plastics Inc., seeking punitive damages and lost wages for employees who were reportedly discharged for having poor English skills. The lawsuit was filed on June 9. The agency claims that speaking English was not a skill required for performing their job effectively.
A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that an investigation into the employment practices of an Indian tribal casino located in Milwaukee can proceed. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is looking into allegations of age discrimination made by a former employee of the casino. The ruling allows the EEOC to enforce an August 2013 subpoena that requested information to investigate the claim.
Wisconsin employees may be interested in one whistleblower's story of discrimination in the government agency where she works. Hers and other claims of unfair treatment have sparked a Congressional investigation into the matter.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a suit against a Wisconsin Merry Maids franchisee for allegedly firing a worker for being pregnant. The woman was a two-year employee of the franchisee, V&B LLC, and had continued to perform her responsibilities even while pregnant. She was a team captain on one of the cleaning crews and had a perfect work record.
Tammy Baldwin, a member of the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin, has introduced new legislation called the Fair Employment Protection Act, which would require zero tolerance for workplace discrimination. According to Senator Baldwin, women in the workplace are disproportionately affected by discrimination. Senator Baldwin is joined in introducing the proposed bill by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Congressman George Miller (D-CA) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA).
The Human Rights Campaign has found that nearly 90 percent of large employers it surveyed offer spousal benefits to same-sex partners of employees. This includes 61 percent of Fortune 500 companies in the survey, an increase from the preceding year. Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in 34 states, including Wisconsin, and there is no federal law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination. The survey by the nation's largest LGBT advocacy group suggests that big businesses are moving towards their own extension of gay rights without the legal requirement to do so.
Wisconsin lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ensure that pregnant women or those who had recently given birth would have appropriate accommodations made for them. Employee discrimination on the basis of gender and disability is already illegal, but this law would provide more clarity to the obligations of employers.
On November 18, it was announced that Del Monte Fresh Produce, a major global fruit and vegetable producer whose products are found at many retail locations in Wisconsin, agreed to pay a $1.2 million worker settlement. The firm was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2011 over allegations that the company had engaged in employee discrimination against Thai workers in the three years following 2003.