In 2015, lawmakers at the state and local level continued to enact laws providing employment protections to new and emerging protected classes and expanding the coverage of equal opportunity laws.New laws prohibit discrimination and harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, pregnant women, women who breastfeed and victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.Additionally, a number of states and cities have enacted laws that require an employer to reasonably accommodate employees based on pregnancy, disability and religion.
Under federal law, employees have a right to accommodations based on religion, disability, lactation and pregnancy.
The Supreme Court tackled issues relating to accommodations in two important court cases in 2015.
An employer also may want to consider adding a catch-all phrase within its EEO policies providing protection to "any other classes protected by federal, state or local law," especially if the employer does not update its employment policies or employee handbook on a frequent basis.
Recent developments that affect EEO-related policies include: Prohibits discrimination against domestic violence victims (1/1/15) Prohibits discrimination against immigrants holding lawful driver's licenses (1/1/15) Extends discrimination protections to interns and volunteers (1/1/15) Requires abusive conduct training as part of supervisor harassment training (1/1/15) Prohibits discrimination against public assistance recipients (1/1/15) Prohibits discrimination against individuals requesting reasonable accommodations based on disability or religious belief (1/1/16) EEO - Discrimination: California Disabilities (ADA): California EEO - Harassment: California EEO - Retaliation: California Training and Development: California Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct: California Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Prevention Handbook Statement [5 Employees]: California Harassment and Retaliation Prevention Handbook Statement [1-4 Employees]: California Disability Accommodation Handbook Statement: California Religious Accommodation Handbook Statement: California Extends coverage of Persons with Disabilities Employment Protections Act (DEPA) to employers with 4 or more employees (1/31/15) Prohibits discrimination against and requires reasonable accommodations for sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking victims (12/30/15)Extends harassment protections to interns (1/1/15) Prohibits discrimination against and requires reasonable accommodations for pregnant women (1/1/15) Regulations addressing pregnancy accommodation (11/4/15) Reasonable accommodations continued to be at the forefront in 2015 on the federal, state and local levels.
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With Thompson's Employee Handbook Builder, you can build, access, and update your handbook from any computer with a browser and an internet connection.
It is important for an employer to understand what the legal update is; how it affects employers, HR and the workplace; and how to develop and implement policies and procedures to comply.
Further, other updates may be needed based on internal changes (e.g., benefits, performance management) that are not fueled by legal changes.
Additionally, a number of new laws on the state and local level now provide interns, and in some cases volunteers, with the right to bring claims for discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Based on these changes, an employer should review and revise its employee handbook and equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies, which include policies on discrimination, harassment and retaliation, to incorporate these protections.
The Court ruled that an employer that treats pregnant employees differently must support this difference in treatment with legitimate and nondiscriminatory reasons.