EEOC to Employers: Anti-Discrimination Also Laws Protect Domestic Violence Victims

Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released new guidance to help employers avoid discrimination of domestic violence victims.

Entitled “Questions and Answers: The Application of Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act to Applicants or Employees who Experience Domestic or Dating Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking,” the guidance provides examples of employment decisions involving victims that could violate federal labor laws.

For employers and HR managers, three takeaways:

1. Train your decision-makers:

“Employers should train managers to recognize the possibility that dealing with employees and applicants who experience domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking may implicate Title VII or the ADA. A recognition of this fact should help ensure that the employer properly considers appropriate employment action when dealing with these situations.” (Davis Brown)

2. Domestic violence may be more prevalent that you think:

“[The EEOC guidance] shows employers how failing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a domestic violence injury, failing to permit an employee to take leave to treat depression, or permitting co-workers to make derogatory and abusive comments about facial scarring due to a domestic attack all can result in ADA liability for the employer.” (XpertHR)

3. The EEOC is taking a “broad brushstroke” approach to Title VII and ADA protections:

“Many of the situations described by the EEOC, such as those described above, clearly fall under the existing statutory protections of Title VII and the ADA. The publication of this fact sheet seems to signal, however, that the EEOC is poised to extend gender protections to scenarios that may not raise the traditional Title VII or ADA red flags.” (Mintz Levin)

The updates:

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