Over the past few years, employers encountered a spate of religious accommodations requests from employees seeking religious exemptions from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Last week, plaintiffs filed a series of new lawsuits against a national drugstore chain, accusing it of failing to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees who objected to prescribing contraceptives and abortifacient drugs. This week, the Supreme Court has agreed to reexamine Title VII’s undue hardship standard, which may soon require more than a de minimis cost to the employer.
With so much going on with religious discrimination, the timing is perfect for welcoming EEOC Commissioner Andrea Lucas as today’s guest on The Employer Handbook Zoom Office Happy Hour at Noon ET.
The #employmentlaw and #religiousfreedom hashtags in her LinkedIn bio lead me to believe that there may be no one better than Commissioner Lucas, a former management-side employment lawyer, to expound upon these issues and how they may impact businesses.
Beyond religious discrimination, Ms. Lucas will also discuss the EEOC’s proposed enforcement priorities for 2023 and beyond, which include the following:
- Protecting more vulnerable workers from discrimination, such as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, individuals with arrest or conviction records, LGBTQI+ individuals, temporary workers, older workers, individuals employed in low-wage jobs, and persons with limited literacy or English proficiency;
- Reversing employer use of artificial intelligence to target job advertisements, recruit applicants, or make or assist in hiring decisions where such systems intentionally exclude or adversely impact protected groups;
- Protecting individuals affected by a pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions and pregnancy-related disabilities, and enforcing the provisions of the newly enacted Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for those affected by a pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions
- Addressing discrimination influenced by or arising as backlash in response to COVID-19 and other local, national, or global events; and
- Preserving access to the legal system by focusing on overly broad waivers, releases, non-disclosure agreements, or non-disparagement agreements.
So, if any of this might scratch your HR-compliance-nerd itches, I invite you to click here to register for the Zoom — it’s free, bring plenty of questions (to which we may respond, and certainly without providing any legal advice), and log in just before Noon ET on Friday, January 20, 2023, at Noon ET for The Employer Handbook Zoom Office Happy Hour.