Outlook 2018: Will agency shift priorities on gay rights?

    By: Kelsey Vuillemot on Jan 08, 2018

    Jacquie Lee writes, "The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission heads into 2018 poised for a potentially dramatic shift in priorities, business and employee advocates tell Bloomberg Law.

    Among 2017’s highlights were the agency’s 16 percent reduction of its case backlog, new harassment prevention training, and the launching of a public portal for online charge inquiries. As Victoria Lipnic (R) prepares to step down as the commission’s acting chair, employment attorneys have questions about the nominees for the agency’s open slots.

    Nominees Janet Dhillon and Daniel Gade will create a Republican majority on the commission for the first time in nine years if they win Senate approval. That vote hasn’t been scheduled, but they’re expected to join the agency.

    Until then, practitioners remain unsure about a variety of the agency’s policy issues. High on the list of concerns is whether the agency will continue to view Title VII as covering sexual orientation and gender identity. The EEOC’s current position is that it does, but the Department of Justice under the current administration has backed away from that view.Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act doesn’t use the terms sexual orientation or gender identity on its list of protected classes, but the commission interprets the ban on sex discrimination as including them.

    Neither Dhillon nor Gade committed to upholding the EEOC’s current position during their Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing in September. Both said it was the court’s job to sort that out. The U.S. Supreme Court declined Dec. 11 to hear Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, which could have clarified the issue. Whether the justices will hear similar, potentially clarifying cases isn’t known."

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    Released: January 8, 2018, 9:46 am
    Keywords: NAWL News


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