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SHRM Newsletter: Interesting Info on Utah Discrimination Charge Stats
Posted on Apr. 20, 2016

This is Utah SHRM Legal-mail no. 2016-8 prepared for Salt Lake SHRM, the Human Resources Association of Central Utah (HRACU), the Northern Utah Human Resources Association (NUHRA), the Color Country Human Resources Association (CCHRA), the Bridgerland Society for Human Resource Management and Utah at-large members of the national Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

CONTENTS:

-  INTERESTING INFO ON UTAH DISCRIMINATION CHARGE STATS

-  EEOC SAYS STATE LAW WILL NOT EXCUSE FEDERAL LAW VIOLATIONS

-  JULY 2016 RELEASE DATE FOR NEW OVERTIME PAY REGULATIONS

-  NEWS REPORTS SAY GENDER WAGE GAP BIG IN UTAH

-  EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS BRIEFS

INTERESTING INFO ON UTAH DISCRIMINATION CHARGE STATS: The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) annually updates a statistical table showing the total number of charges filed and in which category, see:  https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/2-11-16.cfm and see

https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/charges.cfm. The EEOC also updates, from time-to-time, similar tables showing charges filed from each state. The Utah table, including data from the years 2009 through 2014, shows some interesting trends. The total number of charges tripled over that five year period. There was a fairly recent huge increase in the number of charges claiming national origin bias. Such claims were the third most frequently filed with the EEOC from Utah behind retaliation and disability bias claims, and just ahead of the fourth most frequent type of charge filed, which is sex bias. The stats showed very few filed claims alleging color bias, genetic discrimination or Equal Pay Act violations. These stats can help employers analyze and manage the risk of employment discrimination claims in their workplaces.

EEOC SAYS STATE LAW WILL NOT EXCUSE FEDERAL LAW VIOLATIONS: A number of news reports have explained the push in some states (e.g. North Carolina) to adopt defenses, such as religious views, for employers and businesses from alleged discriminatory acts. Such laws may provide some shelter for businesses against claims based on state law, but they may not be much help defending federal discrimination claims. EEOC Chai Feldblum confirmed this point in a recent news interview. During the interview, Commissioner Feldblum noted that federal protections for transgender individuals apply regardless of any state or local law, stating “Contrary state or local laws provide no defense to an employer that violates Title VII.”

JULY 2016 RELEASE DATE FOR NEW OVERTIME PAY REGULATIONS: A United States Department of Labor (DOL) official was recently quoted as saying that the new final DOL regulations increasing the salary threshold for overtime pay exemptions will be released in July of 2016. The DOL official also said the new regulations will take effect sixty (60) days later, i.e. likely sometime in August or September of 2016 (depending on the exact release date in July).

NEWS REPORTS SAY GENDER WAGE GAP BIG IN UTAH: A recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune indicates that Utah has the nation’s second largest gender wage gap, with only Louisiana having a larger gap, see http://www.sltrib.com/home/3738626-155/utah-has-second-widest-wage-gap-between. The study, based on United States Census Bureau estimates, was released by a group called the National Women’s Law Center based in Washington, D.C. The study showed that Utah women earn 67 cents for every dollar earned by men. This could pose a litigation risk for Utah employers. According to the Equal Pay Act, gender pay gaps can lead to litigation when they occur regarding equal work, i.e. on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex. For more information on the Equal Pay Act, see: https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/epa.cfm.

EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS BRIEFS: Here are two brief but interesting employment law news items. The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) division of the Department of Homeland Security has announced that employers can and should continue to use the current version of the I-9 form even though the form says it expired on March 31, 2016. USCIS is working on the release of a new form. Broadway needs HR help! The popular musical show “Hamilton” playing in New York recently got a lot of bad employment law-related publicity when it placed a casting call seeking “non-white men and women.” Producers recently agreed to amend the casting call to indicate that persons of all races and ethnicities were invited to audition.

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Author

mikeAttorney Michael
Patrick O'Brien

Mike O’Brien is an experienced and accomplished employment attorney, media lawyer and courtroom litigator.  He is active in SHRM and has received the highest possible reviews from rating services like Martindale - Hubbell (AV rating), Chambers USA, Utah Business Legal Elite, Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who Legal USA, and SuperLawyers.  HR Executive Online has named him as one of America’s most powerful 100 employment lawyers, but keep in mind, this does not mean he is good at moving heavy furniture.

Awards and Recognition

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OBrien Best

Chambers 2011 Attorney

Super Lawyers
Michael Patrick O'Brien
 

Best Lawyers In America, “Salt Lake City Best Lawyers Employment Law Lawyer Of The Year,” 2011-2012

Best Lawyers In America, First Amendment Law, Labor And Employment Law, 2005-2012

Chambers USA, Labor & Employment, 2003-2011

Employment Lawyer Of The Year, Utah State Bar, 2001

Human Resources Executive, Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Lawyers In America, 2010

Mountain States Super Lawyers, 2007-2012

Utah Business Magazine, Legal Elite, Labor And Employment, 2006-2012