When Congress returns from its April recess, several
significant employment and labor related issues will be addressed. These include legislation prohibiting job discrimination
based on sexual orientation and gender identity, fair pay and paid sick
leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Under current law, Title VII prohibits
employment discrimination on the basis of any protected category. This means that any private employers,
state and local government, employment agencies, labor organizations or
federal government who employs more than 15 employees cannot discriminate
against you regarding almost any employment matter – including hiring,
firing and discipline.
Senate bill 1584 and H.R. 3017,the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, seek to extend the protections already in place for race, religion, gender,
national origin, age and disability to “gender identity.”
The Legislation defines “gender identity” as “gender-related
identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics
of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designation
Other legislation being considered includes the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.
182, H.R. 12) which seeks to amend the Equal Pay Act to create greater
sex discrimination regarding wages. These includenon-retaliation requirements, as well as increasing penalties and providing for compensatory and punitive
damages where violations occur.
Also, H.R. 3047 –
The Balancing Act of 2009 – amending the
Family Medical Leave Act, is expected to be reviewed. Currently, the FMLA allows eligible employees
to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually from their jobs under
certain circumstances. This amendment would expand the types of employees
covered to include some part-time employees, same-sex spouses and tele-commuters.
Further, the amendments would allow for up to 7 days of paid sick as well
as “parental involvement” leave.
These amendments all seek to ensure fairness and improve working conditions
for employees in Georgia and throughout the United States. As
Georgia employment lawyers concerned about justice in the work-place, we will be following the proposed
legislation and how each bill will affect employment rights. If you or
a family member has questions about employment discrimination or the Family
Medical Leave Act, please
contact usfor more information.