The haze of Springfield’s recent legislative session has cleared, and Illinois has become the latest state poised to legalize marijuana. Like many other businesses throughout the country, Illinois employers will be faced with the complexity of enforcing their drug and substance abuse policies while their employees have the legal right to use marijuana outside of the workplace.
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Just a few days ago Alex Galvan posted on our blog about the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) mission to expand Title VII’s protections to LGBT employees. As if on cue, the EEOC has now taken another next step towards completing its mission.  Last week, in a 3-2 decision, the EEOC held that Title VII prohibits employers from treating an applicant or employee differently on the basis of their sexual orientation because “sexual orientation is inseparable from an inescapably linked to sex” and as a result “[s]exual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination.” 
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On April 2, 2015, following the controversy stemming from the recent signing of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (IRFRA), Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law an amendment to the IRFRA. The amendment states that the Act may not be used to discriminate in the providing of services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service. The IRFRA and its amendment go into effect on July 1, 2015.

For the first time in Indiana, the amended IRFRA will provide explicit protection to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Although several municipalities (such as Indianapolis) have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Indiana Civil Rights Law does not currently provide this protection. The amendment to the IRFRA could signal the coming of broader protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Indiana.
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The U.S. Supreme Court’s March 25, 2015 decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. brings some clarity to the issue of whether and when employers are required to provide work-related accommodations to pregnant employees.

As employers well know, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against an employee with respect to terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of, among other characteristics, the employee’s sex. In 1978, Congress enacted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which clarified that unlawful sex discrimination includes discrimination “because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k). The Pregnancy Discrimination Act further provides that “women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes… as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work…” Id. In Young, the Supreme Court addressed the question of whether this latter provision requires an employer to provide light-duty assignments as an accommodation to pregnant employees (who have been placed on medical restrictions as a result of their pregnancy), if the employer provides light duty assignments as an accommodation to some, but not all, other employees.
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On July 14, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a detailed Enforcement Guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues (the Guidance). The Guidance addresses an employer’s obligations relating to pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which amended Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws. The text of the Guidance is available here. Portions of the Guidance are summarized below.
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