ALERT- New Sex Discrimination Prohibitions for Government Contractors, and a new FMLA Poster for Everyone

New DOL Regulations Prohibiting Sex Discrimination by Federal Contractors

For the first time in forty years, earlier this month, the Department of Labor (DOL) published new regulations for federal contractors concerning sex discrimination intended to reflect the “reality of a modern and diverse workforce.” Effective August 15, 2016, these new regulations align the DOL’s sex discrimination law with the courts’ recent decisions under Title VII and the EEOC’s recent interpretations. Specifically, companies with federal contracts and subcontracts are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, gender identity, transgender status, and sex stereotypes). These companies are further prohibited from sex discrimination against employees enrolled or participating in benefit plans (e.g., medical, hospital, or life insurance plans), and the rule protects both male and female employees involved in care giving activities.

Employers should be aware that this new regulation applies to “any business or organization that: (1) holds even a single federal contract, subcontract, or federally assisted construction contract in excess of $10,000; (2) has federal contracts or subcontracts that, combined, total in excess of $10,000 in any 12-month period; or (3) holds Government bills of lading, serves as a depository of federal funds, or is an issuing or paying agency for U.S. savings bonds and notes in any amount.”

DOL Issues Updated FMLA Poster and Guide for Employers

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently posted an enhanced Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Poster for immediate use by employers. The new Poster (found here) offers information in a more reader-friendly format, with a QR Code that links directly to the DOL website. However, as no additional information was added to the poster, employers may continue to use the prior, 2013 FMLA Poster to satisfy their legal obligation. As a reminder, all covered employers must provide employees with general notice of the FMLA by displaying one of these two Posters (printed in color) “where employees and applicants for employment can see it,” most often in a break or lunch room.

The DOL also published an FMLA Employer Guide in an attempt to simplify employers’ duties under the FMLA. The Wage and Hour Division of the DOL will be holding informational webinars on the Guide soon. Consult the Wage and Hour Division website for updates and webinar dates as they become available. As always, please remember the DOL’s disclaimer that the Guide “is intended as general information only and does not carry the force of legal opinion.”

Contact info: Meredith S. Campbell Chair, Employment and Labor Group, Shulman Rogers [email protected] | T 301.255.0550 | F 301.230.2891