EEOC Updates Guidance on Discrimination, Severance Agreements, and More


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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has already been making changes in 2021 to ICHRA contributions, its conciliation process, severance agreement rules, and religious anti-discrimination compliance. The following highlights key points.

JAN 7, 2021 | ICHRA Contributions Based on Age. Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRA) are a benefit in which an employer contributes money into an account for the employee, which the employee then uses to purchase health insurance on their own. An opinion letter stated that employers who choose to increase the amount deposited into an older employee’s ICHRA account in order to offset age-based increases to their health plan costs do not violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).

JAN 8, 2021 | New Webpage on Systemic Enforcement. The EEOC posted its new Systemic Enforcement at the EEOC webpage, explaining administrative and litigation tools that will be used to pursue systemic discriminatory practices. The new webpage is intended to provide transparency about how the EEOC will approach systemic discrimination efforts, including definitions of systemic discrimination, the details to initiate and conduct a case, and more.

JAN 14, 2021 | EEOC Conciliation Procedures Revised. Part of the EEOC’s mandate is to encourage conciliation so that employees and employers may swiftly resolve their differences. To encourage this practice, the EEOC amended its conciliation procedures by requiring that it provide certain information – the essential facts and the law supporting the claim, findings, and demands – to increase the effectiveness of its efforts to achieve cooperation and voluntary compliance.

JAN 14, 2021 | OWBPA Severance Disclosure Clarification. When employers subject to the ADEA offer severance to two or more employees, the Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) requires an age-based disclosure be attached to the severance agreement. The EEOC recently clarified that non-U.S. citizen employees working for a U.S. employer outside the United States are not required to be included in the OWBPA disclosure because they do not qualify as “employees” for purposes of ADEA protections.

JAN 15, 2021 | Revised Religious Discrimination Guidelines. The EEOC revised its Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination describing ways Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals from religious discrimination in the context of reasonable accommodations and harassment in the workplace, and the legal protections available to religious employers.

Action Items

  1. Review ICHRA contributions for compliance.
  2. Update severance agreement procedures where applicable.
  3. Evaluate anti-discrimination practices for compliance.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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