Legal Blog

New EEOC General Counsel, 5th Circuit Ruling on Criminal Record Guidance, NJ Salary History Ban, and More

Earlier this month, the Senate confirmed Sharon Fast Gustafson as the new General Counsel for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The position is an important one, as the General Counsel for the EEOC in large part determines litigation strategies and initiatives on behalf of the agency. Ms. Gustafson is a solo practitioner who has represented both employers and employees.

In other EEOC news, the agency denied a request by a Los Angeles-based employer for an extension of time to respond to an EEOC charge. Although the EEOC has granted such extensions routinely, a new mandate from the administration to move cases along quickly means extensions in the future may only be granted under extraordinary circumstances. It is unclear whether this mandate is a nationwide initiative or limited to the Los Angeles district of the EEOC.

In Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down Obama administration-era EEOC guidance limiting employers’ use of criminal background checks. The decision does not invalidate the so-called “ban the box” statutes in many state and local jurisdictions preventing employers from requesting information about an applicant’s prior conviction.

As of last month, New Jersey employers are now prohibited from using an applicant’s salary history as a factor in a hiring decision. The state is one of many to enact such a law.

Finally, the Eighth Circuit recently joined many other Circuits declaring that regular attendance can indeed be an essential function of the job which may appropriately affect the discipline and leave issues under the FMLA and ADA.

Questions about labor and employment law or other topics from this our last Telebrief?

Contact Howard Kurman at or 410-209-6417.

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The Telebriefs® are 30-minute, information-packed phone calls geared towards executives, HR directors, supervisors, managers, and business owners. Join Howard K. Kurman, as he discusses employment law developments occurring over the past two weeks that will most significantly impact employers nationwide. These twice-monthly phone calls are an easy way to stay current and compliant with the latest employment law developments that will significantly affect you and your company. The goal is to provide information and insights to help executives stay current with the latest workplace law developments and in front of trends, to enable proactive policy-making and management. Our guarantee: You will learn something useful on every call!

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Howard Kurman Casual-Small | 410-209-6417

Howard K. Kurman is an employment attorney. Mr. Kurman regularly counsels clients on all aspects of proactive employment/labor issues. He represents employers ranging in size from as small as 20 employees to those employers with geographically disparate locations consisting of over 4,000 employees. Mr. Kurman assures, through regular contact with his clients, that they promulgate and maintain the most effective employment policies that will, to the extent possible, minimize their legal exposure in today’s litigious workplace. Mr. Kurman offers advice on employee handbooks, employment agreements, and covenants not to compete as well as confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Previously, Mr. Kurman was the chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group.





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