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Appearance Discrimination Issues/CROWN Act and Unconscious Bias
Appearance-based discrimination occurs when someone is treated differently based on how they look. Although there is no federal law that prohibits “appearance discrimination” in employment, claims involving such issues are typically brought in the context of prohibited race, sex, or disability discrimination allegations. While there was a case several years ago that garnered a good deal of media attention involving a female bank employee who claimed she was told she was “too sexy” for her position, it is more common to encounter claims by women (and men) that they were treated less favorably than a coworker whom the boss found attractive. Obese workers have alleged that they were perceived as disabled because of their weight and employees who wear certain garments and/or jewelry as part of their religion have also filed claims of discrimination. Meanwhile, hairstyles and types are now on the cutting edge of fair employment law compliance.

For years, savvy employers recognized that there may be a need to accommodate certain religious beliefs pertaining to hairstyles, but a growing number of jurisdictions have passed or are considering laws that prohibit race-based hair discrimination such as the CROWN Act (“Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”) which is focused on ending the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including braids, locs, twists or bantu knots.

Participants in this webinar will learn:

• How the EEOC and other fair employment agencies evaluate appearance discrimination claims
• What proactive employers can and should do to avoid such claims
• Which states and local jurisdiction have passed or will likely soon pass CROWN Act laws
• How employers can create policies and procedures that address appearance discrimination
• Best practices for avoiding appearance discrimination claims

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Jul 20, 2022 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Aaron R. Gelb
Partner Labor • Employment and OSHA • Workplace Safety Practice Groups, Conn Maciel Carey LLP
Aaron R. Gelb is the partner in charge of Conn Maciel Carey’s Chicago office and leads the firm’s Midwest OSHA practice, representing employers during inspections, investigations, and enforcement actions involving fed OSHA and state OSH programs. In addition to managing the full range of litigation against OSHA, Aaron reviews safety policies and procedures, manages audit programs, and helps develop and present training on a variety of topics. Aaron serves as the primary workplace safety and health education provider to the Illinois Manufacturers Association and is a frequent speaker on such matters throughout the United States. Aaron also has extensive experience litigating equal employment opportunity matters in federal and state courts, having tried numerous cases to verdict and defended employers before the EEOC as well as fair employment agencies nationwide.
Ashley D. Mitchell
Associate, Conn Maciel Carey LLP
Ashley D. Mitchell is an Associate in the Chicago office of Conn Maciel Carey LLP supporting both the OSHA and Labor and Employment practice groups. Ms. Mitchell represents and advises clients in a broad range of employment issues involving the employer-employee relationship including wage and hour disputes, Title VII discrimination claims, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She also provides advice and guidance on responding to workplace safety complaints and litigating contests of OSHA citations.