The Supreme Court makes a decision that protects the rights of members of the LGBTQ community in the workplace, a new lawsuit tries to stop Paycheck Protection Program discrimination, and ANOTHER Form I-9 extension. EBI’s Screening News Weekly Wrap has the details.
The Supreme Court ruled that Title VII, of the landmark Civil rights Act of 1964, also protects gay and transgender workers.
The original wording of the law prohibits discrimination “because of sex.” In the 1960s, the phrase was meant to outlaw pregnancy-related and other types of discrimination affecting women in the workplace.
In a 6-to-3 decision, the nation’s highest court determined the term “sex” in Title VII can also refer to sexual orientation and gender identity. The decision boils down to the fact that it is against the law to treat male and female employees differently.
With this clarification, the court’s decision makes it illegal to fire someone because they are a member of the LGBTQ community.
Small Business Owners Denied PPP
A few weeks ago we brought you a story about ex-offenders being turned down for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans because of their criminal history. Now, a Maryland man is suing the Small Business Administration (SBA) for “picking winners and losers,” which is exactly what the PPP was supposed to avoid. All businesses were to be eligible for the program, even if they would not qualify for traditional SBA loans.
The plaintiff is Altimont Wilks. He owns two businesses, a convenience store and a logistics company. But he also served time on drug and weapons charges. He spent 10 years in federal prison; he was released in June of 2018. While still on parole, he built his businesses. After COVID-19 hit, he was turned down for PPP funds because of the SBA’s provision that funding is not provided to a company if the owners have a criminal record.
Wilks has received honors from his senator and congressman, the Maryland Small Business Development Center, and a host of others, yet he might lose his businesses without some financial help.
Wilks hopes to get the criminal history exclusion thrown out, at the very least, when distributing money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). He is also hoping to finally receive the $31,500 in PPP loan money that he requested.
Form I-9 Rule Change Extended AGAIN
For the second time since March, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced it will extend the flexibility for employers regarding the strict Form I-9 rules.
The provision in question is the requirement to examine all new hire’s documents to determine if they are legally allowed to work in the country. According to federal law, this has to be done in person. At the beginning of the pandemic, ICE relaxed rules allowing employers to review documents virtually for 60 days. That date was pushed back until mid-June. Now, it’s being extended again. The new deadline is now July 18th.
This only applies to employers who are still operating remotely. If you are hiring and doing paperwork in person, you do not get to take advantage of this extension.