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BUSINESS Unilateral pronouncement of law


Gender Identity On April 20, 2012 the EEOC, sua sponte, raised an issue regarding the scope of Title VII in a claim of workplace discrimination against a fed- eral agency. In Macy v Holder, the EEOC ruled that transgender is included within the meaning of sex for purposes of Title VII.


The decision disregards current Supreme Court authority and, presumptively, signals to employees working in the private sector that the EEOC will accept and prosecute claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.


Rape redefined Te FBI expanded its more than eight-decade- old definition of rape to count men as victims for the first time and to drop the requirement that victims must have physically resisted their attackers. Since 1929, the FBI has defined rape as the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will. Te revised definition covers any gender of victim or attacker and includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giv- ing consent because of the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age. Physical resistance is not required. Te revised FBI definition provides that rape is “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object,” without the consent of the victim. Also constituting rape under the new definition is “oral penetration by a sex organ of another person” without consent.


Te White House said the change was not mo- tivated by the recent Penn State child sex-abuse scandal. Te Justice Department said the new definition mirrors the majority of state rape stat- utes now on the books. Te new definition will increase the number of people counted as rape victims in FBI statistics, but it will not change federal or state laws or alter charges or prosecu- tions.


Congress has approved $592 million to address violence against women, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalk-


ing, under the Violence against Women Act and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. Te administration had requested $777 million to combat violence against women.


OSHA hazard communication On March 26, 2012, OSHA modified its existing Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) to conform to the United Nations’ Globally Har- monized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Te modifications include changes: • to the criteria for classifying chemicals according to their hazard level;


• to the labeling system to ensure consistency in labels and Material Safety Data Sheets; and


• to the training requirements on the new labels and Material Safety Data Sheets.


To reduce the potential for harm from chemi- cal exposures and given the reality of extensive global trade in chemicals, an internationally har- monized approach to classification and labeling was established by the United Nations. Te UN issued its 1st edition of the GHS in 2003.


The GHS has been modified and amended since then and is now ready for worldwide implementation. Employers will be expected to train employees by December 2013 and fully comply with the full rule by 2015.


NLRA concerted activity Acting General Counsel of the Board, Lafe Solomon, has issued three memos to clarify the limits of an employer’s control of social media before violating an employee’s section 7 rights of the NLRA. According to the General Counsel many social media policies inhibit “protected concerted activity” by implementing “overly broad” or “ambiguous” social media policies that could restrict the employees’ ability to engage in “concerted activity”; i.e. group conduct pertain- ing to the employees’ terms and conditions of employment. An employee’s use of social media may reasonably include discussions of terms and


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UAC MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012


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