Today’s News & Commentary — May 5, 2016

Earlier this week, the EEOC issued a fact sheet to employers nationwide, stating they must allow transgender employees access to the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, Politico reports.  The fact sheet explains denying an employee equal access to a “common restroom corresponding to the employee’s gender identity” constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The US services sector expanded last month, according to Reuters, but a report published yesterday shows private employers hired the fewest number of workers in three years in April.  Construction firms reported “severe” shortages of unskilled workers.  The services sector accounts for more than two-thirds of the US economy; economists suggest these numbers point to a “solid growth rebound” of the economy in the second quarter.

Yesterday, the EEOC announced the owners and operators of Moonshine Whiskey Bar in Tempe, Arizona, will pay $66,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.  According to JDSupra, the plaintiff, a bartender, alleged she was discharged because she was pregnant.  During the hearing, EEOC provided an audiotape recording of one of the owners, explaining allowing a pregnant woman to bartend would offend customers.

According to Politico, lawmakers in Congress have quietly begun efforts to expand visas for low-skilled foreign workers.  Republicans and Democrats from states that rely on immigrant labor are lobbying members of the Appropriations Committee to include language in this year’s funding bills to keep last year’s omnibus measure quadrupling the number of low-skilled worker visas.  The AFL-CIO is lobbying strongly against the move.