Thursday, September 10, 2015

Expanding Title VII Protection to LGBTQ Workers

by Nicholas Michael Saleh, Esq.

On July 15, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEOC") ruled in a 3-2 decision that discrimination based on sexual orientation is covered by the prohibition on "sex"-based discrimination in the workplace contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"). See David Baldwin v. Dep't of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133080 (July 15, 2015).

The decision follows three weeks after the Supreme Court's historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015).

Currently, Title VII does not expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but, as foretold by Adair Buckner in her July 27, 2015 post Employers: Gear Up for Changes in Treatment of Same-Sex Spouses After Supreme Court Ruling, big changes in the law may be coming sooner than expected.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Pregnant Employee Who Was Denied Light Duty Accommodation

by Bryan Pieper, Esq.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a pregnant employee who claimed United Parcel Service (UPS) committed sex discrimination in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) when it refused to accommodate her doctor's restriction that she not lift more than 20 pounds. Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 575 U.S. ___ (2015)

The trial court granted summary judgment to UPS, dismissing the lawsuit prior to trial, and the Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal. The Supreme Court reversed that decision and sent the case back to the trial court, stating that the plaintiff was entitled to have her case decided at trial.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Should Employers Ever Ask About Job Applicants' Criminal History?

by Carolyn Pratt, Esq.

The use of criminal background checks in hiring decisions has been one of the hottest employment law topics for several years running, so now is the perfect time to ask yourself:

Do I know what the law is in this area?

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

EEOC Issues Updated Enforcement Guideline Regarding Pregnancy Discrimination

by Grissel Seijo, Esq.

On July 14, 2014, the EEOC issued an updated Enforcement Guideline ("Guideline") on Pregnancy Discrimination. This is the first significant update since 1983.

The Guideline emphasizes the overlaps of law that protect pregnant and recently pregnant women. Specifically, the Guideline discusses the protections afforded pregnant employees by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1963 ("Title VII"), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act ("PDA"), the American With Disabilities Act, as amended ("ADA") and Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA").

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Supreme Court Gives Employers Avenue to Defend Ever Increasing Retaliation Claims

by Tanya Reed, Esq.

Last year alone 37,836 Charges of Discrimination were filed with the EEOC alleging unlawful retaliation under Title VII. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court acknowledged this dramatic increase in retaliation claims and gave employers a reason to exhale, by establishing a strict standard of causation that employees must meet in order to state a claim of unlawful retaliation.

In Univ. of Tex. Southwestern Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, the plaintiff, Dr. Nassar, was a physician of Middle Eastern descent who was on the staff of a hospital and a member of the affiliated university's faculty. Dr. Nassar began negotiations to resign from his faculty position after he determined that his indirect supervisor was unfairly criticizing his billing practices and productivity because she was allegedly prejudiced against his religion and ethnic heritage.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Victory for Employers: The Supreme Court Limits Employer Liability in Harassment Cases

by Tanya M. Reed, Esq.

In a close 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court just gave employers a reason to celebrate by limiting employer strict liability in harassment cases.

In Vance v. Ball State University, Maetta Vance ("Ms. Vance"), an African-American woman, sued her employer and alleged she was subjected to an unlawful harassment and a racially hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. The parties disputed whether the alleged harasser was a "supervisor" under the law. This is an important distinction because under Title VII an employer's liability for workplace harassment depends on the harasser's status as a "co-worker" or "supervisor."

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Redefining Racial Discrimination

By Brooke Nixon, Esq.

It’s impossible to control every employee for every minute of every day. Thankfully the law generally veers far away from imposing such a widespread burden on employers or managers. However, there is a heightened burden on employers to react quickly and effectively to resolve certain issues. For instance, the law requires employers to take particular action in response to allegations of employee-on-employee racial discrimination or harassment.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Minimizing Your Company’s E-Liability

By Christopher B. Snow, Esq.

Workplace e-liability (i.e., employer legal liability resulting from employee intentional or negligent misuse of the internet, social networking and blogging sites (Web 2.0), e-mail, texting, instant messaging, and other electronic communication media) has increased exponentially over the last few years (Young and Case).

Some cases have resulted in significant consequences such as Merck’s $6.8 billion loss in stock value.

The sheer number of electronic communications in the workplace each day makes it nearly impossible to entirely eliminate the risk of e-liability, so let’s approach this from a risk-management perspective. What are the most common types of e-pitfalls? What should an electronic communications policy include?

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