Archives: Title VII

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EEOC Reports Increase in Sexual Harassment Claims

This past year has been filled with disturbing reports of alleged sexual assault and sexual harassment by prominent figures in business, politics, and even the judiciary.  Not surprisingly, the number of EEOC sexual harassment filings has increased. In data published in October, the EEOC reported, that in 2018, it filed 50% more lawsuits regarding harassment … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Affirms Grocery Store Employee’s Same-Sex Harassment Title VII Victory

A male employee working in the meat department of his local grocery store prevailed in his Title VII sex discrimination claim alleging an unlawful hostile environment harassment created by his male coworkers and male supervisor. Following a verdict in plaintiff’s favor at the trial court level, the employer appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals … Continue Reading

Ensuring Enforceability of Separation and Release Agreements

The Sixth Circuit recently allowed an Equal Pay Act and Title VII pregnancy discrimination suit to proceed despite the fact that plaintiff signed an agreement releasing all claims and, did not turn back the severance payment given in consideration for the release. In McClellan v. Midwest Machining, Inc., the Court relied upon the United States … Continue Reading

Failure to Hire Due to “Jewish Blood” May Constitute Race Discrimination Under Title VII

A federal magistrate in the Western District of Louisiana has issued what appears to be the first ruling under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that someone who is Jewish may be protected from race discrimination under the statute. In Bonadona v. Louisiana College, the Court ruled that an individual who was … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Finds Employer’s Peer Review Process Does Not Constitute an Adverse Employment Action

The Fifth Circuit recently affirmed the granting of summary judgment to an employer dismissing a Title VII race discrimination claim. In Stroy v. Gibson, an African American primary care physician employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs alleged race discrimination following a peer review committee determination that competent practitioners would have managed the treatment of … Continue Reading

Agreement’s Requirement To Forego Claims Of Future Discriminatory Conduct May Constitute A Materially Adverse Action

In Lester v. O’Rourke, the United States District Court for the North District of Illinois held that Plaintiff is entitled to trial on his Title VII retaliation claim after he signed a Last Chance Agreement (“LCA”) that settled pending Title VII claims and also waived claims that might be asserted if the employer disciplined or … Continue Reading

Pregnancy-Related Restroom Breaks May Be Protected Under ADA, and Not Title VII

Claiming that frequent restroom breaks were required by a pregnancy-related medical condition, a former employee’s claims were allowed to proceed under the Americans with Disability Act, but not Title VII.  In Wadley v. Kiddie Academy International, Inc., plaintiff alleged that the employer discriminated against her because of a pregnancy-related disability by discharging her for leaving … Continue Reading

Epic Impact: Will the Federal Arbitration Act Preempt Prohibitions on Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims?

With the increased attention being paid to the #MeToo movement and the existence of federal law that provides capped remedies and permits mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims,, states and cities are enacting legislation to create greater legal rights for sexual harassment claimants  For example, New York recently enacted legislation that, among other things, prohibits … Continue Reading

Employee Complaints Of Pay Inequity Can Trigger Protected Activity Even With No Mention Of “Sex Discrimination”

In Mumm v. Charter Township of Superior, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that Plaintiff is entitled to a trial where her employer began the termination process on the same day she threatened suit over a difference in pay between her and a male counterpart even though she did not … Continue Reading

Jury May Find Pregnancy Discrimination Where Employer Refused To Assign Work To Avoid Injury To Pregnant Worker

Pregnancy discrimination can arise from an employer’s effort to “protect” a pregnant worker from harm, just as it can from other adverse actions.  In Cameron v. NYC Dept. of Educ., 15-cv-9900 (S.D.N.Y), it was alleged that plaintiff no longer received teaching assignments after her pregnancy became visible and known.  According to plaintiff, the principal told … Continue Reading

That’s What Friends Are For: Federal Court Extends Retaliation Protection to Employee’s Friend

Picture this scenario: Employee A brings a sexual harassment claim against Company. Employee B, who is friendly with Employee A believes the Company has taken adverse actions against her because of her friendship with Employee A, such as transferring her to a different location where she was denied her own office for six months and … Continue Reading

Workstation Relocation Creates Viable Claim for Retaliation

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia recently permitted a Title VII retaliation claim to proceed to trial based on allegations of retaliatory relocation of a worker’s workstation.  In Massaquoi v. District of Columbia, the plaintiff was relocated to a new workstation one month after he complained to his supervisor about disparate … Continue Reading

Refusal By Employer to Remove Letter of Reprimand from Employee’s Personnel File Creates Viable Claim for Retaliation

In Munive v. Fairfax County School Board, the Fourth Circuit recently ruled that an employer’s refusal to rescind a disciplinary notice issued after claimant filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the consequent loss of a promotion, could constitute an adverse action sufficient to create a bona fide retaliation claim.  As such, … Continue Reading

Rescinding Termination May Not Defeat Retaliation Claim

Proving that non-economic damages and perhaps attorney’s fees are driving forces in litigation, constructive discharge clams were asserted and survived summary judgment in a federal district court action in Oregon. The Court’s ruling permitted a plaintiff’s retaliation claim to survive summary judgment even though the employer rescinded the termination and rehired plaintiff within 24 hours … Continue Reading

The Weinstein Effect: Importance of Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Training

It seems as if a report of workplace sexual harassment or sexual battery is published nearly daily. While the media focuses upon notable public figures, workplace harassment can occur at any company.  In many of those reports, it seems that the environment was not conducive to reporting the alleged misconduct or to obtaining an internal … Continue Reading

11th Circuit: Rights of Breastfeeding Employees Protected by Federal Law

On September 7, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit in Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, 16-13003 held that breastfeeding is covered under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”).  In Hicks, the plaintiff was a police officer with the Tuscaloosa Police Department.  Hicks’ doctor recommended that the Plaintiff be considered for alternative duties because the ballistic vest could cause … Continue Reading

Top 5 Things to Know About Workplace Language Rules

The EEOC filed suit recently in the United Stated District Court for the Southern District of Texas alleging that an employer discriminated against non-Hispanic applicants by requiring that they be Spanish-speaking.  See EEOC v. Champion Fiberglass, Inc., Civil Action No. 4:17-cv-2226.  A copy of the Complaint can be viewed here. The EEOC alleges that this … Continue Reading

When Are Law Firm Partners Not Partners?

The issue of who is a “partner” and thus not an employee continues to vex professional firms.   Layers, doctors, dentists and other professionals often consider themselves non-employees, at least until they suffer an adverse workplace decision.  Then, they may choose to describe their situation as employees, not non-employee owners.  The distinction between employee and “partner” … Continue Reading

Timing Is Everything: Federal Judge Permits Suit to Continue Despite Time-Barred Allegations

A federal magistrate in New York has recommended that an employment discrimination case survive a dismissal motion even though some of the claims relied on facts that occurred outside the statute of limitation. Grimes-Jenkins v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., 16-cv-4897.  In Grimes, the Plaintiff alleged claims of discrimination and retaliation under various … Continue Reading

Evidence That Similarly Situated Employees Included Those of the Same Race Dooms Race Discrimination Claim

A federal district court granted an employer’s summary judgment motion in light of evidence that employees allegedly not disciplined for similar infractions as the plaintiff included those of the same race and color as the plaintiff..  The Court ruled that the purported inconsistency in enforcement, if any, was not because of the plaintiff’s race or … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Confirms Prior Salary Can Be a Legitimate Factor Other Than Sex Under Federal Law

Relying on salary history to justify differences in employee pay can be a valid defense under the Equal Pay Act, according to a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Rizo v. Yovino, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7427 (9th Cit. Apr. 27, 2017).  According to the Ninth Circuit, prior … Continue Reading

Former Employee Advances Retaliation Claim Despite Execution of Settlement Agreement

An Ohio federal district court recently denied a former employer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, holding that the plaintiff could proceed with her retaliation claim even though she signed a settlement agreement and general release. Bryant v. Central Community Health Board (Case no. 16cv00620 March 29, 2017).  This case focuses upon what is (and … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Finds Allegations of Gender Stereotyping Sufficient to Permit Claim to Move Forward

In Christiansen v Omnicom Grp., Inc. (Docket No. 16-748), Plaintiff alleged that his supervisor drew a picture of him in tights and a low-cut shirt “prancing around,” and made a poster depicting plaintiff’s head attached to a female body clad in a bikini, which resulted in one co-worker referring to plaintiff as a “submissive sissy.”  … Continue Reading
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