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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

Washington Law Limits Employer’s Right to Plaintiff’s Medical Records in Discrimination Cases

Effective June 7, 2018, employers defending claims brought under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination are constricted in their ability to obtain a plaintiff’s medical records, and are entitled to do so only if the plaintiff: (1) alleges a specific diagnosable physical or psychiatric injury as a proximate result of the defendant’s alleged conduct; (2) relies on … Continue Reading

Neutral Hiring Practices Can Still Result in a Valid Discrimination Claim

Under the theory of “disparate impact,” even facially neutral policies can result in claims of discrimination when a “protected group” suffers a statistical disadvantage vis a vis another group (i.e., the rule of thumb is a twenty-percent disadvantage).  For example, in Andreana v. Virginia Beach City of Public Schools, the United States District Court of … Continue Reading

Unplug: Will Employees Soon Have The “Right to Disconnect?”

If a proposed law is enacted by the New York City Council, employers would be prohibited from requiring employees to check and respond to email or other electronic communications during non-work hours. The bill allows for exceptions in “cases of emergency” and would require employers to publish a written policy governing work-related communications during non-work … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines to Review Seventh Circuit Case Finding Extended Leave of Absence Is Not a Reasonable Accommodation

The United States Supreme Court declined to review a decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that held a two-to-three month leave of absence following the exhaustion of leave under the Family and Medical Leave was not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc.  For more information on the … Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Sexual Orientation Discrimination Covered by Title VII

In a divided en banc opinion, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that sexual orientation discrimination is covered by Title VII’s ban on gender discrimination.   Deepening a Circuit split within the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the Second Circuit adopted the reasoning of the Seventh Circuit in Hively v. Ivy Tech Cmty. College of Ind., … Continue Reading

NLRB Vacates Last Year’s Joint Employer Standard

In an unusual reversal, the NLRB today vacated its 2017 decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd., that set a new standard for determining joint employer liability.  The Board decision arose due to an inspector general report that faulted board member William Emanuel for improperly participating in the Hy-Brand case.  For a more in depth discussion … Continue Reading

Litigations Filed By EEOC Increased In FY 2017 Despite Reduction In Number of Charges Filed

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR), the EEOC filed more than double the number of discrimination lawsuits against employers in FY 2017 than in F^2016. The Agency filed 184 lawsuits in FY 2017 as compared to only 86 in FY 2016.  Thirty of these 184 cases involved … Continue Reading

Tips For Conducting Year-End Performance Evaluations

Holiday parties aren’t the only thing your employees are buzzing about this time of year – ‘tis the season for year-end performance evaluations! Performance evaluations, when used properly, are a powerful tool for constructive feedback and support for favorable and adverse personnel actions. Below are the tips employers should keep in mind when completing performance … Continue Reading

Congressional Bill: Joint Employer Liability May Become More Limited

The EPL industry rightfully has been concerned about the NLRB’s and courts’ expansion of liability from the seeming employer to those with relationships to that entity.  Franchisors increasingly were exposed to liability for franchisees’ alleged misconduct and contractors were being served with lawsuits alleging discrimination by subcontractors or staffing agencies.  This expansionist trend may be … Continue Reading

U.S. Court of Appeals Decision Highlights Importance of Carefully Drafting Release Agreements

In Zuber v. Boscov’s, the Third Circuit narrowly interpreted a release agreement to permit the plaintiff to pursue a claim under the FMLA for interference and wrongful termination.  The employer moved to dismiss on the basis that his claims were barred by a previously-entered Compromise and Release Agreement (“C&R”) settling his workers’ compensation claim.  The C&R … Continue Reading

Federal Court: Employer’s Letter to Employees During Pending EEOC Investigation May Constitute Unlawful Retaliation

In EEOC v. Day & Zimmermann NPS, Inc., a federal court in Connecticut found that an employer that sent a letter to employees informing them they might be contacted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) may be liable for unlawful retaliation.  This unlikely scenario came about after the EEOC requested the last known telephone … Continue Reading

Nurse’s Disability Discrimination Claims May Proceed to Trial, New Jersey Supreme Court Rules

A registered nurse employed by a New Jersey health care system for approximately 10 years may proceed to a jury trial with her disability and perceived disability claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the Supreme Court of New Jersey has ruled. Grande v. Saint Clare’s Health Sys., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 746 (July 12, … Continue Reading

Dentist’s Remarks To Pregnant Employee Propel Her Case Forward

In Sims v. America’s Family Dental, LLP, Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims under Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was denied by a federal district court.  Plaintiff, a registered dental assistant, alleged that she was demoted and subsequently terminated due to her pregnancy.  Defendant’s motion was denied, in part, because Plaintiff alleged that … Continue Reading

Appeals Court First To Hold Sexual Orientation Discrimination Covered By Title VII

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held this week that sexual orientation discrimination is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  The federal appellate court is the first to do so.  Just last week, we reported that the Eleventh Circuit held to the contrary.  For a complete analysis of the Seventh Circuit’s decision, … Continue Reading

Failure to Accommodate Religious Belief Claim to Move Forward

Religious discrimination claims by a delivery driver for a catering company who was terminated the day after being sent home for wearing a religious head covering survived summary judgment due to the temporal proximity between the events.  In EEOC v. Triangle Catering, LLC, the Western District of North Carolina held that the temporal proximity between … Continue Reading

Employer Commits Willful Violation of Fair Credit Reporting Act By Including Waiver In Statutorily Mandated Disclosure

In Syed v. M-I, LLC, the Ninth Circuit held that including waiver of potential claims language in the same document as the statutorily required Fair Credit and Reporting Act disclosure was a violation of FCRA.  In sum, the Court ruled that the FCRA rights notice cannot be combined with any other notice or agreement.  It … Continue Reading

Age Discrimination Claims Valid When Both Candidates Over 40

In Irvin v. Ascension Parish School Board, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana denied Defendant’s motion for summary dismissal of a claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”).  In Irvin, Plaintiff alleged that her employer failed to promote her on account of her age (58) and instead selected … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Permits Emotional Distress Damages for FLSA Retaliation Claim

Employees asserting a claim for retaliation under the FLSA are entitled to seek emotional distress damages, according to a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In Pineda v. JTCH Apartment, LLC, Plaintiff claimed that he was retaliated against by his former employer after he filed a lawsuit seeking … Continue Reading

Evidence That Younger Employees Violated Company Policy Without Consequences Results in Denial of Summary Judgment

In light of evidence that younger employees committed similar infractions as the plaintiff, and did not suffer significant disciplinary action, an Illinois federal district court denied an employer’s summary judgment motion. The Court ruled that evidence of disparate treatment plus age-based comments by management was sufficient to create a fact issue as to whether the … Continue Reading
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