Category Archives: Race discrimination

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Unwillingness to complete employment application does not support claim of discriminatory hiring.

The 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld lower court’s summary judgment decision, finding that an individual who refused to complete an application without some guarantee that a particular individual would not participate in the hiring process could not support a claim of race discrimination. Murray v. Beverage Distribution Center, 3d Cir., No. 11-1938, … Continue Reading

One federal appellate court outlines parameters for “hostile work environment” claim.

One of the issues most frequently litigated in employment cases is whether the remarks and actions of an employer rise to the level of the “hostile work environment” needed to support a claim of discrimination. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed that issue, and provided at least some clarity to the definition, … Continue Reading

EEOC updates Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued an updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII. That Guidance, which takes effect immediately, is a compilation of the past policy documents and prior court decisions regarding the EEOC’s position that employers’ reliance on arrest and conviction … Continue Reading

Use of “English-only” policies is subject of disagreement between governmental agencies.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) has posted a report which recommends that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) modify its position that the use of “English-only” policies is a presumptive violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  See EEOC’s guideline at 29 C.F.R. § 1606.7 (2010). This report sets up an … Continue Reading

Fifteen minutes may be adequate time to review employment separation agreement.

The 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that 15 minutes was a sufficient amount of time for the plaintiff, a public school teacher, to review a separation agreement and release negotiated in connection with her resignation. Gregory v. Derry Twp. Sch. Dist., 2011 WL 944424 (3d Cir., March 21, 2011) Rhauni Gregory, a … Continue Reading

Employer’s continuing efforts to resolve issues complained of by employee supports dismissal of discrimination complaint.

  In an unpublished opinion, the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss an employee’s claims of discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation, based largely upon the “extraordinary lengths” to which the employer went to investigate the issues complained of by the employee. Wood v. University of Pittsburgh, 3d … Continue Reading

Employer’s unwritten policy regarding criminal background checks sufficient to overcome summary judgment.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that a company’s unwritten policy against hiring applicants with theft-related convictions was sufficient basis to exclude a minority applicant from a position with the company. EEOC v. Con-Way Freight, Inc., 8th Circ., No. 09-2926/2930, Sept. 22, 2010. Roberta Hollins, an African-American female, was interviewed by Kenneth … Continue Reading

Physician’s constructive discharge claim required only that a protected characteristic played a “motivating part” in hospital-employer’s conduct.

It is generally understood that employees can bring claims for hostile environment, wrongful termination, or even “constructive discharge” – where an employee claims that an employer made working conditions so intolerable that a reasonable employee would feel compelled to resign. What is less clearly understood is the extent of the economic damages for which a … Continue Reading

Section 1981 race discrimination claim cannot survive without a contractual interest as its basis.

Under certain circumstances, 42 U.S.C. §1981 (Section 1981) creates a federal cause of action for individuals claiming intentional racial discrimination. To support such a claim, a plaintiff must allege that he is a member of a racial minority, and that he was discriminated against within a particular group of activities set forth in the statute. … Continue Reading

Documentation of employee’s “dereliction of duty” precludes liability on claim of discrimination.

In an unpublished opinion, the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reminded employers of the importance of acting consistently with written policies, and of documenting that action. Coleman v. Blockbuster, Inc., 3d Circ., No. 08-4056, November 17, 2009. In that case, the Court upheld summary judgment in favor of an employer on the basis … Continue Reading

Independent contractor may bring Section 1981 race discrimination claim.

Courts typically have dismissed discrimination claims under Title VII if those claims were made by an independent contractor, rather than by an “employee” of the company. However, 42 U.S.C. §1981 (“Section 1981”), which prohibits racial discrimination in the formation of contracts, states that “all persons” shall have the same right “to make and enforce contracts … Continue Reading

Company’s prompt reaction to noose precludes liability for racial discrimination.

When an individual claims to have been racially harassed by co-workers, he or she must show that the employer was negligent either in discovering or remedying the harassment. An employer can avoid liability for co-worker harassment if it takes prompt and appropriate remedial action that is likely to prevent the harassment from recurring. Recently, the … Continue Reading
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