Category Archives: Title VII

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Title IX may provide legal basis for sexual harassment claims.

Cloud 9The 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may have expanded the mechanisms available for individuals who plan to bring claims of sexual harassment or discrimination against an employer that conducts educational programs or activities, specifically including private teaching hospitals. Recently, the Third Circuit found that a private teaching hospital could be held liable – under … Continue Reading

Title VII’s pre-requisite that employee meet employer’s legitimate expectations may not be set in stone.

deep-snow-mailbox-1In an unpublished decision, one federal appellate court has penned an opinion that goes to the heart of how discrimination cases are analyzed under Title VII by re-interpreting the prima facie case requirements set by the U.S. Supreme Court in the McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green case in 1973. Elements of a prima facie case under … Continue Reading

EEOC report suggests “rebooting” workplace harassment prevention efforts.

sexual-harasment-artOn June 20, 2016, the EEOC published the Report of its “Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.” (Check out an executive summary of the Report here.) That Task Force, formed in January 2015, also impaneled a group of outside experts to examine the causes, effects, and prevention of workplace harassment. While … Continue Reading

Non-employee’s racial bias may lead to liability for employer.

lungsMost – if not all – employers are aware that both federal and state laws preclude employment discrimination based upon the race or national origin of an employee, and know that illegal activity can include both discriminatory actions and biased statements. Most employers, however, are unaware that certain of those laws also preclude discrimination by … Continue Reading

OFCCP positions itself as primary agency for investigation of complaints based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Rainbow handsIn its own words, the purpose of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is to: “enforce, for the benefit of job seekers and wage earners, the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the Federal government.” The OFCCP is part of the Department of … Continue Reading

Supervisor’s alleged remark regarding sick child precludes dismissal of ADA associational claim.

To establish a claim of “associational discrimination” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a plaintiff must demonstrate that she was discriminated against by her employer because of her relationship with a disabled person. To substantiate a claim of associational discrimination under the ADA, an employee must establish each of the following key elements of … Continue Reading

Evidence of “color bias” may lead to jury trial under Title VII.

Colors in words of different colorsTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination against an individual because of that person’s “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” While courts routinely address claims of race discrimination, claims of discrimination on the basis of color alone are far less frequently reviewed. Recently, in a case of first impression, the 5th … Continue Reading

Restriction of job responsibilities – even without diminished salary or benefits – may constitute an “adverse action” under Title VII.

photo-of-a-fresh-crime-sceneTitle VII makes it unlawful for an employer to fail to hire or to discharge an individual or otherwise to discriminate against such individual “with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment” because of a protected characteristic, including race. To establish a claim of discrimination under Title VII, an individual must first … Continue Reading

Pregnant employee terminated because of upcoming lifting restrictions may have claim for “anticipatory discharge.”

boss firing pregnant empoyeeOne federal court – the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois – recently reviewed a case in which a pregnant employee was terminated after informing her employer that she would be subject to a lifting restriction beginning at the 20th week of her pregnancy. Although the employee was only in her 15th … Continue Reading

Employee’s failure to apply for position dooms discriminatory hiring claim.

pirate applicaitonTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment because of certain protected characteristics, including gender. In order to support a claim under Title VII, an individual must point to an “adverse employment action” that was taken again … Continue Reading

Congratulations! It’s a . . . pregnancy discrimination guidance.

What-to-Write-in-a-Baby-Shower-CardThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued its first comprehensive update of a 1983 Compliance Manual chapter on the subject of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and related issues. The Guidance, which was not submitted for public comment prior to its issuance, also discusses the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as … Continue Reading

Employment Law Carnival – The A to Z List

Plate 2Law Partners Maria Danaher, Editor of Employment Law Matters, and Mary Wright, Guest Blogger (both of Ogletree Deakins), offer up this month’s Employment Law Carnival. Here is our A to Z list of legal pickings from around the ‘Net.   is for the ADA Eric B. Meyer, The Employer Handbook, The Firefighter Afraid of Fighting … Continue Reading

EEOC reacts to rise in number of religious discrimination charges filed.

Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) underscored its attention to religious discrimination claims by posting on its website two “technical assistance publications” on the subject. The first is a fact sheet that provides basic information about religious discrimination and includes information related to an employer’s obligation to accommodate workers’ religious observances in the workplace. … Continue Reading

Under certain circumstances, a voluntary or requested transfer may establish an adverse employment action.

Can transferring an employee into a position for which he had applied nine months earlier be viewed as an “adverse employment action” sufficient to support a claim of discrimination? (HINT: Don’t bet your paycheck on this one.) Robert Deleon, a 53 year old Hispanic male, was employed by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission for twenty-eight … Continue Reading

Pregnancy-related statements by managers help employee to avoid summary judgment on pregnancy discrimination claim.

In an unpublished opinion, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a pregnancy discrimination claim, finding that an employer’s “no accommodation for non-work-related injuries” raised an issue of pregnancy discrimination for a jury. Latowski v. Northwoods Nursing Center, 6th Cir., No. 12-2408, December 23, 2013. Jennifer … Continue Reading

EEOC issues discussion points on permissible uses of “integrity testing.”

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), “integrity testing” is a “specific type of personality test designed to assess an applicant’s tendency to be honest, trustworthy, and dependable.” Employers often associate a lack of integrity with counterproductive workplace behaviors, including theft and workplace violence. Problems can arise when an integrity test includes questions … Continue Reading

Family squabble leads to “Facebook firing,” and to dismissal of plaintiff’s case.

The line of “Facebook firing” cases is growing longer every month. In October, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in an unpublished opinion in which an individual claimed gender discrimination after he was fired from his job as a daycare center worker. According to the employer, the firing was based on … Continue Reading

Jury awards damages to employee forced to care for teenaged son suffering from cancer.

In addition to protecting qualified applicants and employees with disabilities from employment discrimination, one provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – the "association" provision – protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on their relationship or association with an individual with a disability, whether or not the applicant or employee has a disability. … Continue Reading

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

Firing of employee after his angry outburst during mediation did not constitute retaliation.

While Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision does not prohibit all employer action after an employee has filed a discrimination charge or lawsuit, it precludes employers from taking an action that might dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting a discrimination charge. Recently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the retaliation claim of an … Continue Reading

Domestic Violence Victim Leave Law Enacted in New Jersey.

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), which was extended in February 2013, is a federal law that provides funding toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allows civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted. The Act also establishes the Office … Continue Reading

Inconsistent reasons for termination allow home care worker’s pregnancy discrimination case to go forward to jury.

The7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned a lower court’s summary judgment in favor of a home care agency, holding that a jury should be allowed to determine whether the agency’s shifting explanations for the firing could, in fact, be a pretext for pregnancy discrimination. Hitchcock v. Angel Corps Inc., 7th Cir., No. 12-3515, … Continue Reading

Gender stereotyping based on a person’s non-conforming behavior violates Title VII.

As the U.S. Supreme Court has stated, Title VII is intended to “strike at the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and women resulting from sex stereotyping.” Recently, a federal court in Virginia refused to dismiss the claim of a male employee who said that he was treated differently and subjected to a hostile … Continue Reading

Ostracism and petty mistreatments may collectively rise to the level of hostile work environment.

A female plumber on “light duty” in the City of Chicago’s Department of Sewers filed a lawsuit alleging that because she was female, her supervisor assigned menial work to her, prohibited her coworkers from interacting with her, and subjected her to alleged “verbal violence.” While the district court viewed each of those actions individually and … Continue Reading
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