Tag Archives: Title VII

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

OMG! Panic over the Supreme Court’s decision on religious discrimination.

samanthaelaufThe U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 1, 2015, in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (FEP Cases 157) has resulted in a deluge of case summaries and commentaries, and engendered some level of panic among employers, who believe that the case has created a seismic shift in hiring criteria. But has it, really? … 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

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

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

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

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

Title VII and ADA can apply in employment situations involving domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Neither Title VII of the Civil Rights Act nor the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically prohibits discrimination against individuals who may be victims of domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. However, a recent fact sheet/guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has employers scrambling to update anti-discrimination training to reflect … 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

Independent Contractor may be viewed as employee for purposes of Title VII liability.

The anti-discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act apply only to employees. The determination of whether an individual is an “employee” for purposes of that Act depends largely on whether a putative employer exercised control over the manner and means by which the individual performed a job. While most employers assume that … Continue Reading

Back pay award in successful retaliation claim against former employer may be based upon position not awarded by a different employer.

It is generally understood that employees can bring Title VII claims – and be awarded damages – for hostile environment, wrongful termination, and retaliation. What is less clearly understood is the extent of the economic damages for which a former employer may be liable in the situation in which a litigant claims to have lost … Continue Reading

Title VII protects both current and former employees from discriminatory adverse employment actions.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against “any individual" on the basis of membership in a protected class. In a reminder to employers, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reiterated the generally accepted interpretation that in this language, Title VII explicitly … Continue Reading

Alleged comments by HR director sufficient to defeat company’s motion for summary judgment.

Remarks by a law firm’s human resources director could be “direct evidence” of pregnancy discrimination and violation of the FMLA, according to the 7th U.S. District Court of Appeals. According to the court, such evidence falls outside of the “hearsay” objection that might otherwise keep it from being presented to a jury. Makowski v. SmithAmundsen … 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

Sexual innuendos and demeaning comments cost employer $1.6 Million.

In gender discrimination cases under Title VII, a jury can award back pay and front pay, but also can award compensatory damages if it believes that an employee was harmed emotionally or psychologically by the alleged harassment or hostile work environment. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a $1.6 Million damages award … 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

First Circuit holds that Title VII does not protect employees from the “ordinary slings and arrows that suffuse the workplace every day.”

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reminds us that while Congress’ antidiscrimination laws are designed to protect workers’ rights, they are “not intended to function as a collective panacea for every work-related experience that is in some respect unjust, unfair, or unpleasant.” Consistent with this statement, the court dismissed the claims of four female … Continue Reading
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