Category Archives: Gender discrimination

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Inconsistent administration of physical ability test can create a triable question of intentional discrimination.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s summary judgment in favor of an employer who required a female employee to take a physical ability test after an on-the-job injury, even though it did not require such a test for similarly situated male employees. Merritt v. Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., … Continue Reading

Adverse employment action based on gender-related non-conforming behavior and appearance is impermissible.

Under Title VII, an unlawful employment practice is established when an employee demonstrates that gender is a motivating factor for an adverse employment action. Under that analysis, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Title VII claims of a female hotel desk clerk who was fired after a company decision-maker complained that … Continue Reading

Homosexual man’s gender stereotyping claim is cognizable under Title VII.

Congress has repeatedly rejected legislation that would extend Title VII protection to claims of sexual orientation discrimination. However, under Title VII, an employee may raise a claim of gender discrimination if that individual can demonstrate that an harasser was acting to punish the employee’s noncompliance with gender stereotypes. The 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals … Continue Reading

Supervisors without authority to affect employment status of other workers are not “managers” for purpose of Title VII.

The basis of an employer’s liability for a claim of hostile work environment under Title VII depends upon whether the harasser is the complainant’s supervisor or merely a co-worker. When a hostile work environment is created by a co-worker, the employer is liable only if the employer failed to provide an avenue for reporting the … Continue Reading

Use of subjective hiring criteria by employer is not unlawful, per se.

Recently, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed a company’s testing and interview procedure for new hires, and decided that certain subjective hiring criteria did not necessarily create a mechanism for excluding female applicants. That review occurred in the context of a lawsuit brought by a female applicant who alleged gender discrimination when the … Continue Reading

EEOC supplements its 2007 guidance regarding caregiver discrimination.

In 2007, during a nationwide upsurge in pregnancy discrimination claims, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) released a set of guidelines advising employers on issues related to caregiver bias. On April 22, 2009, the EEOC further supplemented those guidelines with specific recommendations designed, it said, to help employers to “reduce the chance of EEO violations … Continue Reading

Internal investigation supports company’s legitimate business reason for termination.

Sharon Sybrandt was fired from her position as an Operations Assistant Manager at one of Home Depot’s Nashville stores after she allowed a co-worker to use her password-protected user ID to modify a special order transaction for Sybrandt. In addition, Sybrandt herself subsequently entered computerized “notes” on the transaction, indicating that she wanted to cancel … Continue Reading