Courts inch closer to recognizing sexual orientation as a protected class

The Ohio Bell Telephone Company fired Plaintiff Jason Koren after he missed work for his father's funeral. Koren suspected that Ohio Bell really fired him because he's homosexual and took his husband's last name. He sued for gender discrimination. Did the court: a) grant Ohio Bell's motion...

What qualifies as “opposition” under Title VII?

Last week, I discussed the limits of Title VII's opposition clause in protecting (or not protecting, as the case may be) employees who make unreasonable or unfounded complaints about discrimination. Today, I am going to discuss another aspect of the opposition clause that can also provide some relief...

EEOC's "emerging issues": LGBT rights, and accommodations for pregnant women

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued yesterday its draft Strategic Enforcement Plan . If you don't have time to slog through all the introductory material, you won't miss a thing if you skip right to Section III (Priorities). The agency proposes that its priorities will be *Systemic...

New bill would require accommodations for pregnant employees

Does an employer have to provide a reasonable accommodation to a pregnant employee to allow her to perform the essential functions her job? Let's see. Americans with Disabilities Act? No. Pregnancy is not a disability. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act? Well that depends. The Pregnancy Discrimination...

Roundup of Supreme Court employment cases -- right here!

All right, kiddies. My posts over the last few weeks have been juicy and entertaining. (Or as juicy and entertaining as employment law can get.) But summer is over, and it's time to buckle down. The Supreme Court of the United States (aka "SCOTUS") began its new term this past Monday...

Five pending Supreme Court cases for HR, In-House & the C-Suite to follow

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court reconvened for its 2012-2013 term. Although not chock full of pending employment-law cases, this term will see several important issues decided which could affect your workplace. Below, I have a collected a series of links to stories on these cases: "New...

Fact or Fiction: Opposing an employee's u/c request may be Title VII retaliation

That's right folks. It's time for another edition of "Fact or Fiction" a/k/a "Quick Answers to Quick Questions" a/k/a QATQQ f/k/a "I don't feel like writing a long blog post." Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act , an employer engages in unlawful retaliation...

EEOC opines on domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking as Title VII and ADA violations

There is no federal law that expressly gives workplace rights to employees who find themselves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. That omission, however, does not unchain employers to discriminate against employees who find themselves in these unfortunate circumstances. Earlier...

Law in a Minute: Evidence of Applicant or Employee Convictions in Employment Decisions

I spoke this morning at a roundtable discussion regarding the use of criminal record information obtained through background checks and also data privacy and security at a Human Resources Committee roundtable hosted by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona . It was a fun group...

Who Is a Supervisor under Title VII? (Vance v. Ball St. Univ.)

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in one of the key employment cases it will hear this term- Vance v. Ball St. Univ. This case asks whether one can qualify as a supervisor under Title VII if one is given any authority to direct and oversee another's daily work, or if supervisory...

Supreme Court to Decide How an Employee Must Prove Title VII Retaliation

What makes retaliation the most common discrimination claim in America ? I suspect it's because other forms of discrimination (e.g., race, gender, disability) are more difficult to prove and don't always result in an adverse employment action, such as termination of employment. And since...

U.S. High Court Hears Arguments on Proof of Title VII Retaliation Claims

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) A Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 retaliation claim must prove but-for causation, the attorney representing the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) argued before the U.S. Supreme Court April 24. ( University of Texas Southwestern Medical...

Third Circuit: Shareholder Not "Employee" Under Title VII

Earlier this week, the Third Circuit issued its opinion in Mariotti v. Mariotti Building Products, Inc. [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ], holding that a shareholder was not an "employee" under Title VII. The plaintiff was a shareholder-director...

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Fourth Circuit Says Only Those Allegations Included in a Plaintiff’s EEOC Charge Are Fair Game in a Title VII Lawsuit

by Julie Arbore When employers are hauled into Court and sued for discrimination after already defending a charge for the same conduct in front of the EEOC or state human rights agency, they usually have a pretty good idea what they are defending. Sometimes employees try to play hide-the-ball ...

A Conversation with the EEOC

The Labor and Employment Section of the Michigan bar held its annual spring meeting last Thursday, and the topic was A backstage pass to the EEOC. The Detroit office had over 20 representatives attend. The round-table topics were intake and investigation; mediation and conciliation; and litigation...

Title VII Does Not Give Employees the Right to Proselytize

I believe that everyone's relationship with God (whether you call that deity Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, Buddha, or something else) is personal. I have no opinion on your spiritual relationship, as should you have none on mine. Thus, I get mad whenever someone tries to shove their religious...

Split U.S. High Court Finds Higher Standard for Title VII Retaliation Claims

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) Retaliation claims filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 must prove but-for causation, a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 24, rejecting the lessened causation test outlined in 42 U.S. Code Section 2000e-2(m) [ an annotated version of this statute...

Split U.S. High Court Finds Higher Standard For Title VII Retaliation Claims

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) Retaliation claims filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 must prove but-for causation, a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 24, rejecting the lessened causation test outlined in 42 U.S. Code Section 2000e-2(m) [ an annotated version of this statute is...

Williams Mullen: U.S. Supreme Court Hands Down 2 Significant Cases for Employers

By David C. Burton On June 24 the United States Supreme Court handed down two significant and closely watched decisions affecting employers in Title VII cases. Both opinions came from a sharply divided court splitting five to four in both cases. The two cases were Vance v. Ball State University and...

Take This Job and Shove It: Discrimination Complaint Does Not Shield Employee from Firing

Over the weekend, I read this opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. From the opening paragraph, it had my attention. After working at A.B. Data for four months, Michael Benes charged the firm with sex discrimination. The EEOC arranged for mediation in which, after an initial joint session...

VanDeusen on Univ. of Texas Sw. Med. Ctr. v. Nassar: Supreme Court Holds "But-For" Standard Applies in Title VII Retaliation Cases

In perhaps the biggest employment case this term, the Supreme Court has held that a "but-for" standard – not the "mixed motive" analysis applies to retaliation claims under Title VII. In Univ. of Texas Sw. Med. Ctr. v. Nassar , the court resolved the Circuit split that developed...

Court Says Lactation Is Related to Pregnancy, Refrains from Saying, "Duh"

I wrote about a really stupid case out of Texas where a federal court said that "lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition," and thus decided that "firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination." I was irked, to say the...

Court Says Lactation Is Related to Pregnancy, Refrains from Saying, "Duh"

I wrote about a really stupid case out of Texas where a federal court said that "lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition," and thus decided that "firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination." I was irked, to say the...

Democrats Seek to Undo 2013 Supreme Court Ruling Defining Workplace "Supervisor"

Has the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Vance v. Ball State [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ] been keeping you up at night? *** logs IP numbers; obtains restraining orders *** Well, ok. I can see why some of you are sour on the 2013 Supreme Court...

"Protected Class" and the 6th Circuit

In Shazor v. Professional Transit Management, Inc. [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ], the 6th Circuit reversed an award of summary judgment and found that the plaintiff had presented sufficient circumstantial evidence of race and sex discrimination to go to...