LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Federal Judge Dismisses EEOC Severance Agreement Lawsuit Against CVS

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that U.S. District Judge John Darrah has granted CVS’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by EEOC, which challenged the company’s severance agreements as overly broad and retaliatory. Recall that the lawsuit challenged several garden-variety terms in standard...

A Whistleblower's Odyssey in Michigan

Bruce Whitman was the police chief for the city of Burton. His odyssey began in 2007 when he was not reappointed as the police chief in November of 2007. He filed suit under Michigan's Whistleblowers Protection Act alleging that he engaged in protected conduct in 2004 for opposing an ordinance where...

EEOC 0-2 on Severance-Agreement Lawsuits … But Does It Matter?

Recall that in October, a Chicago federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by the EEOC against CVS, claiming that the pharmacy retailer’s severance agreements violated Title VII by employing allegedly retaliatory language. That court, however, failed to reach the merits of the case, instead dismissing...

You’ve Gotta Be Kidding. THIS Is Retaliation?

Guess what? You know those SEC disclosures about pending litigation that publicly held companies are required by law to make ? Well, if an employer says too much, it may be “retaliating” against the litigants. I am not making this up. International Monetary Systems, Ltd., is facing a jury...

Why Retaliation Claims Should Keep You Up at Night

In early 2009, Aker Plant Services terminated the employment of Tommy Sharp as part of workforce reduction. When Sharp asked his supervisor why the company chose him, as opposed to his less experienced, less senior co-workers, the supervisor replied that the company decided to keep younger employees...

Federal Appeals Court Rejects “Retaliatory Rehiring” Claim

As part of massive reorganization, Allstate severed the employment of approximately 6,200 employee agent. In connection with the layoff, Allstate offered all of the employee agents the opportunity to convert their employment status into that of an independent contractor selling Allstate insurance products...

When the Government Comes Knocking, Don’t Forget Not to Retaliate

Last week, I wrote about what to do when OSHA comes knocking . One issue I did not address is the potential for retaliation against employees who provide information to, or otherwise cooperate with, the government. Thankfully, the Department of Labor, on its own blog, recently provided a not-so-subtle...

Was the Ellen Pao Gender Bias Trial a Wakeup Call or Snooze for Businesses?

I intended to begin the week with a post about a company’s legal obligation to predict — yes, predict — an employee’s mental fitness for duty. Then, I started on a brief tangent on Ellen Pao , the former partner of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, who just lost a highly...

“Stop Harassing Me!” = Protected Conduct to Support Retaliation Claim, Says Sixth Circuit

What happens when the alleged perpetrator of sexual or other unlawful harassment is also the person to whom the victim lodges a complaint of harassment? If the alleged perpetrator later fires (or causes the firing of) the victim, has the victim engaged in protected conduct (opposition of the harassment...

How Two Racial Slurs in 24 hours Can Create a Hostile Work Environment

Last year, I channelled Bill Clinton in this blog post about how courts rarely recognize a single incident or two as creating what the law deems a hostile work environment. Yeah, about that. Even a few isolated comments can create a hostile work environment. In Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleu...

Is This New Harassment Decision the End of the World for Employers?

Are harassment and retaliation lawsuits all going to the jury now? Are employers doomed? Are the plaintiffs’ lawyers popping the champagne corks? Is the EEOC dancing for joy? The employment law world is abuzz about last week’s racial harassment/retaliation decision from my own U.S. Court...

What is Retaliation in the Second Circuit Under the FLSA?

by Kevin Smith and Ryan Duffy On April 20, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a long-standing precedent when it held in Greathouse v. JHS Security Inc. that an internal oral complaint could be sufficient to demonstrate protected activity and form the basis for...

Sixth Circuit: Reasonable Belief About Unlawful Conduct Enough for SOX Retaliation

It’s hard to imagine that in the eight-plus years I’ve written this blog, there is any area of employment law that on which I have not yet touched—except, I think, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Today, that changes. For the uninitiated, Sarbanes-Oxley (or SOX) is a federal statute, enacted...

Harassment “Must-Have” No. 5: No Retaliation!

We have reached the fifth and final of our five harassment “must-haves”: No retaliation. It should be easy to avoid retaliation, right? Because retaliatory conduct is intentional – you can’t “accidentally” retaliate against someone. You can’t “negligently”...

Fourth Circuit Holds that McDonnell-Douglas Survives Nassar for Prima Facie Retaliation Cases

In a recent case, Foster v. University of Maryland-Eastern Shore [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], the Fourth Circuit held that the familiar McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework survives the but-for causation standard articulated by the Supreme...

Fourth Circuit Adopts Employee-Friendly Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation Standards

by Julie A. Moore Traditionally, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Court – which encompasses the West Virginia – has been regarded as being an employer-friendly jurisdiction when it comes to deciding cases arising under federal employment laws. However, that gradually...

Does Smoke Always Equal Fire in Harassment Cases?

Consider the following, taken from Briggs v. University of Detroit-Mercy (E.D. Mich. 5/27/14) , and then let’s talk [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]. Plaintiff Carlos Briggs, former assistant coach of the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM...

Second Circuit Weighs in on "the Manager Rule" and Pleading Standards

Earlier this month, the Second Circuit issued its opinion in Littlejohn v. City of New York addressing "the manager rule" under Title VII retaliation claims [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]. Sometimes, in retaliation cases, the employee...

Is Protected Activity Part of Your Job? You May Still Be Protected.

“Doing your job? The NERVE!” If you try to prevent or end workplace discrimination as part of your job, is it legal for your employer retaliate against you? Inquiring HR professionals, in-house lawyers, and counselors want to know! The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Fourth Circuit...

Is “No” Enough?

by Martin J. Saunders Like most statutes prohibiting discrimination, Title VII also outlaws retaliation so that individuals will not be inhibited from asserting claims under the statute. Thus, Title VII prohibits retaliation against anyone who opposes an act made unlawful by it. The question, therefore...

Retaliation Suits Under Title VII in the Fourth Circuit: Panoramic Views & the Rejection of the Manager Rule

by Benjamin W. Mounts Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. To give effect to this prohibition, the statute imposes liability on employers who retaliate against employees who oppose unlawful employment practices. The U.S. Supreme Court...

May My Company in New Jersey Lawfully Fire an Employee Who Files For Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Most workers in New Jersey are eligible for temporary or permanent cash benefits, known as workers’ compensation benefits, when they are injured by an accident arising out of and in the course of their employment. See N.J. Workers’ Comp. Law § 34:15-1. I have observed a prevalent...

SCOTUS Grants Cert in First Amendment "Perceived Support" Case

SCOTUS kicked off their new season last Thursday with some cert. grants, including a new employment law case. The Court granted cert in Heffernan v. City of Patterson . I blogged about this case earlier in the year following the Third Circuit's decision [subscribers can access an enhanced version...

What Are the Elements of a New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act Claim?

The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, N.J.S.A. §§ 34:19-1 – 34:19-8 (“NJ CEPA”), prohibits all public and private employers from retaliating against employees who disclose, object to, or refuse to participate in certain actions that the employees reasonably...

Court Upholds Employee Firing After Complaining About Gay Slurs. Was That a Mistake?

Mr. Gaff worked as a custodian at a University. He claimed that, on several occasions, his subordinate called him a “fa***t.” So, Mr. Gaff complained to his supervisor. Then, Mr. Gaff was later fired. Retaliation? Now, back to this case , the one where the plaintiff claims he was unlawfully...