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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...

“Unionism” as a Protected Class?

Way back in 2012, the New York Times published an op-ed titled A Civil Right to Unionize , which argued that Title VII needs to be amended to include “the right to unionize” as a protected civil right. At the time, I argued that including “unionism” as a protected class was the...

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Cert In EEOC, Abercrombie Scarf Dispute

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) The U.S. Supreme Court today granted a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a lawsuit in which it has accused a clothing retailer of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it refused to hire...

Saks Claims Transsexual Discrimination Is Legal. And Here's Why They're Probably Right.

Over the weekend, I joined a Facebook thread discussing a recent federal court complaint filed in Texas by a former Saks employee, Leyth O. Jamal. Ms. Jamal claims that Saks violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against her because she is transsexual. Saks claims ( here ) that...

Madison Enacts Law Protecting Atheists Against Discrimination (But Atheists Are Already Protected Against Religious Discrimination Under Title VII)

While the anti-discrimination ordinance enacted in Madison , Wisconsin adding “nonreligion” to the list of protected categories was touted as the first of its kind in the nation, that’s not quite true. While it may well be the first ordinance specifically protecting those who have no...

Get in the Zone … the No-Blacks Zone

Does Title VII permit an employer to staff its stores based on the racial composition of its customers? That’s the question at the heart of EEOC v. AutoZone , currently pending in federal court in Chicago. In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that the auto-parts retailer transferred African-American...

Fourth Circuit Uses "Hybrid" Test For Title VII Joint Employer Liability

Meet Brenda - she was hired by a staffing agency to do work for a car parts manufacturer. Brenda now claims that she is getting harassed at work (the phrase "big old ass(es)" came up a few times), so she files a Title VII lawsuit. Of course, Title VII generally allows employees to sue their...

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...

Can an Employee Be Fired For Having Too Many Kids?

Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer announced this week that she is expecting twin girls , and Yahoo’s stock reportedly took an immediate dive . ( H8rs! ) Mayer said that she plans to take only two weeks off, and she can probably manage that because she has a nice nursery right off her CEO office....

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...

"At Will" Employment vs. Right to Self-Defense

Today, in my employment law class, we cover the case of Weaver v. Harpster . The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that a woman could not sue her employer for sex discrimination/harassment [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]. That probably comes as...