Tag Archives: Title VII

Employee Need Not Give Severance Back Before Moving Forward

Severance
An employee signs a separation agreement and receives severance pay. The employee then has second thoughts, alleges she was coerced into signing the agreement, and wants to pursue her discrimination claims in court. Must the employee give back the severance before suing? On August 13, 2018, in McClellan v. Midwest Machining, the Sixth U.S. Circuit … Continue reading this entry

Sixth Circuit Confirms Title VII Protection for Transgender Status and Rejects Religious Belief Defense

cost
Earlier this month, we discussed the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision concluding that Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Days later, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee) issued a significant Title VII decision of its own when it concluded that a funeral home’s discharge … Continue reading this entry

The Saga Continues: Second Circuit Court of Appeals Holds that Sexual Orientation Discrimination is Sex Discrimination Under Title VII

VII
We have steadily followed the evolving legal landscape, including the emerging circuit court split, surrounding whether the federal anti-discrimination law, Title VII, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. On February 26, 2018, all of the judges of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Connecticut, New York, and Vermont) heard an appeal … Continue reading this entry

Even If Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Are Not Covered By Title VII -- Very Much an Open Question -- LGBTQ Employees May Find a Way to Sue You

LGBTQ
Some pretty horrifying facts about workplace conduct at the Providence, R.I., Fire Department involving co-workers: calling a female lieutenant firefighter “bitch” “c—t,” “lesbian lover,” and “lesbo”; telling her, “I don’t normally like to work with women, but, you know, we like the same thing, so I think we’re going to get along”; spitting on and … Continue reading this entry

The DOJ’s New Posture on Gender Identity Discrimination

On October 4, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) delivered a blow to the rights of transgender Americans. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy concluding that the Civil Rights Act bars workplace discrimination against transgender employees. Specifically, Sessions revoked a 2014 memo authored by then-Attorney General Eric Holder that said gender-identity discrimination fell … Continue reading this entry

Tax Reform/Tax Cuts, Who Cares? Tax Gross Up Damages Are Available Under Title VII

Tax
Tax reform legislation is certainly one of the hottest topics in the media. Among others, several of the pressing questions regarding the proposed legislation are: Will it pass? If so, who will receive tax relief (and who won’t)? It goes without saying that many Americans are paying close attention to these questions because it may … Continue reading this entry

Is Bullying Harassment?

ADA
California is oft thought of as a trailblazer in the arena of sexual harassment law. Because California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act mirrors Title VII, practitioners and employers in other states often look to California cases and laws regarding sexual harassment for guidance.… Continue reading this entry

Predictions And Practical Tips From EEOC Leadership

EEOC
Some of our attorneys attended an update meeting with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Miami leadership on June 16, 2017. Mike Farrell is the EEOC Miami District Director, and Bob Weisberg is the EEOC Regional Attorney who heads up litigation for the District.  Both spoke about recent trends that will be of interest to … Continue reading this entry

The EEOC Is Taking a Close Look at the Challenges Facing the ADEA

EEOC
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is paying close attention to the issue of age discrimination and to the many challenges facing the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) 50 years after its enactment. On June 14, 2017, the EEOC launched its commemoration of the ADEA’s 50th Anniversary during its Commission meeting in Washington D.C. … Continue reading this entry

Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation -- The Wave Grows

Back in March we explored the question, “So – Are LGBTQ Rights Protected Under Federal Employment Law or Not?” In that article, which unpacked a recent federal court decision on LGBTQ workplace protections, we concluded that “it depends.”  While the issue is far from settled and the answer still remains “it depends,” two additional federal … Continue reading this entry

Employers Must Use Caution When Basing Pay Decisions On Prior Salary History

Employer
Imagine a scenario where an employer hires two individuals – a male and female – to fill two identical jobs (i.e., same job qualifications and same job duties). Both individuals satisfy the educational, skill, and other technical requirements for the job and they have similar employment histories.  However, at their prior places of employment, one … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Orientation-Bias Guidance Stirs Controversy among Commentators

EEOC
The public comment period for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) proposed workplace harassment guidance closed last week. The EEOC’s broad definition of sexual orientation bias drew attention from practitioners and advocacy groups alike. Amidst the uncertain legal landscape surrounding harassment based on sex, the EEOC’s proposed guidance takes a progressive stance on the … Continue reading this entry

So – Are LGBTQ Rights Protected Under Federal Employment Law or Not?

LGBTQ
The most accurate answer to this question is, “it depends.” On March 10, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) weighed in on LGBTQ protections – but the decision is not as clear as some of the headlines make it seem. For instance, some reports proclaimed that the court ruled … Continue reading this entry

Proposed Texas Legislation Would Limit Employers’ Ability to Use Employees’ and Job Applicants’ Credit Information

Texas State Representatives Terry Canales (District 40, serving part of Hidalgo County) and Nicole Collier (District 95, serving part of Tarrant County) have proposed legislation related to employers’ consideration of credit information for employees and job applicants.  HB 317 amends Chapter 52 of the Texas Labor Code by generally prohibiting a covered employer’s use of … Continue reading this entry

How Will the EEOC Change Under the Trump Administration?

EEOC Developments
Employers, human resource professionals, and employment attorneys all have the same burning question on their minds – what is the Trump administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), with newly appointed Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic, going to do? An important part of this conversation is understanding the ways in which the EEOC is able to … Continue reading this entry

Hostile Work Environments and Sexual Orientation: EEOC Files First Federal Suits

EEOC Developments
Normally in this space we write about court decisions that have already occurred and are likely to impact employers. This week, we focus on cases that have just been filed and could have far reaching implications. In a March 1, 2016 press release, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in two separate lawsuits that … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Must Conciliate, But Still Few Answers Regarding Routine Separation Agreement Provisions

EEO Compliance
In February 2014, the EEOC sent waves through employer communities when it filed a lawsuit against a national retail pharmacy contending some of the company’s separation agreement provisions — which many considered “standard” and largely unremarkable — interfered with employee rights under Title VII and therefore violated the civil rights law. In October 2014, however, the … Continue reading this entry

A Prompt Response to a Harassment Complaint Can Be the Difference Between Liability and No Liability

Discrimination
A recent federal district court from Illinois graphically demonstrates the benefits of a prompt response when an employer receives an internal harassment complaint from an employee. In this case, a female employee complained that two male employees had harassed her. She claimed that a coworker constantly harassed her starting in September 2010 and continuing into 2011, … Continue reading this entry

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? When It Comes to Religious Accommodation, the Supreme Court Offers Guidance (Well, Sort Of… )

EEO Compliance
What if it looks like someone may need a religious accommodation, but the individual never asks? Does the company still have a duty to accommodate? In a much awaited opinion, the Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, determined that “they never asked” does not necessarily let an employer off the hook. Employers subject to Title VII … Continue reading this entry

Transgender and Sexual Orientation Anti-Discrimination Protections — Maybe not yet the Law of the Land, but Your Policies Better Include Them

Discrimination
Though most Americans do not seem to realize it, anti-discrimination legal protections in employment for transgender, gay, bisexual, and lesbian (LGBT) employees are not uniform across the U.S. In fact, the federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would amend Title VII to explicitly include these protected categories, has never passed. Therefore, it is still legal to … Continue reading this entry

Bullies at Work? It’s Time to Take Action Because It May Be More Common Than You Think

EEOC
You may recall some recent high profile stories in the media involving teenagers committing suicide as a result of being bullied by their peers. However, bullying is not limited to the playground or teenagers engaged in social media. Recent surveys indicate that bullying is also prevalent in the workplace. For example, a survey commissioned earlier … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Signals Intent to Process and Litigate Claims of Sexual Orientation Discrimination Under Title VII

LGBTQ
Signaling its intent to pursue its viewpoint that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (including transgender identity), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken several recent steps to advance its theory that Title VII’s statutory term “sex” has broad application within the meaning of … Continue reading this entry

Contemporary Clothing’s “Look” Collides With Title VII

There is more than a little bit of irony when a clothing company with a target market of teens and young adults has a fashion dilemma. However, a national retailer has just such a dilemma arising from a potential religious accommodation dispute that has just taken a front and center position in the national legal … Continue reading this entry

Hurry Up and Wait: Court Decision Gives No Substantive Guidance on the EEOC’s Challenges to Standard Separation Agreement Provisions

As we noted last month, a federal district court in Illinois announced it was dismissing a controversial lawsuit brought by the EEOC against a nationwide pharmacy chain challenging that employer’s separation agreement containing standard provisions used by many employers. However, at that time, the court had not yet issued its written decision explaining the dismissal. … Continue reading this entry