Archives: Discrimination

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Uncooperative employee loses disability rights protection

The duty on a UK employer to make reasonable adjustments applies only when it knows or ought to know about an employee’s disability. Establishing actual knowledge is easy enough, but what about constructive awareness, where the employer obviously does not know but is nonetheless being expected to act as if it did? In Gallop -v- … Continue Reading

All the rage – should confidentiality agreements in harassment cases be allowed?

News out this week that a committee of MPs is to look into workplace harassment, and in particular the use of confidentiality wording in settlement agreements arising from harassment allegations. Critics allege, says the BBC New Online, that such clauses are “abused by employers and legal experts to cover up wrongdoing” and used to “buy … Continue Reading

Recent First Circuit Decision Illustrates Overlap Between Title VII Gender and Sexual Orientation Claims (US)

“Sticks and stones may break some bones, but harassment can hurt forever,” began the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit’s January 25, 2018 (60-page) opinion in Franchina v. Providence Fire Department, a “sex-plus” discrimination case; the opening line foreshadowing the ultimate outcome of the appeal. In the underlying trial of this matter, … Continue Reading

When taking a stand on discrimination becomes misconduct

Rochford – v – WNS Global Services is a small (9 page) but perfectly formed UK Court of Appeal decision around when you can stand on your principles in the face of discrimination by your employer and when it just gets you sacked. Mr Rochford had been absent for an extended time with a bad … Continue Reading

Major Developments for Union and Non-Union Employers – NLRB Announces New Standards For Employment Policies, Joint Employment, and Signals Change In Election Rules

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) issued two groundbreaking decisions on December 14, which will give both union and non-union employers significantly more flexibility to manage their operations.  Earlier this week, the Board also signaled that it will revise the “quickie” election rules implemented in 2015 in the near future.  These developments will … Continue Reading

Landmark Same Sex Visa Application Judgment in Hong Kong

On 25 September 2017, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal passed down a unanimous judgment in the case of QT v. Director of Immigration to allow QT to obtain a dependent visa through her same-sex partner who works in Hong Kong. The spousal visa in question previously was granted by the Immigration Department only to heterosexual couples, … Continue Reading

The proper response to claims of historic sexual harassment by employees

Another day, another sex scandal. A Martian reviewing the Evening Standard could reasonably conclude that this is an issue limited to film, media and politics but there would undoubtedly be those in many less glamorous workplaces who also have stories to tell and hopefully feel empowered to do so by the flood of others coming … Continue Reading

When Mummy doesn’t necessarily know best – mediation and maternity rights claims

At the end of my post on Maternity Action’s report on unfair redundancies https://www.employmentlawworldview.com/new-proposals-for-post-brexit-maternity-protection-use-german-law/, I mentioned a number of the reasons why many recent mothers do not raise complaints about their perceived treatment at the hands of their employer. These included a fear of creating bad feeling with their employer or colleagues, a lack of … Continue Reading

New proposals for post-Brexit maternity protection – use German law

Back in March 2016 I posted a piece querying the headlines over an Equalities and Human Rights Commission report on maternity and pregnancy discrimination at work. The short point was that the report did not justify the apocalyptic headlines about the treatment of women who were pregnant or on maternity leave. Looked at close up, … Continue Reading

Trending Topic: Gender Identity Discrimination

In April 2012, the EEOC held for the first time in Macy v. Holder that transgender discrimination is sex discrimination and that Title VII sex discrimination prohibits discrimination of a job applicant based upon her status as a transgender woman. The opinion relied heavily on the US Supreme Court’s decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, … Continue Reading

Thriving at Work

Today saw the publication of the Thriving at Work report commissioned by the Prime Minister in January this year and written by Paul Farmer CBE, Chief Executive of MIND and Lord Stevenson, the former Chairman of HBOS who has been open about his own struggle with clinical depression. This is a far reaching report, a … Continue Reading

Sow the wind, reap the hurricane for UK Government in Tribunal fee fiasco

There was a great deal of entirely unfair schadenfreude directed at the Government last month over its abject failure to justify the Employment Tribunal fees regime in front of the Supreme Court. After all, apart from the report of its own Justice Committee, the views of everyone else from both sides of industry and all … Continue Reading

Two US Federal Agencies disagree as to whether Title VII as a matter of law, reaches sexual orientation discrimination

This past May, 2017, The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted en banc (meaning all the judges on the Second Circuit will hear the case instead of a three-judge panel) a review in Zarda v. Altitude Express, the case of a New York skydiving instructor who was fired from his job because … Continue Reading

Are Employers Going to be Required to Accommodate Medical Marijuana Use?

State-registered medical cannabis patients may now sue a private employer for discrimination under Massachusetts’ law if they are fired for their off-the-job marijuana use, according to landmark ruling issued July 17, 2017, by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Citing the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act, the court states that patients shall not be denied “any right … Continue Reading

Putting your money where your mouth is – are injured feelings index-linked?

Through a long and not very relevant series of arguments, the Court of Appeal in De Souza – v – Vinci Construction (UK) Limited has just decided that in effect they are. This is not a surprising conclusion, since otherwise inflation would erode the value of such awards as either proper compensation for the employee … Continue Reading

Intentional Segregation By Race Is Not Enough to Trigger Title VII Liability, Says Seventh Circuit

In EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) ruled that AutoZone did not violate the anti-segregation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), when it transferred Kevin Stuckey, an African American employee, from a store with … Continue Reading

Context or causation – the role of race in unfavourable treatment

Statutory construction can be a bit like nuclear fusion – you take an atom of something relatively ordinary and then subject it to such pressure that it explodes into a million flaming pieces and lays waste to your entire afternoon.   Employment Tribunals and Courts do the same to words, taking perfectly mundane sentences and phrases … Continue Reading

Justification of Redundancy Following Disability-Related Absence

If because of your disability you are absent from work and if because of that absence your employer discovers that it doesn’t actually need you, does your resulting redundancy arise from your disability?  This is important because Section 15 Equality Act 2010 says that if A treats B unfavourably “because of something arising in consequence … Continue Reading

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable”. Main parties’ employment manifestos reviewed

General Elections. Don’t they seem to come round more frequently than they used to? A tough call for voters, this particular one, not just because of economist JK Galbraith’s wise words above but also because the outcome won’t make the slightest difference to the biggest issue of the day, the terms on which we are … Continue Reading
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