Archives: Discrimination

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State Law Round-Up: Minnesota Criminal Penalties for Wage Law Violations; New York Wage Gap and Hairstyle Discrimination; Pregnancy and Nursing Protections in Maine (US)

Minnesota Enacts Criminal Penalties for Wage Law Violations Minnesota governor Tim Waltz recently signed legislation that imposes criminal penalties (including felony charges) on employers who engage in “wage theft.” Effective August 1, 2019, employers will be guilty of a felony if they wrongfully withhold an employee’s pay by virtue of underpayment, misclassification, or refusing to … Continue Reading

California Passes CROWN Act, Becomes First State to Ban Natural Hairstyle Discrimination (US)

On April 30, 2019, we reported that the California State Senate had taken steps toward enacting the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “traits historically associated with one’s race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles.” The bill passed the Assembly on June … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Relaxes Procedural Path for Title VII Litigants, Ruling EEOC Charge-Filing Process Not Jurisdictional

On January 23, 2019, we reported that the Supreme Court had agreed to review a decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Ft. Bend County v. Davis, which would answer conclusively whether the pre-filing administrative exhaustion requirement is jurisdictional (meaning that failure to fully exhaust administrative remedies would bar litigation) or non-jurisdictional and thus … Continue Reading

“Proselytise” (vb): (1) to advocate, persuade, cause to adopt; (2) to take material risks with your continued employment (UK)

Here is another case about how far doing your God’s bidding in the workplace protects you from disciplinary action by your employer or, put more prosaically, about the relationship between the unfair dismissal regime and your rights to freedom of religion under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.… Continue Reading

Title VII And LGBT Discrimination: The Path To The High Court (US)

Expanding on her previous post on the subject, on May 1, 2019, Law360 published the following expert analysis authored by Squire Patton Boggs labor and employment attorney Melissa Legault. After 11 private conferences during which the U.S. Supreme Court justices debated whether to hear the cases, the Supreme Court granted certiorari[1] in three cases involving the extent of protection — if … Continue Reading

New York City and California Take Aim at Hairstyle-Based Discrimination (US)

Both New York City and California have recently taken steps to ban hairstyle-based discrimination.  On Monday, April 22, 2019, the California State Senate passed the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), which seeks to amend California’s anti-discrimination statute, the California Fair Housing and Employment Act (“FEHA”).   The CROWN Act, if … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Title VII Prohibits LGBT Discrimination

After considering the petitions at eleven separate private conferences, on April 22, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in three cases involving the extent of protection provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – if any – against employment-based discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  As we … Continue Reading

Does Obesity Qualify as a Disability Under the ADA? – It Depends on Who You Ask (US)

According to the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control, more than one-third of American adults are obese.  A person is considered obese when their weight is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height.  With obesity impacting such a large portion of the American public, employers are … Continue Reading

Can An Employer’s Disclosure Of An Employee’s Lawsuit In A Required SEC Disclosure Constitute Prohibited Retaliation? (US)

If you’re a fan of unusual employment law cases, the saga between SigmaTron International, Inc. and its former employee, Maria Gracia, has been the gift that keeps on giving for the past eight years.  Four years after filing her first lawsuit against SigmaTron (in which she eventually won over $300,000), Ms. Gracia sued her former … Continue Reading

State Law Round-Up: Minimum Wage Hikes (IL, NJ, CA, NM); Michigan Paid Sick Leave; New York Employee Rights, New Jersey Leave and Benefits Expansion (US)

Minimum Wage Updates On January 17, 2019, New Jersey’s governor and state legislators agreed to a deal that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 by 2024. The current minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.85 an hour.  Under the new law, the state’s minimum wage will increase to $10.00 an hour on July … Continue Reading

Two Recent Decisions Highlight Procedural Pitfalls in Employment Litigation (US)

Would-be plaintiffs in two employment decisions – one from the Fifth Circuit, one from the Ninth Circuit – were recently reminded that, no matter how solid the facts of their case, they can still lose on a technicality. The first case, Lee v. Venetian Casino Resort, LLC, considered whether a plaintiff’s Title VII claim was … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues Important Decision Narrowing What Constitutes “Protected Concerted Activity” (US)

Majority Rules That Skycap’s Complaint About Bad Tipping Was Not Protected Concerted Activity The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) kicked off 2019 with an important decision that significantly narrowed the standard for when an individual employee’s conduct will be found to be “protected concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or … Continue Reading

Healthcare Worker’s Vaccine Refusal Not Immunized by Americans with Disabilities Act (US)

On December 7, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously held in Hustvet v. Allina Health System that an employer did not unlawfully terminate an employee who refused to receive a rubella vaccination.  The plaintiff, a healthcare specialist working with potentially vulnerable patients, requested an accommodation exempting … Continue Reading

Snooping Employee Dooms Her Title VII Claims By Unauthorized Disclosure of Personnel Files (US)

On November 15, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously held in Netter v. Barnes that an employee did not engage in “opposition or participation” activity protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when she reviewed and duplicated confidential personnel files without authorization.  … Continue Reading

Title VII and LGBT Rights: The Current Landscape (US)

The U.S. Supreme Court currently is contemplating whether to review three employment discrimination cases involving what, if any, protection Title VII extends against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  See R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission et al., case number 18-107 (considering transgender discrimination under … Continue Reading

EAT approves use of indiscriminatingly inappropriate banter? Not really (UK)

If I told you that calling a colleague with links to the Traveller community a “fat ginger pikey” might not be harassment, you would be forgiven for picking up the phone to the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority. That is, however, one of the points we can take away from the EAT’s decision in Evans v Xactly … Continue Reading

Unanimous Supreme Court:  ADEA Applies to All State Employers, Regardless of Size

In its first opinion of the 2018 term, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Mount Lemmon Fire Dist. v. Guido, No. 17-587, slip op. at 1-7 (November 6, 2018) that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) applies to all political subdivisions of states, regardless of size, rejecting an argument that the 20-employee jurisdictional threshold … Continue Reading

Sweating the small stuff – proposed expansion of gender pay reporting regime (UK)

So now the House of Commons Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has recommended the extension of Gender Pay Gap reporting to employers with over 50 staff, a colossal expansion from the 10,000 or so businesses caught by the current minimum 250 employees requirement. When those smaller businesses turn their attention to compliance with those … Continue Reading
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