Archives: Discrimination

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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

Supreme Court Issues Controversial Ruling On LGBT Rights (US)

In 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited a Colorado bakery to order a custom cake for their upcoming wedding reception. The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to design a wedding cake for the same-sex wedding reception, saying he would not use his artistic talents to design a cake that conveyed a message supportive of … Continue Reading

NLRB Takes a Bite Out of Big Apple Restaurant, Finding Terminations Following Employee Emails Expressing Workplace Concerns Violated the NLRA (US)

A unanimous decision by a three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) recently found a New York City restaurant to have violated the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”) when it fired four employees after each of them emailed a group of other restaurant employees and owners expressing their positions on various … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds Use of Salary History To “Justify” Unequal Pay Rates Violates Federal Pay Discrimination Law (US)

On April 9, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an en banc ruling in Aileen Rizo v. Jim Yovino, case number 16-15372, holding that employers cannot justify a wage differential between men and women by relying on the employees’ respective wage histories alone. The plaintiff, a female consultant, learned that … Continue Reading

Employee pregnancy – is ignorance the best defence?

They do say that maternity in the workplace can be an unsettling and confusing time, leaving you confronting new questions and situations that no one has really prepared you for, and where the guidance comes at you from a range of sources as wide as they are inconsistent. Anyway, enough about employers.… Continue Reading

Title VII Bars Sexual Orientation Discrimination, Says Second Circuit Court of Appeals (US)

Last spring, we reported that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which hears appeals from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin federal trial courts) had become the first federal appellate court to conclude that Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibition also precludes discrimination based on sexual orientation. On February 26, 2018, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling … Continue Reading

U.S. EEOC Announces Four-Year Strategic Plan

On February 12, 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for FY2018 – FY2022 (SEP).   Congress requires federal administrative agencies such as the EEOC to develop strategic plans every four years and publish their plans on their website.  The EEOC’s plan serves as a framework for the agency in … Continue Reading

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
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