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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – or when ignorance is not bliss (UK)

Here’s a question. Employee Mr U is accused of sexually assaulting A. She goes to the Police about it and simultaneously U’s employer starts an investigation into his conduct. The investigator J concludes that there is a case to answer, based in part on A having gone to the Police. On the back of J’s … Continue Reading

Update: Obesity as a Disability in the Ninth Circuit (US)

As we previously reported here, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Washington Supreme Court have been wrestling with whether obesity qualifies as a disability under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”). The dispute involves an applicant for a position with a railway company who sued in 2010, alleging that the … Continue Reading

NLRB Releases Multiple Advice Memoranda Covering a Range of Hot Button Topics (US)

Memos provide guidance on a variety of topics, including employer confidentiality policies and arbitration agreements As you may recall from our previous blog posts, National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) advice memoranda are issued by the agency’s Division of Advice, which is part of the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel (the “General Counsel”).  … Continue Reading

Spoiler Alert! It’s Going to Be a Roaring 2020 With Many Impactful Laws On The Horizon (US)

Who will be cheering and who will be jeering in this new decade may depend on the outcome of several key cases, pending regulations, and potential state and local law reforms. Below, we provide you with a brief overview of some key issues that may dominate the legal landscape in 2020 and beyond.… Continue Reading

NLRB Must Consider An Employer’s Obligation To Maintain A Harassment-Free Workplace When Evaluating An Employee’s Allegedly Protected Conduct (US)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently refused to enforce a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that involved a conflict between an employer’s obligation to maintain a harassment-free workplace under federal and state equal employment opportunity laws (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which, … Continue Reading

Veganism as a protected belief – putting flesh on the bones for UK employers

Much noise in the press last week about the decision of the Norwich Employment Tribunal that veganism is a philosophical belief protected under The Equality Act, so the obvious question is what this all means in practice. First, less than it looks.  The decision applies to “ethical veganism” only, not a regime adopted on fashion … Continue Reading

Genetic Mutation Is Not A Disability under the ADA, Says Ohio Federal Court (US)

In Darby v. Childvine, a recent decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the Court considered whether a genetic mutation can constitute a “disability” as that term is defined under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). In that case, the employer terminated the plaintiff/then-employee Sherryl Darby two weeks … Continue Reading

Title VII Pay Bias Claims Do Not Require Evidence of Unequal Pay for Equal Work (US)

On December 6, 2019, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (which hears appeals from federal district courts located in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont) unanimously held that employees can allege gender-based pay discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act even if they cannot show that a … Continue Reading

NLRB’s LA Specialty Produce Decision Provides More Clarity on Employee Handbook Rule Standards (US)

On October 10, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB” or “Board”) decision in LA Specialty Produce Company provided some employer-friendly clarification of its standard for assessing the lawfulness of employee handbook provisions under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), and in doing so, categorized two specific types of policies as generally lawful.  In this … Continue Reading

Are the grounds for dismissal the rationale or the reason? (UK)

Exploring the difference between why you do something and why it happens sounds like one of those abstract A-level Philosophy questions about whether you are a prince dreaming you are a butterfly or the other way around, but without the ability to ask whether anyone cares anyway. However, the question is also key to determining … Continue Reading

Private investigations video doesn’t leave employer in dire straits (EU)

In January 2018 we wrote about Ribalda –v- Spain, a European Court of Human Rights case in which a number of supermarket employees were awarded compensation for breach of their privacy rights. They had been stealing quite handsomely from their employer over some months, as they freely admitted, but nonetheless thought it entirely improper that … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit:  ADA Does Not Prohibit Discrimination Based on Future Impairments (US)

On October 29, 2019, railway operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (“BNSF”) prevailed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit – which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin – in a case in which the company argued that its refusal to hire an obese candidate due to an unacceptably high risk that … Continue Reading

When is refusing a settlement offer the reasonable conduct of ET proceedings? (UK)

Don’t you just love a good understatement? How about this little beauty on the merits of a rejected flexible working complaint: “The difficulty for the claimant is that she never proved that this arrangement could work by producing the required amount of work in the required time. This was both in terms of quality and … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Leaves Standards of Website Accessibility Ambiguous, Vexing Businesses

Employers already are (or should be) familiar with their obligations not to discriminate against and to reasonably accommodate employees and applicants with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which requirements are addressed in Title I of the ADA.  But the ADA also imposes additional non-employment obligations on governments and municipalities (Title II) and … Continue Reading

Don’t Stress – Anxiety May Not Always Be A Disability Under the ADA (US)

On October 22, 2019, a Tennessee federal district court dismissed a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) against West Meade Place LLP (“WMP”), a skilled nursing facility, after finding on summary judgment that the EEOC failed to establish that former WMP employee … Continue Reading

EEOC Must Continue Collecting Pay Data Until January 31, 2020 (US)

On October 29, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered that the EEOC must continue to take all steps necessary to complete EEO-1 Component 2 data collection for calendar years 2017 and 2018.  As we recently discussed here, the EEOC filed a motion on October 8, 2019 asking the court to … Continue Reading

Careless talk, costs, lies: EAT upholds £170,000 costs award (UK)

It’s all about the numbers in Brooks -v- Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, a new case on when an Employment Tribunal can order costs against an unsuccessful participant – 18 alleged protected disclosures, 40 detriments, a 27-day hearing, a witness statement of 214 pages and over a thousand paragraphs and a hearing bundle of well … Continue Reading

Update on EEOC Pay Data Reporting:  EEOC Asks Court to End EEO-1 Component 2 Data Collection (US)

As we most recently reported here and here, as of September 30, 2019, employers with 100 or more employees  (and federal contractors with 50 or more employees) were required to report to the federal government pay data for 2017 and 2018 for their workforce (known as “Component 2” data), broken down by race/ethnicity, sex, and job … Continue Reading

Likely lad – employee’s workplace stress disability claim revisited by EAT (UK)

Back in 2017 we posted a piece about the difference between disability and unhappiness at work. In that case, Mr Herry had been off work for over a year but still failed to establish that he was disabled. In large part this was because his absence was felt not to be the result of an … Continue Reading

US District Courts Start Applying Kisor v. Wilkie; Is Auer Deference Now a “Paper Tiger”?

Our colleague Brent Owen at the FrESH Law Blog (which covers perspectives on Environmental, Safety, and Health law) recently provided an update to his prior post addressing the US Supreme Court’s then-pending decision in Kisor v. Wilkie.  In that case, decided in late June 2019, the Court addressed the Auer standard of deference that is applied by courts to administrative agencies’ interpretations … Continue Reading

A Divided U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Trio of LGBT Employment Discrimination Cases (US)

On October 8, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in three employment discrimination cases involving what protection, if any, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of, among other things, sex – affords against sexual orientation and gender identity-based discrimination.  As we previously discussed … Continue Reading
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