Archives: Sex Discrimination

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Deadline Extended for Compliance with New York Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirement

As we discussed in our previous posts – see here and here – in April 2018, New York passed legislation intended to combat workplace sexual harassment.  Under this new law, employers are required to implement and distribute to employees a written policy prohibiting sexual harassment by October 9, 2018.  To assist employers in complying, in … Continue Reading

New York Releases Package of Draft Model Policies for Employers and State Contractors in Response to Sexual Harassment Law Adopted in April 2018

On August 23, 2018, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) released written guidance addressing new requirements under New York State law that are designed to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.  The material outlines proposed minimum standards, training requirements and other compliance materials for the new state law.  This release comes as the … Continue Reading

California Legislature Passes Bill Prohibiting Arbitration Agreements and Non-Disclosure Agreements Regarding California Employment Law Claims

On August 22, 2018, the California State Senate passed AB 3080, which, if signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, would invalidate two types of commonly-used employment contracts that have been the subject of significant dialogue in the vast wake of the #metoo movement. First, the bill proposes to prohibit employers from requiring employees to … 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

“I firmly believe that with the right footwear one can rule the world” – dress codes and discrimination (UK)

Re-wind to May 2016 and you may recall the widely-reported story of a receptionist sent home from work without pay for wearing flat shoes in contravention of her agency’s dress code. The incident led to a joint report by the House of Commons Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee, High Heels and Workplace Dress … 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

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

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

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

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

Managing Political Speech In The Workplace

In the current political environment, employers and employees alike may be wondering – what, if any, political conversation in the workplace is acceptable or appropriate?  Tones of “freedom of speech,” “freedom of association,” on one hand, intersect with tenors of “workplace harassment” or simple annoyance, on the other.  Although like the political debates themselves, the … Continue Reading

One Racial Slur May Be Sufficient To Create a Hostile Work Environment, Says Second Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held last week that a single racial slur might provide sufficient basis for a hostile work environment claim.  In the case, Daniel v. T&M Protection Resources, LLC,  Plaintiff Daniel, a black, gay man from the Caribbean, alleged he was harassed at work on the basis … Continue Reading

U.S. Appellate Court Declares That Title VII Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation

On April 4, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit became the first federal appellate court to hold that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a prohibited form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).  And it did so in no … Continue Reading

If there’s something weird and it don’t look good, who you gonna call? Mythbusters!

Courtesy of Acas, here are the top ten myths to be “busted” by the Government’s promised campaign to make the Gender Pay Gap Regulations look less over-engineered than they really are together with some italicised comments of our own. MYTH: We did an equal pay audit a while ago so we’re fine FACT: Equal Pay deals … Continue Reading

Extended Comment Period Gives Employers More Time to Weigh In On EEOC’s Proposed Guidelines On Unlawful Harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided additional time for public comment on its recently-issued proposed guidelines on unlawful harassment.  The 75-page draft, which issued on January 9, 2017, expands upon existing interpretations of many aspects of workplace harassment, including prohibited bases for harassment, conduct constituting illegal harassment, the role of social media, … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Judge Sides With EEOC, Holds That Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based Upon Sexual Orientation

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees by prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and sex.  This much is clear.  What is not clear is whether the prohibition on sex-based discrimination extends to sexual orientation-based discrimination?  The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) – the government … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Long-Awaited Retaliation Guidance

On August 29, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final “Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues,” which replaced the Agency’s nearly-20-year-old 1998 Compliance Manual, Section 8: Retaliation.  As the title clearly implies, the guidance primarily sets forth the Agency’s evolving interpretations of the law of retaliation.  It also focuses on the … Continue Reading

New TUC report on sexual harassment in the workplace lacks vital statistics

It is sadly impossible to write anything critical about a report on sexual harassment in the workplace without coming over like some frightful old golf club misogynist. To be clear, therefore, none of what follows seeks to belittle the distress of those genuinely harassed at work, but balance nonetheless dictates a counter-point to the TUC’s … Continue Reading

“Ladies’ Night” promotions in Hong Kong – good business or unlawful discrimination?

The hospitality industry is no stranger to the rules prohibiting discrimination in accommodations. The average restaurant or hotel operator is fully aware that he cannot deny goods, facilities or services to a customer on the basis of gender. What appears to be less well known is that, at least in Hong Kong, the same business … Continue Reading

EEOC Warns US Employers That State Law Cannot Be Used to Justify Transgender Discrimination

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) reminded employers this week in no uncertain terms that they are required to provide transgender workers with access to bathrooms that corresponds with their gender identity.  A failure to do so – the EEOC warned – runs the risk of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights … Continue Reading

EEOC Files First – and Second – Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuits

The EEOC has been pursuing equal protection based on sexual orientation for years, and recent moves by the agency prove their position is more than just talk. In December 2012, the EEOC approved a Strategic Enforcement Plan identifying “coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII’s sex discrimination provisions” as an agency … Continue Reading

Equal Pay Momentum – New Jersey Senate Labor Committee Approves Proposed Equal Pay Legislation

A week ago, President Barack Obama announced further efforts by the White House and EEOC to combat gender pay equality issues. The momentum from last week’s announcement carried its way up the coast from the District of Columbia to the state legislature of New Jersey. Yesterday, New Jersey’s Senate Labor Committee approved Senate Bill 992 … Continue Reading

President Obama Announces Further Efforts To Combat Gender Pay Inequality

A little-known (or perhaps forgotten) fact is that the very first bill President Obama signed into law was an employment law:  the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  This law unwound the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and was intended to make it easier for employees to … Continue Reading
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