Tag Archives: Title VII

Actual Knowledge of Need For Religious Accommodation Not Required, Supreme Court Rules

In a decision issued on June 1 [pdf], the U.S. Supreme Court held that a job applicant alleging disparate treatment by a hiring employer only must show “that his need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision,” and not that the employer had actual knowledge of the applicant’s need for a … Continue Reading

US Ninth Circuit Sets Maximum Ratio for Punitive Damage Awards Under Title VII

A prevailing employee in an action brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 may recover damages for unlawful discrimination and harassment in employment on the basis of, among other things, sex or gender.  In 2011, an Arizona federal jury found that an employee had been subjected to “reprehensible” sexual harassment on … Continue Reading

Bright-line Rules Issued by US Supreme Court in Title VII Retaliation and Harassment Cases

On June 24, the Supreme Court issued two significant, employer-friendly decisions which effectively raised the bar for employees pursing retaliation and harassment claims under Title VII. University of Texas Southern Medical Center v. Nassar In a sharply divided 5-4 ruling, the Court held in University of Texas Southern Medical Center v. Nassar, No. 12-484 that … Continue Reading

EEOC Follows Up Recent Guidance On Use Of Criminal Background Check Info With Lawsuits

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been concerned for quite a while about the disparate impact that the criminal background checks many employers run on applicants and employees may have a disparate impact on the basis of race and national origin.  Specifically, the EEOC has been convinced since at least the 1980s that the … Continue Reading

Employer Is Not Required to Accommodate Employee’s Request to Be Permanently Absent on Saturday

Title VII protects employees from discrimination based on their protected class which includes religion.  As such, employers are required to accommodate an employee’s religious observances as long as such accommodation does not cause an undue hardship for the employer.  In determining undue hardship, the United States Supreme Court has found [pdf] that accommodations requiring more than … Continue Reading

Management Employees Critical of Company Investigations Are Not Protected by Title VII

Late in January 2013, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear a case, Brush v. Sears Holding Corporation, involving an employee who alleged that she was terminated in retaliation for criticizing her employer’s treatment of another employee’s sexual harassment claim.  Consequently, the Eleventh Circuit’s decision [pdf] stands.  The Court of Appeals found that complaining … Continue Reading

Gender Non-Conformity . . . and Protection Based on Sexual Orientation?

In recent years, courts and administrative agencies have broadened the Title VII protections against discrimination based on sex using the Price Waterhouse theory of gender non-conformity.  For example, as previously reported here, the EEOC used this rationale to recognize a cause of action for transgender discrimination under a theory of sex stereotyping and gender non-conformity.  … Continue Reading

A Recent Sixth Circuit Decision Raises the Question: Does Your Promotional Process Have a Disparate Impact on Minorities?

A panel for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently required the City of Memphis (“City”) to immediately promote twenty-eight African American police officers to the rank of lieutenant. Thirty-five African-American patrol officers filed suit alleging, in relevant part, that a sergeant’s exam had a disparate impact under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act … Continue Reading

Expansion of Discrimination Law

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) forbids employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin. In a case of first impression, the Sixth Circuit recently affirmed that a volunteer may constitute an “employee” under Title VII. Expressly rejecting the Second Circuit’s two-step … Continue Reading