Category Archives: Discrimination

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Altered State: Navigating the Haze Around Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

Medical marijuana occupies a gray space within the United States. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law and is included on the Drug Enforcement Administrations’ Schedule I, along with heroin and LSD. The drugs on this schedule are considered to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” In spite … Continue Reading

The First “Me Too” Verdict in New York Should Send A Strong Message to Managers and Employers

On Friday, July 27, after a 3 week trial in Manhattan, a jury awarded $1.25 million in damages to Enrichetta Ravina, a former professor at Columbia University Business School, who claimed that she was denied tenure and forced to resign in retaliation for complaining that a senior professor, Geert Bekaert, had sexually harassed her.  Professor … Continue Reading

Is Misogyny Protected Activity? Part 2

Earlier, we blogged about James Damore, an engineer at Google who was terminated for his memo, which openly expressed his belief that women were not “biologically suited” for certain types of positions and criticism of the company’s efforts to diversify its work force. The engineer challenged his termination by filing a charge with the National … Continue Reading

A “Smoky” Legal Issue for 2018 – Medical/Recreational Marijuana In the “Workplace”

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. However, there are many states, and a few cities, which have legalized medical and recreational marijuana – creating challenges for employers, as these laws “sprout up” (pun intended) across the country. Also, prior to now, the caselaw was quite clear – an employer could discipline an employee for lawful … Continue Reading

WHERE’S YOUR HARVEY? How To Keep Your Company Out of the Headlines

Over the past year, we have all watched the garish spectacle of various sexual harassment scandals take down powerful men in media, Silicon Valley, and most recently Hollywood, where allegations of Harvey Weinstein’s lurid conduct have engulfed the industry. And we have read a lot of typical advice from law firms in the wake of … Continue Reading

The Rise Of Employee Religious Discrimination Claims

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin and religion. While the first four categories often dominate the news headlines and court dockets, the fifth category — religion — should not be underestimated. Possibly due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2015 Abercrombie decision — a religious … Continue Reading

Trump Plays Ball (To Knee or Not To Knee)

President Trump likes to mix it up.  Mix everything up, like the National Football League and the First Amendment. Wait. What? Whether you think the President defies convention strategically or blunderingly, Trump is more a force of nature than a familiar political type, unabashedly tweeting on topics that are at least arguably Presidential (we will … Continue Reading

No Summer Breaks for the EEOC

As many of us settle into September, with fond memories of our summer vacations, do not think that the federal agencies were on a hiatus. In fact and despite predictions that the EEOC under the new administration would be less aggressive in enforcing the discrimination laws, the Commission has been very active and did not … Continue Reading

The “Knife’s Edge”: Second Circuit Dulls the Standard of Proof Needed for a Hostile Work Environment

The Second Circuit recently reversed a district court’s dismissal of a hostile work environment claim brought by a Muslim plaintiff.  See Ahmed v. Astoria Bank, et al., 16-1389 (2d Cir. May 9, 2017).  In-house counsel and human resources executives should take heed of this decision, which may signal a loosening standard for what may constitute … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Rules Title VII Bars Sexual Orientation

On April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit became the first federal appellate court in the country to extend the protections afford by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  The 8-3 decision came after they held a rare en banc hearing on Kimberly Hively’s case (Hively v. Ivy … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Holds that Medical Resident May Bring a Title IX Claim Against a Private Hospital

Earlier this month, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s dismissal of a medical resident’s Title IX suit against Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Philadelphia, which alleged that the plaintiff was kicked out of the hospital’s residency program in retaliation for denying a superior’s sexual advances.  See, Doe v. Mercy Medical Center. The … Continue Reading

Title VII and Sexual Orientation – Front and Center at the Second Circuit on Inauguration Day

As President-Elect Donald Trump moved into the White House on Inauguration Day last Friday, the excitement and political tensions were not confined to the nation’s capital.  LGBTQ rights supporters decorated with rainbow ties and socks filled the Second Circuit courtroom that morning to hear oral argument on a charged issue in Matthew Christiansen v. Omnicom … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Reverses Decision that Title VII Doesn’t Protect Against Anti-Gay Discrimination and Agrees to Re-hear Employment Discrimination Case

The Seventh Circuit reversed and vacated the panel decision holding that Title VII does not protect employees from anti-gay discrimination and will re-hear the case, Hively v. Tech Community College, en banc.  Kimberly Hively claims that her former employer, Ivy Tech Community College, violated Title VII when she was denied full-time employment and promotions and … Continue Reading

What the Seventh Circuit’s Recent Title VII Ruling Means for Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace

On July 28, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (“Seventh Circuit”) ruled that Title VII does not protect against sexual orientation discrimination.  See, Hively v. Ivy Tech Cmty. Coll., 2016 BL 244172, 7th Cir., No. 15-1720, 7/28/16.  The Seventh Circuit ruling is the first by a federal circuit to address … Continue Reading

A Conflicted 7th Circuit Holds Title VII Does Not Cover Sexual Orientation Discrimination

In a precedent-setting decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on July 28th that Title VII does not protect against sexual orientation discrimination.  The case is Kimberly Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, No. 15‐1720 (7th Cir. July 28, 2016). The 7th Circuit upheld a district court’s decision to dismiss a … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Stays Fourth Circuit’s Ruling Affirming Transgender Students’ Bathroom Rights

The Supreme Court stayed a Fourth Circuit ruling that requires schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as. We are monitoring the case for its impact on employers going forward. For our past analysis on this issue, please refer to the following posts: Supreme Court Poised to Weigh … Continue Reading

Workplace Video Monitoring: What Employers Need To Know

The omnipresence of video cameras is a fact of life. The average American, aware or not, is caught on surveillance camera more than 75 times a day. Given the availability and effectiveness of inexpensive video equipment, many companies use video to monitor their entire operations for safety, security and quality control. But video surveillance can … Continue Reading
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