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Protected Title VII Conduct Can Be As Simple As Telling Your Boss to Stop Harassing You

The Sixth Circuit recently ruled “a demand that a supervisor cease his/her harassing conduct constitutes protected activity covered by Title VII,” so that employees who tell a boss to stop harassing them are protected from...more

New DOL Rule Redefining “Spouse” Temporarily Placed on Hold

A new Department of Labor rule defining “spouse” for purposes of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) was to take effect March 27, 2015, but on March 26, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction staying...more

EEOC Transgender Case In Detroit Will Go Forward

As our readers know, the EEOC filed two lawsuits last fall against private employers, alleging discrimination against transgender individuals: one case against a medical practice in Florida, and the other against a funeral...more

Anatomy of a (Big) Employment Verdict: Lessons from the Robertson Case

Last week, a federal jury in Pittsburgh awarded a former manufacturing employee, Sandra Robertson, over $13 million in damages in a gender discrimination and retaliation claim against her former employers, Hunter Panels LLC...more

$6 Million Verdict for SOX Whistleblower Leads to Malpractice Suit Against Defense Counsel

Playboy Enterprises is suing its former defense counsel Sheppard Mullin after being hit with a $6 million jury verdict in a SOX whistleblower case, the highest jury award in a SOX case to date. In Zulfer v. Playboy...more

Patterson-UTI Drilling Pagará $14.5 Millones Para Resolver Demanda de Discriminación por Origen Nacional/Raza

Agencia Federal Resuelve Demanda que Alega que Empleador Toleraba Discriminación en Plataformas de Perforación, Castigaba a Víctimas por Quejarse - DENVER - Patterson-UTI Drilling Company LLC, una empresa de perforación...more

Patterson-UTI Drilling to Pay $14.5 Million to Settle Claims of Race/National Origin Discrimination

Federal Agency Resolves Lawsuit Alleging Employer Tolerated Discrimination on Drilling Rigs, Punished Victims for Complaining - DENVER - Patterson-UTI Drilling Company LLC, a Snyder, Texas-based multistate oil drilling...more

EEOC Consent Decrees are its Most Powerful Enforcement Mechanisms

The vast majority of settlements between an employer and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) take the form of a court-approved consent decree. This document is a public record designed to highlight and...more

Washington Jury Awards “Perceived” Whistleblower $1 Million

In a jury verdict issued on March 26, 2015, a supervisor for the nation’s largest ferry system was awarded $1 million because the jury concluded that his employer demoted him as an act of retaliation in violation of the...more

U.S. Army Loses Battle to Regulate Bathroom Selection of Transgender (Civilian) Employee

On April 1, 2015, the EEOC ordered the Army to pay damages for discriminating against a transgender employee when it prevented her from using the common women’s bathroom and routinely demeaned her by calling her “sir” and...more

Wage Recovery Penalties Continue to Increase

Continuing in a trend that started in 2013, the California Legislature focused considerable time and effort on expanding liability and increasing penalties under several existing laws for 2015....more

Reed Smith's Government Contracts Weekly Rundown - April 2015 #2

Here is a rundown of last week’s top developments related to government contracts to get you back on track and ready for Monday....more

What Employers Can Learn from Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins

Kleiner Perkins emerged victorious last week in their former employee Ellen Pao’s heavily publicized sex discrimination lawsuit when the jury handed down a defense verdict after days of deliberation. Pao filed suit in...more

Even When NLRB Orders It, Employers Have Little Guidance on Work Authorization Procedures

Quick, employers: you make a job offer to a promising applicant, only to find out that his work authorization papers are less than perfect. He has a social security card and number but something seems… off. (“Is that a letter...more

Southwest Airlines Reaches Settlement in Whistleblower Lawsuit

A Southwest Airlines employee claims that he was retaliated against for uncovering and reporting two cracks while investigating the fuselage of a Boeing 737-700 during his regular maintenance checks. Now, Southwest has agreed...more

Same-Sex Couples Now Receive Equal Coverage Under The FMLA

On Friday, March 27, 2015, the Department of Labor (“DOL”)’s new regulation revising the definition of “spouse” to include those in same-sex marriages went into effect expanding the definition of spouse under the Family and...more

Federal Judge Blocks Department of Labor Rule Expanding FMLA to Same-Sex Couples

On Thursday, March 26, a federal district court in the Northern District of Texas granted an injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from enacting a new rule under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that...more

Maine to Pay Out $142,500 to Settle Whistleblower Suit

The state Department of Health and Human Services in Maine will pay $142,500 to a former employee as a part of a settlement for a federal whistleblower suit. That employee is Sharon Leahy-Lind, who was at one time a...more

Indianapolis Hampton Inn Operators Held in Contempt for Breaching EEOC Consent Decree Settling Earlier Class Race Bias Suit

Federal Court Also Rules That EEOC Is Entitled to Submit a Petition for Fees and Costs. INDIANAPOLIS - A federal judge has held that the operators of the Hampton Inn on Shadeland Avenue in Indianapolis in contempt for...more

SEC’s Limit on Retroactivity of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Bounty Awards Is Reasonable, Second Circuit Holds

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently deferred to the SEC’s determination that a tipster who provided information to the Commission before July 21, 2010, the effective date of the Dodd-Frank Act, is not eligible to...more

Failure to Comply with Terms of EEOC Consent Order Costs Employer $400,000 in Agency's Costs

Under federal civil rights laws, one major difference between suits brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and private parties involves liability for attorney’s fees. Losing employers must pay the prevailing...more

Employer Violates Public Policy by Retaliating against "Perceived" Whistleblower

A recent California court decision highlighted the importance of getting your facts straight before taking action against an employee. The ruling stemmed from a retaliation lawsuit brought by a woman whose former employer...more

$15 Million Awarded to Former Employees For Harassment and Discrimination

A trucking and ground support services company is paying dearly for alleged employee discrimination and harassment. Last month, a jury awarded nearly $15 million to seven former employees who sued the company over practices...more

Employer Found to Have Violated Consent Decree; Ordered to Pay EEOC’s Attorney Fees

The EEOC recently announced that it was awarded nearly half a million dollars in attorney fees after a court found that an employer (the Jewel-Osco grocery store chain) violated a consent decree....more

3 New Developments in Whistleblower Retaliation (Hint: Preventing Retaliation Takes More Than an Anonymous Whistleblower Hotline)

I find the ethics and compliance industry full of paradoxes. First, it has a reputation for being dry, dull… full of ‘heretofores’ and ‘thou-shall-nots’. But I think it’s anything but dull. Whistleblowers, bribery,...more

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