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FMLA’s New Definition of “Spouse” Halted in Four States

The Department of Labor’s revised definition of “spouse” under the FMLA was recently struck down in Texas. On March 26, 2015, in Texas v. United States, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas...more

California Supreme Court Makes It Harder For Prevailing FEHA Defendants To Recover Their Costs

Under section 1032(b) of the California Code of Civil Procedure, “a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding” unless some statute expressly says otherwise. It has been...more

Bad News, Good News: Disability Discrimination Plaintiff Sometimes Need Not Show He Was Qualified, But May Never Recover Punitive...

In a decision to be officially released on May 19, 2015, the Connecticut Appellate Court has addressed two interesting issues in the state law of employment discrimination, one of which is of considerable importance (and...more

Prevailing FEHA Defendant Not Entitled To Litigation Costs Unless Plaintiff’s Lawsuit Lacked Objective Basis

The California Supreme Court in Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire District affirmed the asymmetrical nature of litigation costs awards in discrimination lawsuits under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - May 2015

EEOC Conciliation Efforts Subject To Limited Judicial Review - In Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC, the United States Supreme Court held that the conciliation efforts of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are...more

Qui Tam Actions on the Rise, but they Fall Short When the DOJ Does Not Intervene

The number of qui tam actions–lawsuits brought by whistleblowers on behalf of the United States–has increased in recent years, more than doubling from 2003 to 2013. ...more

Employers Who Prevail in FEHA Cases Cannot Recover Costs Unless the Employee’s Claims Are Frivolous, Unreasonable, or Groundless

In Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fires District, (No. S213100, en banc, filed 5/4/15) (Williams), the Supreme Court of California held a prevailing defendant in an action under the California Fair Employment and...more

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

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

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

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

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

The Dangers of Consent

Once an employer agrees to a Consent Decree with the EEOC (and a court enters the decree), that EEOC dispute is over, right? Oh no. The Consent Decree gives the EEOC a new enforcement tool; with any new act of...more

California Employment Law Notes - March 2015

Employee Who Was Working Elsewhere During Medical Leave Of Absence Was Properly Terminated - Richey v. AutoNation, Inc., 182 Cal. Rptr. 3d 644 (Cal. S. Ct. 2015). Avery Richey worked for Power Toyota Cerritos,...more

Several Ounces of Prevention: The New Jersey Supreme Court Reminds Employers of the Importance of Anti-Harassment Policies,...

On February 11, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court, in Aguas v. New Jersey, decided three important legal issues regarding employment discrimination claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). First,...more

Justice Department Settles Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit Against the State of Maryland, Queen Anne’s County, and the...

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into a consent decree with the state of Maryland and the Queen Anne's County Sheriff. If approved by the court, the settlement will resolve Murphy-Taylor...more

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