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Second Circuit Revives Chabad Group’s RLUIPA Suit

On September 19, 2014, the Second Circuit issued its decision in Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County, Inc. v. Borough of Litchfield (2d Cir. 2014), reversing the lower court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the...more

City’s Handling of Application for Subdivision Approvals May Trigger Liability Under Fair Housing Act

The Federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, including discriminatory land use decisions, on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or familial status. The...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Alleged Retaliatory Actions Must Be Viewed in Context For Purposes of a First Amendment Retaliation Claim

In Wendy Thomas, et al v. County of Riverside, et al, the Ninth Circuit considered whether the District Court properly granted summary judgment of an employee’s First Amendment retaliation claim in favor of the employer....more

Update: District Court Finds First Amendment Does Not Protect Former Guidance Counselor’s Sexually-Explicit Book

The Northern District Court of Illinois found that Rich Township High School District 227 did not violate the free speech rights of former guidance counselor and girls’ basketball coach Bryan Craig when it dismissed him based...more

To Have and to Hold: Modern Family Formation and Application of Constitutional Principles

Recall the year 1868 and §1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution: “All persons born and naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and...more

Secretary of the Commonwealth Issues Notice of Three Proposed Constitutional Amendments

WE, the people of Pennsylvania, have been governed by five different iterations of the state constitution since December 12, 1787, the day of our statehood. Each of those versions is the product of a state constitutional...more

You can’t fix stupid: Employment law edition

Homo sapiens is fired for teaching about homophones (and his sister is a known thespian rumored to have dramaturgical aspirations). A teacher at a private language school in Utah says that he was fired by the director for...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds the Use of Race in Admissions at the University of Texas

For a second time, the Fifth Circuit dismissed Abigail Fisher’s claim against the University of Texas at Austin (the “University”), holding that the University’s admissions policy, including the use of race as a factor,...more

Fifth Circuit Issues Important Ruling on Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Earlier this week, in Fisher v. University of Texas, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the undergraduate admissions program at the University of Texas at...more

The CFPB issues guidance on ensuring equal treatment for same-sex married couples

On June 25, 2014, the CFPB issued guidance setting forth basic principles on the issue of equal treatment for legally-married same-sex couples. The CFPB noted that this guidance was issued in response to the decision in...more

DOL Issues Notice of Proposed FMLA Rule that Offers Equal Leave Rights to Same-Sex Spouses

On June 20, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). If adopted, employees in same-sex marriages...more

Employment Flash (June 2014)

In This Issue: - NLRB Recess Appointments Unconstitutional - SEC Brings First-Ever Employment Retaliation Claim - EEOC Challenges Employer Severance Agreements - New York State Transportation Industry...more

Washington State Same-Sex Registered Domestic Partnerships Automatically Convert to Lawful Marriages on June 30, 2014

On June 30, 2014, same-sex domestic partnerships registered with the Washington Secretary of State will automatically convert to lawful marriages, unless one of the partners is age 62 or older, or the domestic partners have...more

Supreme Court Finds Public Employee's Testimony in Criminal Trial Protected Under First Amendment

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a public employee cannot be retaliated against by his employer based on testimony provided by him under subpoena in a criminal proceeding. In Lane v. Franks, the...more

DOL Proposes Change to FMLA Definition of Spouse to Accommodate Same-Sex Marriage

As was expected, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a proposed regulation changing the definition of “spouse” for FMLA purposes in order to protect the FMLA rights of employees with same-sex spouses. The proposed...more

Ripples of Windsor: DOL Seeking to Expand the FMLA’s Definition of “Spouse”

Last June, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) as unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013). The Supremes ruled that section 3 of DOMA...more

Supreme Court Deals Affirmative Action Another Blow, But Impact on Colleges and Universities Likely Limited

The U.S. Supreme Court continued its decade-long interest in the role of affirmative action in the higher education admissions process, and decided to uphold a state law banning the practice. In Schuette v. Coalition to...more

First Amendment Protects Public Employees for Sworn Testimony Given Outside Scope of Regular Job Duties on Matters of Public...

U.S. Supreme Court Makes Unanimous Ruling in Lane v. Franks - The First Amendment protects a public employee from adverse employment action taken in retaliation for providing truthful sworn testimony, compelled by...more

Supremes Rule That Trial Speech is Protected Speech

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision affecting public employers and employee First Amendment rights to free speech. Lane v. Franks et al., No. 13-483 (U.S. June 19, 2014). Central Alabama Community...more

The Supreme Court Says Public Employee’s Court Testimony Protected From Retaliation Under The First Amendment, At Least To The...

Eight years ago the United States Supreme Court, in Garcetti v. Ceballos, instructed that speech undertaken pursuant to a public employee’s job duties is “employee” speech and not “citizen” speech, and hence is not protected...more

Developments in Tennessee, Alabama, and Federal Employment Law

Effective July 1, 2014, a new law (T.C.A. § 29-39-104) changes the exposure for Tennessee employers subject to the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”) and the Tennessee Public Protection Act (“TPPA”). The law limits...more

“Predatory Lending” Claims by Cities and Counties Against Financial Institutions Escalate in 2014

Cities and counties that have experienced increased foreclosure and vacancy rates in the aftermath of the housing market crash of 2007-2008, perhaps emboldened by recent court decisions, have recently filed several new...more

Another insurance industry trade association group challenges the HUD disparate impact rule

We have been following the lawsuit in federal district court in D.C. in which two insurance industry trade associations have challenged the HUD disparate impact rule. The complaint in the D.C. action, which was commenced in...more

To the Woodshed: Self-Defense, Defense of Others and Retaliatory Discharge

The workplace can be very tumultuous. Employees working in close quarters inevitably have disagreements, and some employees prove themselves to be disagreeable troublemakers. Workplace bullying is considered by some to be...more

Another Supreme Court disparate impact case?

The U.S. Supreme Court could have its third opportunity since 2012 to provide clarity with respect to disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act and (by analogy) the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. After losing on...more

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