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Employment Law - August 2016

Arbitrator or Judge? California Supreme Court Weighs in - Why it matters - Yet again, the California Supreme Court considered arbitration in the context of an employment agreement, this time reflecting on whether a...more

Why Should Employers Take Pregnancy Discrimination and Accommodation Seriously? Here Are More Than 500,000 Reasons Why.

Doris worked for the Chipotle restaurant chain. And she was pregnant. After she announced her pregnancy to her supervisor, Doris claimed her boss began monitoring her bathroom breaks (then berated her for taking too long),...more

Seventh Circuit Clarifies Evidentiary Standard for Employment Discrimination Claims

In Ortiz v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit clarified its standard for evaluating evidence in employment discrimination cases and rejected prior decisions to the extent they...more

Transgender Claim Meets Dress Code

The worlds of transgender versus religious rights collided hard recently when an EEOC action on behalf of a discharged transgender worker ran full force into a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) defense, and the EEOC...more

Minister or Not? Gay Bias Case Turns on Employee’s Role

Seyfarth Synopsis: A federal judge has allowed a discrimination lawsuit to proceed against the Archdiocese of Chicago. The plaintiff alleges that his engagement to another man resulted in his termination. The church sought...more

The Seventh Circuit Clarifies Evidentiary Standards in Employment Discrimination Cases

In Ortiz v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., the Seventh Circuit stated in very clear terms that lower courts and parties to discrimination actions should not divide evidence into direct and circumstantial buckets under the familiar...more

Windsor Inn Will Pay $200,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Restaurant Owner Harassed Female Employees, Federal Agency Said - BALTIMORE - A Baltimore restaurant, R.V. Associates Limited, doing business as Windsor Inn, will pay $200,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to...more

EEOC Loses Landmark Transgender Discrimination Case

Seyfarth Synopsis: In one of the first two ever transgender discrimination cases brought by the EEOC, a federal court in Michigan granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment, finding the employer met its burden in...more

"Employment Flash - August 2016"

The August 2016 edition of Employment Flash covers a number of developments, including the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on when the clock starts ticking on the filing period for constructive discharge claims; the Department of...more

Arbitrator to Decide Whether Arbitrator to Decide

Who gets to decide who gets to decide whether a claim can be arbitrated? That was the question before the California Supreme Court—not whether a claim can be arbitrated, but who gets to decide that question? Is it an...more

Lessons in dealing with an “equal opportunity” harasser

A new opinion released by the Tenth Circuit provides practical tips to employers dealing with multiple employee complaints alleging generalized harassment and/or discrimination throughout the workplace....more

Wisconsin District Court Follows 5th Circuit: Internal Tipsters Are Not Considered “Whistleblowers” Under Dodd-Frank

On August 12, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Lamb v. Rockwell Automation Inc., No. 15-CV-1415-JPS (E.D. Wis. Aug. 12, 2016) held that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision...more

The Issues with Issue Certification

Rule 23(c)(4) has been been placed under a microscope in the past few years, largely because of the judicial response to the Supreme Court’s Comcast Corp. v. Behrend opinion, and the Rules Advisory Committee’s subsequent...more

Guns and Motorcycle Clubs Oh My! – What’s an HR Manager To Do?

Seyfarth Synopsis: A couple of Circuit Court decisions last week may cause some trepidation for your company’s HR managers as they shuffle through the off-duty activities of company employees that get brought onto the...more

Seventh Circuit Holds Title VII Does Not Prohibit Sexual Orientation Discrimination, But Acknowledges Inherent Flaws in Precedent...

In a carefully reasoned but ultimately restrained opinion the Seventh Circuit held that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation. While declining to become the first circuit...more

Seventh Circuit Holds That Title VII Does Not Cover Sexual Orientation

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Seventh Circuit has ruled that Title VII does not provide protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, the reasoning behind the Court’s ruling seems calculated to bring...more

SEC Bounty Hunters Take Heart: SEC Fines Company $265,000 for Using Severance Agreements That Provided a Waiver of any Monetary...

Wednesday, the SEC announced that an Atlanta-based company, BlueLinx Holdings, is settling charges that its severance agreements contained provisions that in its view might impede employees from communicating directly with...more

SEC Issues Cease-and-Desist Order Against Severance Agreement Clause Limiting Whistleblowers' Rights to Recover Bounty Awards

On August 10, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued a cease-and-desist Order and imposed remedial sanctions against a publicly traded company for including language in its severance agreements requiring...more

Despite employee’s concerns with speed, quality and outcome of harassment investigation, no reprisal under OHSA

Even though an employer’s harassment investigation was allegedly slow, inadequate and had a questionable outcome, the employee had not suffered a “reprisal” under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Ontario...more

The Writing is on the Wall, Yet Seventh Circuit Holds Sexual Orientation Is Not a Protected Class Under Title VII

Earlier this week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College that Title VII does not protect employees or offer redress for discrimination based on sexual orientation. As a result,...more

Employment Law Update - How Conciliatory Should You Be?

Many employers faced with a charge of discrimination have participated in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s mediation process. Employers, however, may not be as familiar with a separate EEOC process known as...more

Arbitrator, Not Court, Decides If Arbitration Agreement Allows Class Arbitration, California Supreme Court Rules

A divided California Supreme Court has held that an arbitrator, rather than a court, should determine whether an arbitration clause in an employment agreement allows employees to bring their claims in arbitration on a...more

Dunkin’ Donuts Franchise to Pay $150,000 to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Doughnut Franchise Manager Sexually Harassed Young Female Employees, Some in Their Teens, and Retaliated Against Worker Who Resisted Advances, Federal Agency Charged - NEW YORK - Hillcrest Marshall, Inc., which owns...more

Michigan Supreme Court Broadens Schools' Immunity for 1230b Reports of Unprofessional Conduct

Under Section 1230b of the School Code (MCL §380.1230b), a school or district that formerly employed a teacher is required upon request by a prospective employer to furnish information about "unprofessional conduct" in which...more

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Issues Reminder of Power of Federal Arbitration Act

In the last generation, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly promoted the policy under federal law in favor of arbitrating claims, including in the area of employment law. Among other issues, the Court has held on multiple...more

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