News & Analysis as of

Sex Stereotyping, Sexual Orientation Discrimination, And Federal Law – Crazy-Mixed-Up Right Now

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is dead again, so there isn’t a federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Is there any federal law on same-sex harassment or discrimination? If so, what is it?...more

Seventh Circuit Says One Use of “N-Word” Does Not Create Hostile Work Environment

Under Title VII, single acts of verbal abuse typically do not rise to the level of legally actionable harassment. Only when these behaviors are repeated over a discrete period of time will courts consider them to create a...more

Breaking Down New Regulatory and Administrative Initiatives in the L&E Space

Recently, the NLRB chair, Mark G. Pearce, confirmed that the Board will continue its emphasis on social media cases. In 2011 and 2012, NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon released three memoranda detailing the results of...more

Two May Be Company, But Two Racial Slurs in Two Days is Not Enough for a Hostile Work Environment Claim

Often an employer is forced to defend a lawsuit filed by an employee complaining that he or she was subjected to a hostile work environment based on slurs. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for...more

First Circuit Court of Appeals Holds That Employer Can be Found Liable Under Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Negligence Theory for...

In a case of first impression, the First Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an employer can be held liable under Title VII for quid pro quo sexual harassment based on the discriminatory actions of a non-supervisory...more

50 for 50: Five Decades of the Most Important Discrimination Law Developments - Number 31: Discrimination Claims are Arbitrable

Arbitration agreements are a common feature of employment relationships today, widely used as a tool for avoiding jury trials of discrimination, harassment and other employment-related disputes. But before 1991, when the...more

50 For 50: Five Decades Of The Most Important Discrimination Law Developments - Number 27: Discrimination and Harassment Policies...

Before Title VII, employee handbooks were rare and, if they existed, they were small pamphlets explaining intra-office procedures. It wasn’t until the proliferation of lawsuits under Title VII that employers began to craft...more

50 For 50: Five Decades Of The Most Important Discrimination Law Developments - Number 26: Individuals Cannot Be Liable For Title...

There are all sorts of reasons why an employee would want to avoid discrimination or harassment of co-workers or direct reports, but the one which resonates the most is the potential that the employee can be found...more

Four Hawaii Farms to Pay $2.4 Million to Thai Workers to Settle EEOC National Origin and Retaliation Employment Discrimination...

Additional Relief in the Form of Job Offers and Other Benefits Will Be Offered to Vulnerable Thai Laborers, Says Federal Agency - LOS ANGELES - Three years after filing suit against farm labor contractor Global...more

50 for 50: Five Decades of the Most Important Discrimination Law Developments - Number 15: Affirmative Action For Federal...

Within months of signing Title VII into law, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order 11246 on September 24, 1965, establishing requirements for ensuring non-discriminatory practices on four grounds (race, color,...more

50 for 50: Five Decades of the Most Important Discrimination Law Developments - Number 11: Workplace Investigations and the Good...

Allegations of employee misconduct – particularly as they relate to claims of discrimination and harassment – have been raised in the workplace ever since the Civil Rights Act was passed. But human resource executives were...more

See No Evil, Hear No Evil: See No Defense for Third-Party Harassment?

It is rare that a distinguished federal appellate court invokes the “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” approach to deciding a case, but this is exactly what happened in a recent decision involving a North Carolina based tile and...more

Court Holds Employer Can Be Liable For Harassing Actions Of Its Customer If It Does Not Take Reasonable Steps To Prevent The...

On April 29, 2014, the Fourth Circuit held that a plaintiff had triable sexual and racial harassment claims under Title VII regarding conduct by a customer of her former employer. During her employment, the plaintiff...more

Tenth Circuit Says Female Employee Who "Butted Heads" With Management Was Fired Based on Gender Stereotype

Title VII prohibits a number of different forms of sex discrimination in employment. Gender stereotyping claims have been a growing source of litigation, where plaintiffs allege that they were disciplined or terminated due to...more

Fourth Circuit Rules that Employers Can be Liable for Third Party Harassment of Their Employees

In Freeman v. Dal-Tile Corp., 2014 WL 1678422 (4th Cir. April 29, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that an employer can be liable for third party harassment of its employees. The court...more

New York Assembly Passes Bill Limiting Contractors’ Use Of Arbitration Provisions

On May 5, 2014, the New York Assembly passed a bill limiting the use of arbitration provisions for employment claims by businesses that contract with New York State. The bill would prohibit New York state agencies from...more

EEOC Issues New Guidance on Religious Dress and Grooming in the Workplace

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has recently issued an informal guidance on the issue of religious dress and grooming. The guidance comes in wake of several suits accusing employers of religious...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - April 2014

Supreme Court Confirms FICA Taxes Must be Withheld from Severance Payments - Finding severance payments to be a form of “remuneration for employment,” the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Quality Stores,...more

Two New Cases Demonstrate High Bar for Proving Sexual Harassment

Not all sex-related behavior in the workplace gives rise to an actionable claim for sexual harassment. In order to violate Title VII, the actions complained of must be unwelcomed, and must create a hostile and offensive...more

Employment Law

Second Circuit: Inability to Sit for Long Periods Can Trigger ADA Coverage - Why it matters: Can an employee’s inability to sit for a prolonged period of time constitute a disability under the Americans with...more

Utah Employment Law Letter: April 2014: Title VII: To protect and serve? Harassment claim sent back to Utah court

You may have heard the term “summary judgment.” It means that if the facts of a case are so clear that only one outcome is possible at trial, a court will forgo a trial and decide the case. This process ensures that resources...more

Hot Employment Topics For 2014- Part VII: Same-Sex Workplace Harassment-The Hazards of a "Boys Will Be Boys" Policy

This is the seventh and last of a seven-part series describing "Hot Employment Topics for 2014." Part VII focuses upon "Same-Sex Workplace Harassment." The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently...more

Another Federal Player in the Social Media Sandbox

There seems to be room in the sandbox for lots of people to play. Recent recesses have seen the NLRB dominate the discourse over the do’s and don’ts when it comes to social media and employment law. But another federal...more

Rhode Island Court Considers Harassment and Discrimination Claims Involving Alleged Harasser and Victim of the Same Sex

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island recently considered the application of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) in the context of an alleged...more

It’s a Family Affair: New York Federal Court Holds that Family Relationship May be Sufficient to Qualify Employee as a...

The employment practices risk profile for companies that employ members of the same family may have just increased as a result of Dillon v. NED Management, Inc., a decision out of the Eastern District of New York. ...more

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