Hostile Environment

News & Analysis as of

Fifth Circuit Weighs In On Breadth Of The Rehabilitation Act

Recently, a split has continued among the Circuit Courts as to whether Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act permits employment discrimination suits by independent contractors. On February 1, 2016, the Fifth Circuit joined...more

Helpful Policies To Address Office Romances This Valentine’s Day

They say that “love is in the air” around Valentine’s Day, but companies should avoid breathing it in too deeply. Because office romances are prevalent, employers should take proactive steps to reduce the liability of such...more

NJ High Court Declines to Review “Borgata Babes” Case, Effectively Doubling Down on Appellate Court’s Acceptance of Atlantic City...

The BorgataBabes Are Subject to Specific Personal Appearance Standards - The Borgata, which when it opened in 2003, marketed itself as Atlantic City’s first Las Vegas-style resort and distinguished itself in the...more

New EEOC Retaliation Guidance Seeks to Further Stack the Deck Against Employers

On January 21, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its proposed changes to its guidance on workplace retaliation. These changes mark the first time the EEOC has modified its guidance in...more

Alleged Harassers' Intent Irrelevant to Hostile Environment Determination

Employers investigating allegations of workplace harassment sometimes receive explanations from the accused parties that they never meant to cause distress to the complaining employee. They justify their behavior as joking or...more

Employment Law - January 2016

Does The ADEA Permit Disparate Impact Suits by Applicants? Eleventh Circuit Says Yes - Why it matters - The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals created a circuit split with a decision that the Age Discrimination in...more

Federal Court Decision Highlights Complexities of Laws Applicable to Pregnant Employees

As the laws governing the treatment of pregnant employees and new mothers continues to evolve, one recent decision from the United States District Court for the Northern District Alabama highlights the complexities that arise...more

Hillshire Brands Company Pays $4 Million to Settle Race Discrimination Suit

African American Bakery Workers Subjected to Racist Comments and Graffiti in the Worksite, Federal Agency Charged - DALLAS - Hillshire Brands Company (formerly known as the Sara Lee Corporation) will pay $4 million to a...more

Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

The Americans with Disabilities Act, as Amended ("ADA"), and the Arizona Civil Rights Act ("ACRA") require employers with 15 or more employees to provide "reasonable accommodations" to employees with a qualifying...more

District Court Cuts The Cord To Cable Employees’ Discipline And Promotions Class Claims

In a new order issued on November 13, 2015 in Brand, et al. v. Comcast Corp., Case No. 11-CV-8471 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 13, 2015), a matter we have previously blogged on here, Judge Matthew F. Kennelly of the U.S. District Court...more

Best Practices for Preventing Workplace Harassment Claims

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held its second public meeting in Los Angeles with a group of experts selected to serve on the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in...more

Missouri Appellate Court Upholds Disproportionate Punitive Award Against One Defendant, While Tossing Punitive Award Against...

As we noted in a post earlier this year, the Missouri courts seem to produce more than their fair share of opinions on punitive damages issues. About a year ago we wrote a post addressing the errors in the Missouri Supreme...more

Anonymous Threats Cannot Be Ignored

Employee complaints based on anonymous harassment pose special problems for employers. How do you uncover the source of the problem when no one is able to identify who acted inappropriately? ...more

Federal Courts Concludes Employee Has No Sexual Harassment Claim Regardless of Flashing Incident

Joselyn Davenport, a female employee of Kelly Services, Inc. (“Kelly Services”), was assigned to work as a production associate at a manufacturing plant owned and operated by Nissan North America (“Nissan”), located in Canton...more

Missouri Appeals Court Holds Sexual Orientation Discrimination is not Prohibited by Missouri Human Rights Act

In a case of first impression at the appellate level, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District of Missouri has held that the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual...more

What is “Actionable” for Harassment Claims To Succeed

As I continue recapping various sessions from the ABA Labor & Employment Law Annual Conference last week in Philadelphia, it’s time to turn to what makes claims “actionable” under today’s harassment laws. In other words,...more

NC Court Case Demonstrates Potential of "Individual" Liability For Discrimination

In discussing the topic of employment discrimination in the workplace, much attention is generally focused on the claims that may be brought against employers and what employers can do to avoid those claims through good...more

California Court Upholds a Reduction of Attorneys’ Fees but Reverses a Reduction of Costs

In a recent, unpublished opinion Myres v. San Francisco Housing Authority, a California Court of Appeal reversed a trial court’s order reducing the amount of costs a plaintiff had claimed as a result of limited success at...more

Corporate Divorce Series: An Employment Relationship Fail

Few of us can honestly say that our job never disappoints us and the same can probably be said of personal relationships. But how do you know when you are in a failed employment relationship and what do you do about it?...more

The Employment Law Authority - September/October 2015

On October 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning new rules for extending the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for international students...more

Employment Matters Newsletter, Fall 2015

With Experimental Benefits Come Additional Legal Considerations - Corporate experimentation, combined with innovative employment practices designed to promote more flexible work environments, may be transformative. These...more

HUD Proposes “Quid Pro Quo” Rule to Amend FHA Regulations

On October 21, HUD announced a proposed rule that would formalize the standards for evaluating harassment claims in housing or housing-related transactions under the FHA. The rule – “Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment...more

Employment Law - October 2015 #2

Take the Cure: New California Law Permits Corrections of Wage Statement Violations - Why it matters: Employers may want to review their wage statements after Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law that permits them...more

Religious Institutions: October 2015

Timely Topics - A non-compete clause, covenant not to compete or restrictive covenant is a contract provision under which one party agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession, trade or business in competition...more

“Like” it or Not? Tips for Addressing Employee Social Media Use

At first, employee social media use sounds like a matter of common sense. Candidates for a job should be careful what they post on social media sites, and make sure they’re not sharing any unsavory details about their past...more

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