News & Analysis as of

Women in the Workplace

Employers interested in attracting and retaining women and promoting greater gender diversity in their executive ranks will be interested in the Wall Street Journal’s Special Report on Women in the Workplace. The Report...more

Curing Cat’s-Paw

In a Title VII retaliation claim, a plaintiff has to prove protected conduct was the “but-for” cause of the materially adverse action. Can a plaintiff prove “but-for” causation relying on the supposed retaliatory animus of...more

EEOC Sues Day & Zimmermann NPS for Unlawful Retaliation over Discrimination Charge

Power Industry Contractor Punished Worker for Filing Disability Bias Charge, Federal Agency Asserts - BOSTON -- Day & Zimmermann NPS, a provider of staffing services to the power industry, unlawfully retaliated against a...more

“Cat’s Paw” – Or Perhaps “Tiger’s Paw” Theory Now

For those interested in the origin, the term “cat’s paw” derives from a fable of a monkey who employs flattery to convince a cat to pull chestnuts out of a fire. Today the term commonly refers to a person used unwittingly or...more

Business without bias: Avoid LGBT discrimination or pay the price

It’s apparent that societal attitudes are changing toward the LGBT community. Before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, many states had already done so. In other areas, however, the legal status of...more

That is SO last week - September 2015 #2

Last week, Ellen Pao withdrew the appeal in her sex discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins. The Pao v. Kleiner Perkins trial captivated Silicon Valley as it sought to spotlight all-male company ski trips and double...more

PGR Order Offers Insight Into Successful and Unsuccessful Discovery Requests

Parties to inter partes review and post grant review proceedings have continued to struggle to find the right formula in successfully navigating the PTAB’s requirements for a motion for additional discovery. In American...more

Renaissance School to Pay $69,000 to Settle EEOC Age and Sex Bias Suit

Federal Agency Alleged School Fired Employee Because It Considered Him Too Old and Preferred Females for the Job - MILWAUKEE -The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that U.S. District...more

That is SO last week - August 2015 #4

We’ve been talking potential bias in big data for some time now, and last week’s news was full of concerns about just that. The New York Times Upshot Blog interviewed a Microsoft computer scientist on the subject; NBC News...more

Jury slaps AutoZone with $186M verdict for pregnancy bias

Earlier this summer, a California jury awarded nearly $186 million – $800,000 in compensatory damages and $185 million in punitive damages – to a former AutoZone store manager who filed suit against the auto parts retailer...more

Implicit Bias: Is Expert Testimony Admissible in Discrimination Cases?

So yesterday, I said that while the topic of implicit bias was important to understand, I indicated that it was far from settled in the legal context. One recent case demonstrates why....more

Dealing with Judicial Bias in Debt Collection Cases

Recently I was attending a pretrial conference at one of the local justice courts here in Arizona in one of the cases I have against Midland Funding, LLC. This type of court hearing is quite short (less than 5 minutes) and...more

Implicit Bias: What We Can ALL Learn About It in the Workplace

After the longest break away from this blog in 8 years (some purposeful, some not — and albeit not very long), it’s time to break from the summer doldrums and start thinking again. Last week, I had the opportunity to...more

That is SO last week - August 2015 #2

Pay was the big deal last week. A divided Securities and Exchange Commission voted to approve the CEO Pay Ratio Rule. The new rule requires publicly traded companies to disclose the ratio of their chief executive officer’s...more

Court Denies Terminated Employee’s Motion To Vacate Arbitration Award For Failure To Show Bias, Misconduct, Or Manifest Disregard

A district court refused to vacate an arbitration award where Preis, a terminated employee, failed to produce sufficient evidence of bias or misconduct in the arbitration panel’s decision. Preis moved to vacate the award in...more

Women Aren’t Lead Counsel As Often As Men – It’s Gotta Be Bias!

According to the study, based on information gained through the PACER federal court electronic filing system, 68 percent of all lawyers appearing in the 2013 civil cases were men, and 32 percent were women. But 76 percent of...more

That is SO last week - July 2015 #2

Last week, The New York Times’ The Upshot blog covered a topic that has been one of our top concerns for a while: how big data can discriminate. The post followed a Carnegie Mellon University study that reported, among many...more

What is Implicit Bias and Why Should Employers Care?

In 2014, Baker Donelson's Diversity Committee instituted a mandatory firm-wide training program on "implicit bias" which has continued into 2015. While the Firm regularly conducts training in how to prevent discrimination,...more

Diversity Matters: Note from the Editor - Implicit Bias Training

Freudian slips are commonplace mistakes in speech which are believed to reveal underlying, unconscious thoughts. Neuroscientists have shown that the unconscious mind is in control of decisions, actions and emotions 95 percent...more

Real Estate and Land Use: Party On...

Woody’s Group, Inc. v. City of Newport Beach (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 1012 - Why It Matters: Woody’s Group establishes a very low threshold to prove a decision maker’s unacceptable probability of actual bias, thereby...more

FCC Forbears “For Now” From Requiring Universal Service Contribution From Broadband Providers

Section 254(d) of the Act requires providers of “telecommunications services” to contribute to the federal Universal Service Fund (USF), which is used to subsidize telephone and broadband service in high-cost areas, for...more

District of Columbia Passes Two New Non-Discrimination Laws Impacting Employers

Earlier this week, D.C.’s Mayor signed two new measures amending the D.C. Human Rights Act (“DCHRA”) to prohibit (1) discrimination against employees of religiously-affiliated educational institutions on the basis of sexual...more

Can You Avoid a Series of “Mini-Trials” At Trial? The Fifth Circuit Says Yes by Limiting Testimony About Bias Against Co-Workers

Recently the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals approved the limitations that a trial court placed on an employee’s testimony about how his co-workers were victimized by a “pattern or practice” of age discrimination. The worker...more

Labor & Employment E-Note - January 16, 2014

In This Issue: - 13 States Set to Raise Minimum Wage, 11 More Consider Increases - EEOC Reports $372.1M in Monetary Relief for Workplace Bias Claims - N.Y.U. Graduate Assistants Vote to Affiliate with UAW -...more

After Matarraz v. State, Florida Supreme Court Makes Juror Rehabilitation As To Bias Based On “Unfortunate Past Life Experience”...

In Matarranz v. State, So. 3d, 2013 WL 5355117 (Fla. Sept. 26, 2013), the Florida Supreme Court announced a dramatic change that will have a practical effect on jury selection in Florida. After Matarranz, a prospective juror...more

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