Title VII Employer Liability Issues

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1964 and aimed at preventing discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, and religion. Title VII... more +
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1964 and aimed at preventing discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, and religion. Title VII has been subsequently extended to discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and sexual stereotypes and to prohibit sexual harassment. Title VII applies to all employers with fifteen or more employees including private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions.  less -
News & Analysis as of

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Hostile Work Environment Can Be Created With A Single Racial Epithet

Despite consistent direction from the United States Supreme Court that courts should look at "all the circumstances" in determining whether a workplace environment is sufficiently hostile or abusive to give rise to an...more

Transgender and Sexual Orientation Anti-Discrimination Protections — Maybe not yet the Law of the Land, but Your Policies Better...

Though most Americans do not seem to realize it, anti-discrimination legal protections in employment for transgender, gay, bisexual, and lesbian (LGBT) employees are not uniform across the U.S. In fact, the federal Employment...more

Fourth Circuit Joins Other Federal Courts in Broadly Interpreting the Scope of Title VII Retaliation Claims

On May 7, 2015, the Fourth Circuit ruled that an isolated instance of harassment, if "extremely serious," can create a hostile work environment, and that complaining about such harassment constitutes protected activity under...more

EEOC Takes On Transgender Discrimination Under Title VII

On April 21, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that the EEOC may proceed with sex discrimination claims on behalf of a transgender plaintiff. This litigation is one of two actions filed...more

Fourth Circuit Reverses Position on Single Racial Slur as Sufficient to Create Hostile Work Environment

For years, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes North Carolina and South Carolina) set a high bar for plaintiffs suing for workplace harassment. The court rejected multiple claims involving obnoxious and crude...more

The EEOC’s Minimal Conciliation Obligations

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that before bringing a discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC must first attempt to conciliate the matter with the employer; however, to comply with that obligation, the EEOC need only inform...more

Same-Sex Marriage Issues for Employers

In the case of Searcy v. Strange, 2015 WL 328825 (S.D. Ala Jan. 25, 2015), the federal Court for the Southern District of Alabama held that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Alabama news headlines have...more

Fourth Circuit Lowers the Bar in Title VII Harassment and Retaliation Cases

On May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (covering Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland) issued an opinion that potentially makes it easier for employees to survive...more

The Supreme Court Decides Mach Mining LLC vs. EEOC: A “Win” For Employers?

Last week, in Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Title VII authorizes judicial review of the EEOC’s efforts to satisfy its statutory duty to conciliate before filing suit against an employer. ...more

Social Awareness Programs: Good for Business or Legal Risk?

Despite good intentions and previous success taking a stand on contentious issues — i.e., gun control and gay marriage — a coffee company quickly realized its campaign to encourage discussions of race relations between...more

Supreme Court’s Decision in Mach Mining Impacts Employers’ Approach to Conciliation with the EEOC

In a case that has implications for every employer and respondent on each charge in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) finds reasonable cause to support the allegations, the U.S. Supreme Court...more

Employers Beware in Race Discrimination Cases

Several recent cases highlight the fact that employers should think twice before failing to properly address a Title VII complaint. Failing to do so may result in their winding up in a jury trial. That fact is most recently...more

Complaint to a Harassing Supervisor Is Enough to Support a Title VII Retaliation Claim

An employee’s harassment complaint made directly to the harassing supervisor can be sufficient “protected activity” to support a Title VII retaliation claim, the 6th Circuit ruled last week in EEOC v. New Breed Logistics....more

Sixth Circuit Finds that Verbal Demand to Supervisor to Cease Harassing Behavior is Protected Activity Under Title VII

Most practitioners know that Title VII prohibits retaliation against any employee because he or she “opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice [by the statute].”...more

Supreme Court Requires Review Of EEOC Conciliation Effort

Before suing an employer for discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) must try to remedy unlawful workplace practices through informal methods of conciliation. The EEOC sued Mach Mining in federal...more

Supreme Benchslap for EEOC

Title VII requires the EEOC to engage in “conciliation” once it issues a cause determination. The EEOC’s unique approach to conciliation, which typically is totally divorced from anything conciliatory, is the subject of this...more

Supreme Court Decision is Step Forward for Victims of Discrimination

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held today that courts may only conduct a "relatively bare-bones review" of the EEOC's conciliation efforts. "Today's decision puts the focus of the EEOC and the courts...more

More Federal Agencies Expand EEO Protection to LGBT Employees and Private Litigants Continue to File Lawsuits Based on Gender...

In my supervisor training sessions, I used to note that Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sex, with a reminder that it applies to both sexes. In recent training sessions, however, I find that section now takes a...more

Protected Title VII Conduct Can Be As Simple As Telling Your Boss to Stop Harassing You

The Sixth Circuit recently ruled “a demand that a supervisor cease his/her harassing conduct constitutes protected activity covered by Title VII,” so that employees who tell a boss to stop harassing them are protected from...more

Employment Law 101: Sex Discrimination

Who does it apply to: The law applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. What is the issue: Title VII was passed in the 1960s to protect against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national...more

EEOC Not Required to Identify Aggrieved Individual in Title VII Race Discrimination Claim

On April 7, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois held that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") is not required to identify an aggrieved individual in order to pursue a race...more

EEOC Sues Renaissance School for Age and Sex Discrimination

School Fired Male Employee Because of His Age and Gender, Federal Agency Charges - MILWAUKEE - Renaissance School, Inc., of Racine, Wis., an owner and operator of government-funded private schools, violated federal law...more

Recent Case Reminds Schools of First Amendment and Title VII Responsibilities in Employment Context

Recently, the Northern District of Illinois issued its opinion in Wong v. Board of Education of Community Consolidated School District 15. Although the court’s decision does not address novel arguments or depart from prior...more

Time to Revisit English Only Rules

Employers have long understood that rules prohibiting employees from speaking languages other than English are subject to attack by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC’s position is that a rule...more

Fifth Circuit Declines to Clarify When an Employment Action is “Adverse” Enough to Support a Discrimination Claim

When presented with an employment discrimination claim, one of the early questions any agency or court must answer is whether the claimant has suffered an “adverse employment action.” Simply stated, even if a discriminatory...more

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