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Showing 4 posts in Marital Discrimination.

Seventh Circuit Opinion Highlights Importance of Proactively Addressing and Documenting Employee Performance

Every employer has faced the unfortunate experience of hiring an employee whose performance fell well below expectation. As highlighted in the Seventh Circuit’s recent Ferrill v. Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District decision, employers faced with poor performing employees should carefully address and document such shortcomings to ward off potential Title VII charges. 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 direct and indirect methods of proving discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court’s instruction should apply with equal force to claims brought under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. More ›

EEOC’s Updated Retaliation Enforcement Guidance Seeks to Expand the Reach of its Anti-Retaliation Laws

Effectively responding to employee discrimination complaints by current employees without running afoul of federal and state anti-retaliation laws presents a slippery slope for all employers. In fact, retaliation complaints make up nearly half of all discrimination charges filed with the EEOC today. Thus, it is critical that employers, their managers, supervisors, and employees understand who the laws protect and what constitutes retaliation.

On Thursday the EEOC sought to clarify these standards by issuing updated proposed enforcement guidance. The proposal is the first update to the EEOC’s Compliance Manual since 1998. The proposal was prompted by significant developments in the law and the marked increase of retaliation claims over the last eighteen years.

The 76-page proposal covers the definition of retaliation, the elements of a retaliation claim, interference claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, remedies, and best practices.  Rather than summarize all of the above, I will highlight the most significant developments below. More ›

Employers Should be Aware of State Laws Prohibiting Marital Status Discrimination

Although no federal law prohibits discrimination by private employers based on marital status, a number of state laws include such status as a protected class. The Minnesota Supreme Court recently considered a case where a husband and wife worked for the same employer. The husband, employed as the company’s president, offered to resign his employment. The wife, employed as a sales and marketing coordinator, was terminated shortly thereafter. The company’s CEO told the wife that he would like to terminate her because “she would be uncomfortable or awkward remaining employed” after her husband left the company. The CEO also told her that her position was going to be eliminated because she would likely relocate with her husband. The wife then sued the employer, alleging marital status discrimination in violation of Minnesota law. The employer argued that a claim for marital discrimination must be supported by a finding that the termination was an act “directed at the institution of marriage” and claimed that the employee had been fired for legitimate business-related reasons. The Minnesota Supreme Court held that a claim for marital discrimination does not require that an employee prove a direct attack on the institution of marriage. The Court instead determined that “marital status” includes “protection against discrimination on the basis of the identity, situation, actions, or beliefs of a spouse or former spouse.” Importantly, this means that an anti-nepotism policy prohibiting employment of married couples by a company is illegal in Minnesota. Many other states, including California, Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin, also prohibit marital status discrimination. This decision is a reminder that all employers, and especially national employers, should review and update their anti-nepotism and anti-discrimination policies to ensure compliance with state laws.

Taylor v. LSI Corporation of America, Case No. A09-1410 (Minn. Apr. 13, 2011)