Showing 8 posts from February 2015.

Abercrombie & Fitch Doesn't look too good to Supreme Court

In a case we discussed earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court did not appear impressed with Abercrombie & Fitch's recent argument that a hijab wearing applicant needed to ask for religious accommodation before they were obliged to grant it to her. News sources have reported that oral argument this past Wednesday seemed to favor Samantha Elauf's right to an accommodation even though the teenage, Muslim job applicant in Tulsa did not explicitly tell Abercrombie & Fitch that she was wearing the black head scarf for religious reasons.   More ›

Fourth Circuit Finds EEOC's Expert Report Unreliable Under Federal Rules of Evidence

As part of an employer's business in providing integrated services for high level events, it commenced background checks of all prospective employees, including credit checks for positions dealing with "credit sensitive" information. An employee who was denied a position based on the employer's credit filed suit with the EEOC. The EEOC later issued a letter of determination that the employer's background and credit checks violated Title VII. The claim was later amended to state the background and credit checks also had a disparate impact on black applicants. More ›

Department of Labor: Married Same-Sex Couples have FMLA Rights Regardless of State of Residence

The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") recently announced its Final Rule changing the definition of "spouse" in the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") to include most same-sex married couples. The Final Rule becomes effective March 27, 2015.   More ›

Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2014, California's Paid Sick Leave Law, to take Effect

—Starting July 1, 2015, California will join numerous other states in requiring employers provide employees with paid sick leave pursuant to the Health Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. More ›

Spiritual Director Doesn't have a Prayer when it Comes to her Discrimination and Termination Claims

Religious employers can rejoice once again, as yet another court upholds the ministerial exception and dismisses an employee's discrimination and termination claims.

For those who are not familiar with this defense, the ministerial exception basically says that the government cannot step in and second-guess a religious entity's decision to hire and fire its ministerial employees. Doing so would potentially violate the First Amendment and would run afoul of the separation of church and state. This means that ministerial employees of religious employers cannot sue for things like discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or termination, because that would be asking the court, in essence, to decide whether the religious employer was right in doing what it did. More ›

Supervisor not "Qualified Individual" Under ADA after Failing DOT Medical Certification

Determining the essential functions of a job can be tricky, especially if there is no information or documentation with which to compare and consider. In this case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit considered job qualifications in the context of essential functions, and ultimately found that the employee failed to demonstrate that he was qualified or could perform the essential functions of his position after failing a required DOT medical certification. As a result, he could not maintain his ADA claim against his former employer.  More ›

Supreme Court: Ordinary Contract Principles do not Allow Inference of Vesting Rights Absent Clear and Express Language

In 2000, M&G Polymers purchased the Point Pleasant Polyester Plant in Apple Grove, WV. At that time, M&G entered into a collective-bargaining agreement and a related Pension, Insurance, and Service Award Agreement (P & I Agreement) with the union. The P & I Agreement provided for medical coverage with a full employer contribution to be provided for the duration of the agreement, subject to future negotiations. When those agreements expired, M&G announced that it would require retirees to contribute to the cost of their health care benefits. Several retirees sued M&G in federal district court, alleging that the P & I Agreement created a vested right to a lifetime contribution of free healthcare benefits. More ›

Nurse's poor work Performance Outweighs Claims of Whistleblower Retaliation

Lisa Pedersen was a dialysis clinic nurse who was responsible for assessing patients, working with physicians, and administering medication to patients. Pedersen was counseled about aggression in the workplace and other performance issues, which led her to become upset and yell at her manager. During a discussion later that day, Pederson articulated, for the first time, that she had previously noticed that a box of blood samples were incorrectly packaged and that she believed them to be compromised. Pedersen then notified another manager, a customer service representative, a vice president, and an employee relations manager of the suspected compromised samples. She also advised all parties that she felt she would be retaliated against as a result of exposing the potential contamination. More ›