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Showing 69 posts in Title VII.

Title VII Enforcement Powers Against Employers Clarified by EEOC Opinion Letter

On Thursday, September 3, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an Opinion Letter shedding light on the agency's own ability to sue employers under Section 707(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The letter clarifies two notable areas for employers. First, the EEOC does not have broad authority to file a civil lawsuit against an employer under Title VII without a finding of discrimination or retaliation. Second, the EEOC must follow procedural guidelines—investigate a charge of discrimination, find reasonable cause, attempt to remedy such practice by conciliation—before a civil lawsuit may be filed. More ›

Medical Staff Member Deemed Independent Contractor, Not Eligible for Title VII Protection

When assessing potential exposure for their employer-clients under federal labor and employment statutes, employment and health care attorneys often must start with the basics. That determination of employment status becomes even more important in medical facilities, such as hospitals, which have multiple and complex levels of workers with varying levels of skills and responsibilities. This is especially true with independent medical staff members who may have other contractual relationships with hospitals—such as recruitment agreements or administrative services contracts—which can complicate these questions.

The Ninth Circuit recently confronted such a situation when deciding whether an independent member of the medical staff, who had a separate recruitment agreement as well as an on-call services agreement, was an employee or independent contractor. This decision is important for the litigants, because independent contractors ordinarily are not covered by Title VII. More ›

Eleventh Circuit Rejects Retaliation Claim Because HR Manager's Conduct was "Unreasonable" and Not Protected Under Title VII

In Gogel v. Kia Motors Mfg. of Ga., the Eleventh Circuit examined Title VII's opposition clause and the extent to which "oppositional conduct" can be considered so unreasonable that it loses Title VII protection. In this case, Kia fired its HR manager for strongly encouraging an employee to file a discrimination lawsuit against the company. Once terminated, the HR manager sued the company for retaliation, arguing that her actions were protected by Title VII's opposition clause. The court rejected the argument and the claim, handing a victory to employers. More ›

SCOTUS Decides Title VII Protects LGBTQ+ Workers

In a historic 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States held that an employer who discriminates against an employee merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII. 590 U. S. ____ (2020). This landmark decision provides LGBTQ+ employees across the nation protection from termination or other employment discrimination because of their LGBTQ+ status. The Supreme Court's decision resolved three cases: Altitude Express v. Zarda; Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia; and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC. Justice Gorsuch delivered the opinion in which Justices Roberts, Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Kavanaugh also filed a dissenting opinion. More ›

District Court Permits Walmart to "Rollback" Job Offer Because of Undue Hardship from a Religious Accommodation

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin recently addressed an employer's responsibilities to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs. In EEOC v. Walmart Stores East, LP, the court examined whether Walmart was required to accommodate a candidate for an assistant manager position who informed Walmart—after he received his offer—that he could not work on Saturdays due to his religion. Walmart ultimately withdrew the offer of employment, but offered the employee the opportunity to seek a non-management position as well as the assistance of human resources in his job search. The employee refused Walmart's offer and asserted claims of religious discrimination and retaliation under Title VII. More ›

Federal Court Allows ADEA Disparate Impact Claims over Employer Policies to Proceed

Ever since the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Smith v. City of Jackson, plaintiff employment lawyers have struggled with how best to assert a viable claim of disparate impact age discrimination. The concept of disparate impact discrimination was recognized by the Supreme Court decades ago in Griggs v. Duke Power, which established that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it unlawful—even if facially neutral—for employer practices to have a materially adverse impact on a protected group, unless the neutral practice is supported by business necessity. More ›

New York Passes Significant Amendments to Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Law

In an effort to align its legislation with the broader standards of the New York City Human Rights Law, New York State recently passed an amended anti-harassment bill which will significantly impact how employers handle harassment claims. Governor Cuomo signed the bill on August 12, 2019. Many of the new provisions, if not already in effect, will be effective within sixty days. All employers will be subjected to the new amendments, regardless of the number of employees. More ›

Employer Alert: SCOTUS Holds That EEOC Charge Processing Rules can be Waived by a Defendant Since they are not Jurisdictional

On June 3, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States made a ruling that employers and their legal counsel need to be aware of. In Fort Bend County v. Davis, the Supreme Court ruled that the charge-filing requirements for EEOC discrimination claims filed under Title VII, including that Act's scope of charge and filing rules, are not jurisdictional and instead are claims processing rules which can be waived by a defendant if not timely raised in federal court proceedings. This decision resolves a split among multiple federal Circuit Courts which have confronted the issue. More ›

SCOTUS Will Decide Whether Title VII Protects LGBTQ Workers

After considerable anticipation, the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear three cases involving questions of whether Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination encompasses discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The first two cases, Altitude Express v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, were brought by employees who alleged their employers terminated their employment after learning they were gay. The Court's decision will resolve a widening circuit split over whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In Altitude Express, the Second Circuit joined the Seventh Circuit in holding it does cover sexual orientation, overturning longstanding precedent in the process. The court reasoned "the most natural reading of the statute's prohibition on discrimination 'because of . . . sex' is that it extends to sexual orientation discrimination because sex is necessarily a factor in sexual orientation." In Bostock, the Eleventh Circuit held it does not, explaining it remained bound by a 1979 case holding "[d]ischarge for homosexuality is not prohibited by Title VII." More ›

Uniform Application of Employment Policies Leads to Positive Outcome in Employee’s Suit

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently explained that an employee’s inconvenience from a neutral workplace policy or the employer’s discretionary denial of benefits cannot support a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”), or the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). More ›

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