Executive Summary: In a groundbreaking opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts in Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller, P.L.L.C., the United States Supreme Court held that damages for emotional distress are not recoverable in a private action for discrimination brought pursuant statutes governing those receiving federal funding enacted pursuant to the Spending Clause. There are four such statutes for those receiving federal funding: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits race, color and national origin discrimination; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in schools; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Rehab Act”) prohibits disability discrimination; and the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age by healthcare entities.
Articles Discussing Employer Liability Under Title VII.
When facing a wrongful termination/retaliation claim, the organization and detail of an employer’s files will be put to the test. In a recent decision, an employer maintained well-documented, detailed files which helped to prove that a termination was not retaliatory. In Lacey v. Norac, Inc., the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment to an employer in a retaliation claim under Title VII based on allegations that the employee was terminated for refusing to sign an affidavit on the employer’s behalf.
Advancements in technology and software can help employers track employee productivity. But what happens when an employee’s medical condition influences her ability to use an employer’s technology?
An employer that refused to hire an applicant based on a positive pre-employment drug test was entitled to summary judgment on the applicant’s race discrimination and civil conspiracy claims despite the applicant’s argument that the company safety officer cancelled his split specimen drug test due to discriminatory animus, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Turner v. Hirschbach Motor Lines, Case No. 15-3263 (7th Cir. Apr. 24, 2017).
The Second Circuit has expanded a theory of liability that can be asserted against employers. Previously, the Second Circuit had not ruled on whether an employer can be held liable for the actions of a lower-level employee with a discriminatory motive who manipulates an unwitting manager or employer into engaging in an adverse employment action. In Vazquez v. Empress Ambulance Service, Ms. Vazquez accused a co-worker of sexual harassment and outlined in detail obscene and blatant actions taken by the co-worker that constituted sexual harassment.
The United States Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in the matter of Vance v. Ball State University (Docket No. 11-556) on November 26, 2012, a case which is poised to resolve an important split among federal circuits and could reshape the scope of supervisor liability in sexual harassment and discrimination cases.