The morning after any kind of mass violence playing on loop on every media outlet poses unique challenges to employers and managers. Not only can workplace conversations turn uncomfortable and potentially inappropriate, but trauma that is not adequately addressed can have a direct impact on workplace productivity. How can an employer respond to emotional discussions while being sensitive to employees whose racial, religious, sexual, or ethnic identity was a focus of the underlying attacks and is a subject of media attention?
Articles Discussing General Issues Under Title VII.
In less than 18 months of employment, Evangeline Parker received six promotions. Then rumors circulated that Parker’s precipitous rise through the ranks “must” have been because she was sleeping with her boss. When Parker complained about the rumors and confronted the employee who allegedly started the rumors, she was terminated. Reversing the district court’s dismissal of the lawsuit, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Parker v. Reema Consulting Services, held that such rumors could form the basis of a sexual harassment claim in violation of Title VII.
What is an “adverse action”? In the workplace some may think that it is only when someone is fired. However, much more falls under the “adverse action” umbrella. What about denying an employee a training opportunity
A federal district court in New York analyzed what constitutes an adverse action in an employment context.
In this three-part series, we are exploring best practices for handling a charge of discrimination. The first part of the series addressed important preliminary questions you should be asking upon initial receipt of the charge. The second part dealt with best practices for the investigation phase of the administrative process. This final part of the series will address what you should do once the EEOC issues its finding.
So you’ve just received a charge of discrimination from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or a local agency. Now what? In this three-part series, we will explore best practices for handling a charge.
The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an interesting decision finding that the actions of an employer’s peer review committee did not constitute an adverse employment action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This decision was driven by the specific facts presented to the court, so it does not necessarily signal a trend toward peer review actions being treated in this manner in Title VII cases. Visit our EPL Risk Mitigation blog to learn more about this decision.
Executive Summary: On June 1, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Jefferson v. Sewon America, Inc., No. 17-11802, held that the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework does not apply to discrimination claims where the plaintiff offered direct evidence of discrimination, even though the plaintiff herself called her evidence circumstantial and analyzed her claims under that framework. Jefferson is part of the Eleventh Circuit’s recent trend of reducing the burden on employment discrimination plaintiffs at the summary judgment stage, making it easier for them to proceed to trial before a jury.
When an employer receives a charge of discrimination from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a state agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws, it is important that the charge be handled properly. That is because administrative charges are often followed by discrimination lawsuits.
Plaintiff-employees cannot pursue a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Section 1983) for rights created under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal appeals court in Philadelphia has held in a case of first impression for the Third Circuit. Williams v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, et al., No. 16-4383 (3d Cir. Aug. 30, 2017). The Court joins seven other circuits to have considered the issue and came to the same conclusion.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit clarified its standard relating to rescinding terminations, and more specifically, how they interpret “adverse consequences.” The issue came before the court in a matter where an employee returned from her honeymoon, visibly pregnant, and was told that her position was going to be eliminated within a few weeks. Shortly thereafter, the employee retained an attorney and notified her employer of the same. Several days later, the employer rescinded her termination and reinstated her position. When analyzing rescinding termination claims under Title VII, the standard is to determine if the reinstatement had any lasting “adverse consequences.” Various circuit courts and lower courts have historically considered whether the employee was restored to the same salary, benefits, and title when reinstated in order to determine if there were adverse consequences to the employee. If the same material conditions were reinstated, courts would not recognize adverse consequences. Here, the employee did not claim any difference in salary, title, or benefits and therefore, the lower court ruled that the employee incurred no adverse consequences.
On May 19, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in CRST, Inc. v. EEOC, which addressed the definition of a “prevailing party” who may be awarded attorneys’ fees in Title VII cases. Although the Court ultimately remanded the case to the Eighth Circuit on other grounds, it unanimously held that a favorable ruling on the merits of a Title VII case is “not a necessary predicate to find that a defendant has prevailed.” A boon to employers, this decision enables defendants to recover attorneys’ fees and costs under Title VII for frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless claims when such claims are disposed of on any grounds, regardless of whether those grounds are merit-based or procedural.
In Butler v. Drive Auto. Indus. of Am., Inc., the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over North and South Carolina) joined the majority of federal appellate courts in holding that multiple entities may simultaneously be considered the employers of an employee for purposes of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
A paid suspension “typically” does not constitute an “adverse employment action” under the substantive provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Section 703), the federal appeals court in Philadelphia has held in a case of first impression for the circuit, joining other courts that have ruled on the issue. Jones v. SEPTA, No. 14-3814, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14094 (3d Cir. Aug. 12, 2015). The Court, however, declined to address whether a paid suspension could constitute an adverse employment action in the retaliation context under Title VII (Section 704). The Third Circuit has jurisdiction over Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
At the end of the Supreme Court’s term in June, we blogged about a housing discrimination case that might be used by employers to limit disparate impact liability. Texas Dept. of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015). Less than two months later, a divided three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit cited Inclusive Communities’ limitations in an employment matter. Abril-Rivera v. Johnson (1st Cir. July 30, 2015).