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Category Archives: Discrimination

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How the EEOC is Cracking Down on Equal Pay Act Violations in the Food Service Industry

Posted in Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
With the prevalence of gender discrimination lawsuits in the media and the increasing number of equal pay laws nationwide, employers in the food services industry would be wise to review their hiring and payroll practices as soon as possible to ensure that they are not unlawfully contributing to the gender pay gap, or otherwise retaliating… Continue Reading

New Jersey Update: What Phil Murphy’s Election Could Mean for Employers and Employees

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Leave Management, Government, Medical Marijuana, Minimum Wage, New Jersey Law, Wage & Hour
Yesterday, Democrat Phil Murphy won the race for New Jersey governor, easily defeating Republican Kim Guadagno. Democrats also retained their majorities in both the state Senate and Assembly.  When Murphy is sworn in next January, he will have the opportunity to change laws impacting the workplace.  Here are some areas for employers and employees in… Continue Reading

Employer-Mandated Fingerprinting May be Religious Discrimination

Posted in Civil Rights, Discrimination, Reasonable Accommodation, Religious Discrimination, Retaliation, Terminations, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Workplace Policies
Sincerely believing that fingerprinting is “the mark of the devil” may be enough to sue your employer for religious discrimination and retaliation in federal district court. On Monday, October 30th, Western District of Pennsylvania Judge Kim R. Gibson issued an Order declining to dismiss such a lawsuit at the initial, pleadings stage of litigation. The… Continue Reading

What #MeToo Means for Employers: Workplace Harassment in the Age of Awareness

Posted in Civil Rights, Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Harassment, Retaliation, Social Media, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Workplace Investigations, Workplace Policies
This past Sunday, actress Alyssa Milano posted the following message on Twitter: Me too. Suggested by a friend: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ As a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Since Ms. Milano’s original tweet, the hashtag #MeToo… Continue Reading

Feats of Strength: EEOC sues CSX for Employee Strength Tests as Gender Discrimination Under Title VII

Posted in Civil Rights, Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Government, Hiring, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Workplace Policies
The EEOC recently filed suit against CSX Transportation, Inc. (“CSX”) in Federal Court in West Virginia, on behalf of a nationwide class of female employees.[1]  In the suit, the EEOC alleges that CSX’s policy of requiring employees and job applicants to pass certain physical strength tests in order to be eligible for certain positions has… Continue Reading

Back to School, Back to Work – Parental and Family Rights in the Workplace

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Leave Management, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Family Medical Leave Act, Paid Sick Leave, Parental Leave, Workplace Policies
The end of August marks the beginning of the yearly “back to school” ritual.  Working parents in particular are hoping for a smooth transition, as this is also the time of year when vacations end and workloads tend to pick up.  But as those of us with children know, balancing work and family responsibilities can… Continue Reading

Political Speech, Discrimination and the Law: How Employers Should Respond to Charlottesville

Posted in Cat's Paw Liability, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Diversity, General Labor and Employment News and Updates, Political Discrimination, Social Media, Terminations, Workplace Policies
The recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia and other news regarding the activities of white supremacists and similar groups, have served as a rude awakening for many that our national reality has shifted. These events, which occurred in the public square and have been widely documented through social media, are unfortunate examples of bigoted and… Continue Reading

Transgender Restroom Dispute Continues, Despite North Carolina “Deal” To Overturn Controversial “Bathroom Bill”

Posted in Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Gender Identity, LGBTQ Employees, Workplace Policies
On Thursday March 30, 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 142, which repealed North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2. As previously reported by HR Legalist, House Bill 2 was signed into law on March 23, 2016, and prohibited local government from permitting transgender individuals to use public bathrooms that aligned with their sex or… Continue Reading

Federal Court of Appeals Rules that Civil Rights Law Protects LGBT Workers from Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Posted in Discrimination, LGBTQ Employees, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made history by extending the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to LGBT individuals in the workforce when it held that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.” In Tuesday’s 8-3 decision, the… Continue Reading

Of Public Schools and Private Employers: Trump Reverses Direction on Male, Female and Gender Neutral Restrooms

Posted in Discrimination, Gender Identity, LGBTQ Employees, Workplace Policies
Overview Employers are caught, once again, between agency pronouncements and White House actions. While President Trump commented on the campaign trail that transgender people should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate,” he appears to have rethought this position as commander-in-chief.… Continue Reading

Department of Justice’s Holiday Treat: A New Final Rule for Employers

Posted in Discrimination, Immigration, IRCA
As the saying goes, “No news is good news,” and HRLegalist is happy to report today that the final rule introduced this week by the Department of Justice, just in time for the holidays, introduces no new requirements for employers, which is about as good a gift as we can expect from the federal government!… Continue Reading

“Backlash Discrimination” and “Complex Employment Relationships” at the Heart of the EEOC’s 2017-2021 Strategic Enforcement Plan

Posted in Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
On October 17, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC” or “Commission”) unveiled the adoption of its 2017-2021 Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”). The SEP, which was approved by a 3-2 vote, outlines the Commission’s goals and strategies for enforcing the anti-discrimination laws under its purview for the next four years. On the whole, the… Continue Reading

One Expensive Bottle of Orange Juice: Denial of a $1.69 Orange Juice Costs Dollar General $277, 565 in Back Pay and Damages

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Workplace Policies
On September 16, 2016, a Tennessee jury awarded Linda Atkins, a former Dolgencorp LLC (“Dollar General” or the “Company”) Sales Associate, $277,565 in back pay and compensatory damages after being fired for drinking orange juice prior to paying the $1.69 cost to prevent a diabetic episode.… Continue Reading

Pokémon No! A Strategy Guide on Handling the Latest Smartphone Craze in the Workplace

Posted in Discrimination, Uncategorized
Although Pokémon Go is only 21 days young, over 30 million users have downloaded and played the augmented reality game on their smartphones.  In the latest release of the pocket monster franchise, your mission is to capture and train pokémon—facsimiles of real and fictional creatures ranging from caterpillars and pigeons to electric mice and water… Continue Reading

Spring Forward: Constructive Discharge Clock Doesn’t Start Until Employee Gives “Definite Notice” of Intent to Resign

Posted in Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Terminations
On Monday, the Supreme Court resolved a circuit split over the deadline for employees to pursue their administrative remedies in connection with constructive discharge claims under Title VII.  Generally, employees must file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC no later than 180 days from the date that the alleged discrimination took place. This deadline… Continue Reading

Lawsuit Bait: Reimagining the Revenant in Today’s Litigious World

Posted in Discrimination, Family Medical Leave Act, OSHA
Although the Oscars are eleven days away, it seems that the online collective of paid critics, amateur bloggers, and self-professed film buffs has already announced the “rightful winners.”  Whatever the Academy Awards Committee officially decides, the court of public opinion has long since pulled the Oscar bait off the hook and separated the wheat from… Continue Reading

Third Circuit Issues Employer-Friendly Ruling in Discrimination and Retaliation Case

Posted in Cat's Paw Liability, Discrimination, Retaliation
On August 12, 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedential opinion in Jones v. SEPTA, a discrimination and retaliation claim brought by a former employee of the Philadelphia-area transit agency. The Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the employee’s claims, and addressed two key legal issues: (1) whether suspensions with pay are… Continue Reading

Unpaid Interns: The New Category of Employees?

Posted in Discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Unpaid Interns
The fiery debate over the employment status of and protections afforded to unpaid interns is alive and well! It appears that Congress is continuing the trend of providing additional workplace protections to unpaid interns.  On Monday, July 27, 2015, Representative Elijah Cumming (D-Md.) introduced three separate pieces of proposed legislation aimed at preventing workplace discrimination against… Continue Reading

EEOC Rules Sexual Orientation a Protected Category Under Title VII

Posted in Discrimination, Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Jumping on the coattails of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage, the EEOC has found that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Currently, there is no federal statute that explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,… Continue Reading

NLRB Rules that Racism is a Protected Activity

Posted in Discrimination, NLRB
Although no one reading this article would disagree with the premise that employers cannot and should not tolerate bigotry from anyone in their workforce, the NLRB apparently thinks otherwise.  In a troubling decision handed down earlier this month, National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) Administrative Law Judge Thomas M. Randazzo ruled that Cooper Tire & Rubber… Continue Reading

Video Interview: Terri Gillespie Discusses Workplace Policies for Transgender Employees with LXBN TV

Posted in Discrimination, Workplace Policies
Following up on our recent post on the subject, Terri Gillespie had the opportunity to discuss workplace policies for transgender employees with Colin O’Keefe of LXBN. In the interview, Ms. Gillespie discusses what policies employers should have in place and the accommodations that should be made.… Continue Reading

More than Just a TV Show: How Bruce Jenner’s Story Sheds Light on the Importance of Workplace Policies for Transgender Employees

Posted in Discrimination, Workplace Policies
Last month in a nationally televised interview, U.S. Olympic icon Bruce Jenner revealed to the world that he is a transgender woman.  While the coming out process for the rest of the nearly 700,000 transgender Americans may not garner the attention that Jenner’s announcement did, it is very likely that these individuals must come out… Continue Reading

Anatomy of a (Big) Employment Verdict: Lessons from the Robertson Case

Posted in Discrimination, Retaliation
Last week, a federal jury in Pittsburgh awarded a former manufacturing employee, Sandra Robertson, over $13 million in damages in a gender discrimination and retaliation claim against her former employers, Hunter Panels LLC (“Hunter”) and its parent company (Robertson v. Hunter Panels, LLC et al.).  The bulk of this verdict was the $12.5 million that… Continue Reading

More than Just a Fable – Why the “Cat’s Paw” Matters for Employers

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Cat's Paw Liability, Discrimination, Retaliation, Terminations, Workplace Policies
The Fable “The Monkey and the Cat” is a fable (dating back to the 17th century or perhaps earlier) about a monkey who persuades a cat to pull chestnuts from the embers of a fire, only to take the reward for himself and leave the cat nursing a burnt paw.  The fable is the source… Continue Reading