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Category Archives: Retaliation

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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

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

Employment Retaliation Claims – Still Alive and Well (and Potentially Dangerous)

Posted in Retaliation
Federal law and most state laws protect employees who complain about discrimination and harassment from retaliatory adverse employment actions (such as demotion or termination).  Because retaliation claims can succeed even when the underlying discrimination claims fail, they are popular with both plaintiff’s attorneys and the EEOC.  In 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued an… 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

What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt You: The Lack of Knowledge Defense in Employment Retaliation Claims

Posted in Retaliation
When it comes to minimizing the risk of employment retaliation claims, can ignorance be bliss? In today’s competitive business environment, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” may sound naïve. But in the employment retaliation context, a decisionmaker’s lack of knowledge of an employee’s complaint may provide a defense to a subsequent retaliation claim. Employers… Continue Reading