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2019 EPLI Trends Report Published

Workplace law changes constantly. Employers and EPL carriers need to keep up with expanding risks, changing legal obligations, reason-defying jury verdicts, the #MeToo movement, and a record number of threatened and asserted claims associated with these changes. Our 2019 EPLI Trends Report gives an overview of the related risks and exposures employers and, by extension, … Continue Reading

Hospital Privileges Do Not Confer Employment Status For Purposes of Title VII Liability, Seventh Circuit Holds

Having the power to grant, deny, or revoke hospital privileges does not give rise to liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to a recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Yelena Levitin, M.D. v. Northwest Community Hospital. For almost thirteen years, Dr. Yelena Levitin had performed … Continue Reading

Court Confirms Employer Can Be Liable For Harassment By Non-Employee

Faced with a question not yet addressed by the Third Circuit, a federal judge in Pennsylvania found an employer, as well as individual managers, may be held liable for an employee’s claim of a hostile work environment based on conduct by a non-employee who had regular contact with the employee. Hewitt v. BS Transp. of … Continue Reading

Court Grants Summary Judgment Where Decision-Maker Was Unaware of Plaintiff’s Medical History

Employers often are reluctant to take adverse actions against poorly performing employees with a history of medical conditions due to the cost and risk involved in litigation (even though no federal, state or local law is intended to protect deficient job performance).   In an instance where an employer decided to discharge a worker whose job … Continue Reading

Another Circuit Prompts the Supreme Court to Resolve Title VII Sexual Orientation Claims

As the Circuits become further divided on issues of civil rights, the scope of legally protected characteristics under Title VII become harder to predict. After a recent loss in the 11th Circuit, a claimant petitioned the Supreme Court to review the 11th Circuit’s decision that “discharge for homosexuality is not prohibited by Title VII.” Bostock … Continue Reading

“Regarded As” Disability Claim Does Not Require Proof of an Employer’s Subjective Belief

Under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”), an individual meets the requirement of being “regarded as” having a disability, and thus is protected from discrimination, where his or her employer believes that he or she is substantially limited in a major life activity regardless of whether he or she actually is disabled.  Prior to … Continue Reading

Inconsistent Explanations for Adverse Action Lead to Denial of Summary Judgment

A federal district court in Pennsylvania denied the Pittston Area School District’s motion for summary judgment, finding Plaintiff offered sufficient evidence to show the District’s stated reasons for denying Plaintiff a promotional opportunity were pretextual.  Kupetz v. Pittston Area School District.  Specifically, Plaintiff claimed that the District posted one position, then during a Board meeting … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Affirms Grocery Store Employee’s Same-Sex Harassment Title VII Victory

A male employee working in the meat department of his local grocery store prevailed in his Title VII sex discrimination claim alleging an unlawful hostile environment harassment created by his male coworkers and male supervisor. Following a verdict in plaintiff’s favor at the trial court level, the employer appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals … Continue Reading

Ensuring Enforceability of Separation and Release Agreements

The Sixth Circuit recently allowed an Equal Pay Act and Title VII pregnancy discrimination suit to proceed despite the fact that plaintiff signed an agreement releasing all claims and, did not turn back the severance payment given in consideration for the release. In McClellan v. Midwest Machining, Inc., the Court relied upon the United States … Continue Reading

Failure to Hire Due to “Jewish Blood” May Constitute Race Discrimination Under Title VII

A federal magistrate in the Western District of Louisiana has issued what appears to be the first ruling under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that someone who is Jewish may be protected from race discrimination under the statute. In Bonadona v. Louisiana College, the Court ruled that an individual who was … Continue Reading

Internal Investigation Report Prepared by Outside Counsel Entitled to Work Product Protection

In Lassiter v. Hidalgo Medical Services, No. 17-00850 (D. N.M. Apr. 18, 2018), a former employee sought to compel production of outside counsel’s reports and findings of an internal investigation into harassment claims.  The discovery demand was denied, in this instance, because the Court found that the documents, which contained “factual summaries of the information … Continue Reading

Rescinding Termination May Not Defeat Retaliation Claim

Proving that non-economic damages and perhaps attorney’s fees are driving forces in litigation, constructive discharge clams were asserted and survived summary judgment in a federal district court action in Oregon. The Court’s ruling permitted a plaintiff’s retaliation claim to survive summary judgment even though the employer rescinded the termination and rehired plaintiff within 24 hours … Continue Reading

Spousal Jealousy Provides Grounds for Discrimination Claim

In a decision of apparent first impression in New York, an appellate court has ruled that the sexual jealousy of an employer’s spouse may be considered gender discrimination under New York State and New York City law (Edwards v. Nicolai).  In this case, the husband and wife were co-owners of a chiropractic office.  The practice … Continue Reading

Employment Application That Included a “Health History” Form Violated the ADA and GINA

A federal court in Missouri has held that an employer’s employment application unlawfully required job applicants to fill out a three-page “Health History” before being considered for a job, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Grisham Farm Products, Inc., Case … Continue Reading
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