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Cincinnati and Boston to Ban Discrimination Against Natural Hair

In February 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights amended the New York City Human Rights Law to ban discrimination against natural hairstyles as part of the Law’s prohibition against race or color discrimination. This past July, California created the CROWN Act (“Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” (SB 188)) … Continue Reading

New York State Further Expands Anti-Discrimination Laws

In addition to the laws expanding sexual harassment liability, the New York State Legislature also passed last week three laws that will bar employers from inquiring about applicants’ salary history, prohibit wage differentials based on protected class status, and ban race discrimination based on hairstyle.  For a complete review, see our article by clicking here.… Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Confirms Higher Standard for Harassment at a “Place of Public Accommodation”

Under the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”), the statute prohibits “places of public accommodation” discriminating against individuals on the basis of sex, race, national origin, and sexual orientation. RCW 49.60.215. “Places of public accommodation” is broadly defined and includes all facilities or businesses used by or open to the public. Sexual harassment is a … Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Rules Landlords Can Be Liable for Tenants’ Discriminatory Conduct

Just when landlords and their insurers thought that their obligations couldn’t get broader, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the federal Fair Housing Act’s anti-discrimination requirement extends to every part of the housing relationship, including discrimination by another tenant (not by the landlord) that occurs after the sale or rental transaction is completed. Francis … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Reinstates Use of Revised EEO-1 Form, Effective Immediately

A U.S. District Court has immediately restored the prior directives of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Office of Management and Budget requiring use of a revised EEO-1 form where employers with at least 100 employees have to report detailed information on their employees’ wages and hours, broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity.  For … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Rules on Sexual Misconduct Case

The Sixth Circuit recently held, in Doe v. Baum, that a public university violated the Due Process Clause and Title IX when it did not allow a student accused of sexual misconduct to conduct a cross-examination of the claimant during university-run proceedings. The Court ruled that since the public university had to “choose between competing … Continue Reading

Agreement’s Requirement To Forego Claims Of Future Discriminatory Conduct May Constitute A Materially Adverse Action

In Lester v. O’Rourke, the United States District Court for the North District of Illinois held that Plaintiff is entitled to trial on his Title VII retaliation claim after he signed a Last Chance Agreement (“LCA”) that settled pending Title VII claims and also waived claims that might be asserted if the employer disciplined or … Continue Reading

Washington Law Limits Employer’s Right to Plaintiff’s Medical Records in Discrimination Cases

Effective June 7, 2018, employers defending claims brought under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination are constricted in their ability to obtain a plaintiff’s medical records, and are entitled to do so only if the plaintiff: (1) alleges a specific diagnosable physical or psychiatric injury as a proximate result of the defendant’s alleged conduct; (2) relies on … Continue Reading

Neutral Hiring Practices Can Still Result in a Valid Discrimination Claim

Under the theory of “disparate impact,” even facially neutral policies can result in claims of discrimination when a “protected group” suffers a statistical disadvantage vis a vis another group (i.e., the rule of thumb is a twenty-percent disadvantage).  For example, in Andreana v. Virginia Beach City of Public Schools, the United States District Court of … Continue Reading

Unplug: Will Employees Soon Have The “Right to Disconnect?”

If a proposed law is enacted by the New York City Council, employers would be prohibited from requiring employees to check and respond to email or other electronic communications during non-work hours. The bill allows for exceptions in “cases of emergency” and would require employers to publish a written policy governing work-related communications during non-work … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines to Review Seventh Circuit Case Finding Extended Leave of Absence Is Not a Reasonable Accommodation

The United States Supreme Court declined to review a decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that held a two-to-three month leave of absence following the exhaustion of leave under the Family and Medical Leave was not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc.  For more information on the … Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Sexual Orientation Discrimination Covered by Title VII

In a divided en banc opinion, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that sexual orientation discrimination is covered by Title VII’s ban on gender discrimination.   Deepening a Circuit split within the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the Second Circuit adopted the reasoning of the Seventh Circuit in Hively v. Ivy Tech Cmty. College of Ind., … Continue Reading

NLRB Vacates Last Year’s Joint Employer Standard

In an unusual reversal, the NLRB today vacated its 2017 decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd., that set a new standard for determining joint employer liability.  The Board decision arose due to an inspector general report that faulted board member William Emanuel for improperly participating in the Hy-Brand case.  For a more in depth discussion … Continue Reading

Litigations Filed By EEOC Increased In FY 2017 Despite Reduction In Number of Charges Filed

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR), the EEOC filed more than double the number of discrimination lawsuits against employers in FY 2017 than in F^2016. The Agency filed 184 lawsuits in FY 2017 as compared to only 86 in FY 2016.  Thirty of these 184 cases involved … Continue Reading

Tips For Conducting Year-End Performance Evaluations

Holiday parties aren’t the only thing your employees are buzzing about this time of year – ‘tis the season for year-end performance evaluations! Performance evaluations, when used properly, are a powerful tool for constructive feedback and support for favorable and adverse personnel actions. Below are the tips employers should keep in mind when completing performance … Continue Reading

Congressional Bill: Joint Employer Liability May Become More Limited

The EPL industry rightfully has been concerned about the NLRB’s and courts’ expansion of liability from the seeming employer to those with relationships to that entity.  Franchisors increasingly were exposed to liability for franchisees’ alleged misconduct and contractors were being served with lawsuits alleging discrimination by subcontractors or staffing agencies.  This expansionist trend may be … Continue Reading

U.S. Court of Appeals Decision Highlights Importance of Carefully Drafting Release Agreements

In Zuber v. Boscov’s, the Third Circuit narrowly interpreted a release agreement to permit the plaintiff to pursue a claim under the FMLA for interference and wrongful termination.  The employer moved to dismiss on the basis that his claims were barred by a previously-entered Compromise and Release Agreement (“C&R”) settling his workers’ compensation claim.  The C&R … Continue Reading
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