Archives: Discrimination

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New York City Council gives the green light to a ban on marijuana testing for job applicants

On April 9, 2019, New York City Council passed a bill amending the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), to bar NYC employers from testing prospective employees for marijuana use. The Bill comes in the wake of the City’s efforts to reduce the legal consequences of marijuana use, including reducing arrests and prosecutions for … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit holds that comparators in discrimination cases must be “similarly situated in all material respects”

On March 21, 2019, the full en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit clarified that in order to establish a prima facie case of workplace discrimination through alleged preferential treatment of a comparator outside the plaintiff’s protected class, a plaintiff must show that the alleged comparator is “similarly situated in all material … Continue Reading

New York City Commission on Human Rights issues new guidance on race discrimination on the basis of hairstyle

On February 19, 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) issued new enforcement guidance regarding (1) policies that place restrictions, or ban, naturally curly hair, dreadlocks, braids and cornrows, among other hairstyles; or (2) neutral grooming policies that are discriminatorily applied to employees based on aspects of their appearance associated with race. … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit judge asserts Title VII does not prohibit sexual orientation and transgender discrimination

On February 6, 2019, the Fifth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of an employer on claims that it discriminated against the plaintiff based on her transgender status. In Wittmer v. Phillips 66 Company, the plaintiff sued Phillips 66 Company for sex discrimination under Title VII in the Southern District of Texas, claiming that the … Continue Reading

New York Federal Court lays down the law: Employees cannot invoke NYCHRL’s broad protections when impact of discrimination is felt outside NYC

In Amaya v. Ballyshear LLC, et al., a case before a New York Federal District Court, Nelly Amaya, a Long Island resident, alleged that her former employers engaged in unlawful discrimination and retaliation, in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). Amaya’s employers argued that Amaya failed to show that their alleged … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit limits ADEA’s scope, but beware state law

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed its prior decision and upheld an Illinois district court ruling that the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) does not protect job applicants from disparate impact claims. But beware, as this seemingly apparent win for employers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin may drive … Continue Reading

New Jersey Legislature Considering Bill Prohibiting Waiver of Employees’ Rights Under Discrimination Laws

The New Jersey Legislature is considering a bill with potentially far-reaching implications for employment contracts and agreements resolving discrimination, harassment or retaliation claims. Bill S121/A1241 precludes the waiver of rights or remedies related to any claim of discrimination, retaliation or harassment in “employment contracts,” and specifies that rights and remedies under the New Jersey Law … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds Title VII Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination, Advancing the Circuit Split

In a recent en banc decision issued on February 26, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition against sex discrimination in employment includes discrimination based on sexual orientation. The case, Zarda v. Altitude Express, makes clear that employees working within … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Finds No ADA Violation Where Employee Deemed Unfit for Duty

On Tuesday August 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a claim for disability discrimination, where the plaintiff was deemed psychologically unfit for duty and subsequently had his employment terminated. The Third Circuit’s decision provides guidance for employers regarding the extent of their obligations to accommodate employees under … Continue Reading

EEOC Determination: Denial of Transition-Related Health Care Benefits Violates Title VII Rights of Transgender Employees

In a recent Letter of Determination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) found probable cause to believe an employer violated the Title VII rights of a transgender employee when it excluded coverage for “transgender treatment/sex therapy” services from its medical benefit plans.  Specifically, the EEOC determined that denying coverage for transition-related services constituted sex … Continue Reading

New California Workplace Harassment Guide Is Useful Tool for Preventing and Addressing Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation

On May 2, 2017, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) issued a Workplace Harassment Guide, which offers recommendations for employers on how to prevent and address harassment in the workplace. While the Guide focuses on workplace harassment, it also is a useful tool for how to handle other workplace issues, including discrimination … Continue Reading

Sexual Revolution: Seventh Circuit Holds Title VII Protects Sexual Orientation

On April 4, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit broke new legal ground by ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination in employment, also forbids sexual orientation discrimination.  Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, No. 15-1720 (7th Cir. 2017) (en banc).  The ruling … Continue Reading

Emerging Labor & Employment Law Trends (Part 2)

With summer 2016 almost behind us, employers should begin to plan for the major labor and employment law trends expected to emerge in the last quarter of the year and into 2017. In the first part of this two-part series, we looked at some of the principal trends likely to be shaped by federal regulators.  … Continue Reading

Emerging Labor & Employment Law Trends (Part 1)

With summer 2016 almost behind us, employers should begin to plan for the major labor and employment law trends expected to emerge in the final quarter of the year and into 2017. In the first part of this two-part series, we will take a look at some of the principal trends likely to be shaped … Continue Reading

Reminder for NYC Employers: Ban on ‘Caregiver’ Discrimination Has Taken Effect

On May 4, a New York City law barring discrimination against “caregivers” took effect. Specifically, the law prohibits employers from taking an adverse action (e.g., refusing to hire, firing, or demoting), or otherwise discriminating against an employee with respect to the terms and conditions of employment, based on the employee’s actual or perceived status as … Continue Reading

Gov. Christie Vetoes Proposed Equal Pay Act Again as ‘Business Unfriendly’

On May 2, 2016, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for the second time, issued a conditional veto of proposed legislation that would bar gender-based pay discrimination, saying in part that the Bill would go too far beyond federal standards and make New Jersey “very business unfriendly.” In an effort to address and remediate gender-pay gaps … Continue Reading

This Is Not a Prank: California’s New Amended FEHA Regulations Are Effective April 1

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) prohibits harassment and discrimination in the workplace that is based on one or more of the categories commonly protected by local, state and federal discrimination laws. On April 1, 2016, new regulations interpreting and expanding upon the statutory language go into effect. Below, we provide a summary of some … Continue Reading

Objective Basis Needed for Psychological Fitness for Duty Exam

In a case of first impression in New Jersey, the Appellate Division cautioned that employers may only require an employee to undergo a mental health fitness-for-duty examination in limited circumstances.  Relying heavily on the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance, the Court held that such examinations are only permitted when an employer “has a reasonable belief, based on … Continue Reading

DOL Seeks to Expand the Definition of Illegal Discrimination

We round out our series on recent federal agency action by discussing the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Proposed Rules would update existing nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions of the WIOA, which is the DOL’s primary mechanism for providing job training funding. … Continue Reading

EEOC Guidance on Retaliation: An Unprecedented Interpretation of Federal EEO Law

This next installment of our ongoing series takes a closer look into the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues. Last week, we discussed the EEOC’s changing views regarding the elements of a retaliation claim. This week, we delve deeper into the EEOC’s proposed guidance, exploring the agency’s attempt to … Continue Reading

EEOC Guidance on Retaliation: Make It Easier For Employees To Prove Their Case

This installment of our ongoing series on federal regulatory actions impacting employers examines the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues. The proposed update would replace the 1998 version of the EEOC Compliance Manual on Retaliation and address the courts’ significant rulings in the decades following the current … Continue Reading

Ending the Year With A Bang: NYC Bans “Caregiver” Discrimination and Issues Sweeping Gender Identity/Expression Discrimination Guidance

So much for a quiet year-end for New York City employers. In the final weeks of 2015, NYC government officials took two actions that will have a significant impact on the city’s business community, first passing a bill banning “caregiver” discrimination and then, just days later, issuing sweeping guidance regarding gender identity and expression discrimination. … Continue Reading

New York Employment Law Roundup: October & November 2015

Today’s New York employment law landscape is increasingly dynamic, with a constant stream of newly issued legislation and judicial opinions. To keep our readers current on the latest developments, we will share regular summaries of recent developments affecting Empire State employers. Here’s what happened in October and November 2015: NYC Agency Issues Guidance on New … Continue Reading

Reminder for NYC Employers: Ban on Credit Checks Takes Effect Today

A new law restricting the pre-employment process takes effect in New York City today, September 3, 2015 (the Law).  As we previously reported, the Law bars most employers in NYC from requesting or considering, for employment purposes, a prospective or current employee’s “consumer credit history” – which means the creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, or … Continue Reading
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