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Employee Grooming Standards: Ensuring Your Policy Complies With Title VII

Last week, as many readers are likely aware, a high school wrestling referee in New Jersey ordered an African American student wrestler tocut his dreadlocksimmediately prior to a match, or else forfeit the match.  According to the referee, the dreadlocks and head covering the wrestler offered to wear violated the league’s rules.  A video of […]

Kentucky Court Holds That State Law Does Not Permit Associational Discrimination Claims

Nearly two weeks ago, in a post on associational discrimination claims, I pointed out that while these claims may be relatively uncommon, they are still possible under the ADA and Maryland law. By contrast, last week, a Kentucky state court held that the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) does not encompass associational discrimination claims.  The […]

Virginia Employer Defeats Retaliation Claim With Timely Documentation of Performance Issues

A Fourth Circuit case decided this past week is yet another example of how documenting employee performance problems– at the time they actually occur– can save an employer from a retaliation claim, even when an employee is fired immediately after a complaint of unfair treatment.  McDougald v. Quad/Graphics Mktg., No. 18-1026 (4th Cir. 12/13/18). In […]

Associational Discrimination Claims: Are They Viable?

Unlike cases of discrimination based on an employee’s own protected status, there seem to be far fewer claims of discrimination based on an employee’s relationship with a protected individual.  But this did not stop a former county courthouse employee from filing a lawsuit last December claiming that her termination from the Marion Superior Court in […]

Losing Out On Voluntary Overtime Chances Can Be Tangible, Adverse Action.

Employers are by now well-versed in the concept that under Title VII, an employer is strictly liable for a supervisor’s harassment when the harassment results in a tangible employment action.  The obvious employment actions include termination, demotion, failure to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, etc.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Ray v. […]

Department of Labor Rescinds 80/20 Tip Rule

Employers in the restaurant industry are probably familiar with the tip credit, which, in general terms, allows an employer to claim a “credit” between what it pays tipped employees and the minimum wage.  The tips that such employees earn, and form the basis for the “credit,” are thought to make up for this gap. However, […]

Maryland Wiretap Act No Shield For Surreptitious Recorder

It isn’t often that I get to write about an opinion on a criminal law matter.  However, the Maryland Court of Appeals’ opinion in Agnew v. State, No. 9, September Term 2018 (Md. Nov. 20, 2018), provides that chance.  In Agnew, Maryland’s highest court addressed the following question:  “Was a recorded communication on a [cell] […]