Hostile Work Environment Claims Not Barred By Ministerial Exemption

On August 31st, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled  a minister’s hostile work environment discrimination claim is not barred by Title VII's ministerial exemption.  The court's 2-1 decision in Demkovich v. St. Andrew the Apostle Parish joined the Ninth Circuit in finding that a hostile work environment is not a permissible means of exerting constitutionally protected control over a ministerial employee.  In 2012, St. Andrew the Apostle...
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Fourth Circuit Revives Black Tech’s Failure to Promote Claim Against Facebook

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
08/28/2020
A jury could find that Facebook denied promotion to a black facilities worker based on race, the Fourth Circuit concluded in Gary v. Facebook, et al. No. 18-01994 (4th Cir. 8/26/20).  In this case, Gary, a Facebook facilities technician, was denied promotion based on a committee performance review.  His less-experienced white colleague was recommended instead. About a year later, Facebook fired one of the committee members, Hawkins, after an...
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Sex-Plus Age Claim Viable Under Title VII

In Frappied v. Affinity Gaming Black Hawk, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit became the first federal appeal s court to recognize that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 permits “sex-plus age” claims.  The case arose from a lawsuit filed against a gaming company.  The eight female plaintiffs alleged the casino for which they worked discriminated against women over 40 years old, and they brought several claims, including...
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Supreme Court Rules “Ministerial Exception” Applies to Catholic School Teachers In Discrimination Cases

Jeffrey Maylor
Jeffrey Maylor
07/09/2020
On July 8th, the Supreme Court ruled that employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers at schools run by religious institutions.  The Court's 7-2 decision in  Our Lady of Guadalupe School  was a combination of two cases brought by teachers in Catholic schools in California – Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Darryl Biel (as personal representative of the estate of Kristen Biel). Justice Alito's...
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Supreme Court Rules That Gay and Transgender Employees Are Protected Under Title VII

In a landmark 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Title VII protections extend to gay and transgender employees. The Bostock case was a consolidation of three cases wherein an employee was terminated for being homosexual or transgender. Gerald Bostock was fired shortly after joining a gay recreational softball league. Donald Zarda was terminated shortly after he announced being gay. Aimee Stephens was fired after informing her...
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EEOC's Updated COVID-19 Guidance: Employees Not Entitled To Accommodations Because They Live With High-Risk Individuals; Treat Older Workers Equally Despite Risk

In an updated guidance on COVID-19, the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws, the EEOC has clarified an employer need not accommodate an employee's request to telework who is not high risk but lives with high risk individuals.  The EEOC has also clarified that companies may not mandate exclude older workers and pregnant employees from the workplace even though public health authorities advise they are a higher risk group for severe cases...
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Fourth Circuit: Allege Your Discrimination Claim with More Specificity

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
05/28/2020
In January 2019, my friend and partner Eric Paltell wrote a blog for our website on the Maryland District Court’s dismissal of a race discrimination complaint based on a supervisor’s Google search of a new employee.  Last week, the Fourth Circuit affirmed that decision in a split three judge panel ruling.  Bing v. Brivo Systems, LLC, 2020 U.S. App. LEIXS 16003 (4th Cir. May 19, 2020). A review of the alleged facts and the result bear scrutiny,...
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Court Rules U.S. Women’s World Cup Champions Can’t Get More Than They Bargained For, Dismisses Equal Pay Claim

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
05/05/2020
The U.S. women’s soccer team suffered a rare defeat on Friday when a federal court in California dismissed the team’s claims against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging wage discrimination based on sex.  You can read the decision here. In support of the women’s equal pay lawsuit filed in March of last year, the team argued that the collective bargaining agreements for the men’s and women’s U.S. soccer teams established -- as a matter of...
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New Virginia Anti-Discrimination Law Expands Coverage and Allows Employees to Sue for Damages in State Court

On April 11, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law the Virginia Values Act.  While the law has been heralded for making Virginia the first Southern state to enact comprehensive protections for LGBTQ persons, the law also amends the Virginia Human Rights Act (“VHRA”) to create a new private right of action for employment discrimination against employers of 15 or more employees (employers of more than five persons may be sued if...
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EEOC Enforcement Data Shows Decrease In Overall Complaints For FY19

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
01/27/2020
On Friday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released its charge-filing statistics for fiscal year 2019, which began October 1, 2018 and ended September 30, 2019. Overall, the Commission received 72,675 charges of discrimination in FY19, down from 76,418 in 2018.  Not surprisingly, retaliation charges continued to make up a majority of claims at 39,110 or 53.8%.  Compared to other employment discrimination claims, retaliation claims enjoy...
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