New York Bans Race Discrimination Based on Hairstyle

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
07/18/2019
New York has become the second state to include hairstyles within the definition of race for purposes of the state’s anti-discrimination law.  Last week, California became the first state to ban such discrimination. The New York State law amends the definition of “race” to mean “traits historically associated with race, including but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”  This includes, but is not limited to,...
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Employee Can’t Prove Supervisor’s “Black Ass” Remark Motivated His Termination

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
07/17/2019
In a recent unpublished decision, the Eleventh Circuit held that an African-American former employee could not get past summary judgment on his Title VII and Section 1981 race discrimination claims.  Williams v. Housing Opportunities for Persons with Exceptionalities, No. 2:17-cv-00468-ACA (11th Cir. 7/15/19). Williams worked as a direct care provider for Housing Opportunities for Persons with Exceptionalities (“HOPE”).  He worked...
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New California Law Adds Protected Status Based On Hairstyle

This past week marked not only the anniversary of our Independence Day, but also the 55th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Amidst this well-deserved fanfare, California became the first state to make hairstyle a protected status under its state anti-discrimination law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Presently, employers who take actions based on an individual’s headwear, when worn for religious reasons...
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Hospital Dodges Discrimination Claim Despite “Unfair” Termination

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
06/06/2019
Peggy Gordon worked for Holy Cross Hospital Germantown, Inc. from April 2012 until February 2017.  Gordon had a spotless employment record until an incident on February 22, 2017.  That evening, when Gordon went to draw blood from a patient, the patient refused to let her do so and asked for another nurse.  Gordon stopped the procedure, apologized to the patient, and left the room.  She also reported to the charge nurse that the patient was upset...
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Fourth Circuit Holds That Employer’s Shifting Story Is Evidence Of Pretext

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
04/26/2019
To prevail in an employment discrimination case, the plaintiff is required to present evidence of pretext by his or her (former) employer.  What exactly does pretext mean, though, at a practical level? The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently explored this concept in holding that a former trash truck driver was entitled to go to trial based on sufficient evidence that his former employer’s proffered reason for terminating him was a...
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When is Enough Harassment Investigation Enough?

Over my career, I have dealt with my share of “you can’t make this up” situations.  The kind where outrageously offensive or harassing workplace behavior has occurred, and the employer needs to – and wants to – figure out who did it and take steps to stop it from happening again. Indeed, that’s one of the benefits of representing management:  you can have the chance to assist in helping change culture (even if that “culture” appears...
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Louisiana Judge Holds That Jewish Heritage Can Be Basis For Race Discrimination Claim

Recently, a federal magistrate judge in Louisiana denied a motion to dismiss in a case in which the defendant is alleged to have refused to hire a football coach because of his “Jewish blood.”  Bonadona v. Louisiana College (W.D. La. July 13, 2018). The case involves Joshua Bonadona, the son of a Jewish mother and a Catholic father. Though Bonadona was raised in the Jewish religion, he converted to Christianity while attending Louisiana College...
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Target Finally Moving Out Of The Cross-Hairs Of Criminal History Hiring Discrimination Lawsuit

Target has quite the bill to pay.  As a result of alleged discriminatory hiring practices, premised upon Target's use of criminal background screening in a manner that had a disproportionate impact on minorities, Target Corp. will pay $3.74 million, and give priority hiring opportunities to black and Latino job applicants, to resolve claims that its criminal background check policy illegally excluded thousands of minority applicants from employment...
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When One Word Is Too Much... Single Racial Slur May Support Hostile Work Environment Claim

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
10/01/2017
In Castleberry v. STI Group, No. 16-3131 (3d Cir. 2017), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that a manager's one-time use of a racial slur, combined with his threat to fire a Black employee, could be enough to support a Section 1981 hostile work environment claim. Two Black laborers sued their staffing agency (STI) and the client location where they were placed (Chesapeake Energy Group) based on their treatment at Chesapeake. They were not...
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Fourth Circuit Puts Employee’s Retaliation Claim Over A Barrel

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
07/13/2017
I enjoy the Cracker Barrel.  Their chicken and dumplings is almost as good as what my southern family cooked up when I was a child.  And, their sourdough French toast is wonderful, with or without a few of those small bottles of syrup.  Alas, this is not a food blog.  This post is about a recent decision affirming summary judgment against former Cracker Barrel employee Beatrice Lovett (African-American) on her Title VII and Section 1981...
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