Supreme Court Issues Decision On “Retaliatory Intent” Requirement Under Sarbanes-Oxley

Mathew Moldawer
Mathew Moldawer
02/13/2024
On February 8, 2024, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Murray v. UBS, 22-660,  _S.Ct._(2024), a case involving the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.  Sarbanes-Oxley was passed as a result of the Enron scandal, where the company used illicit accounting practices to inflate their revenue to appear more profitable.  Enron employees who raised concerns about Enron’s corrupt practices faced unfavorable treatment and even termination...
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Penn State Faces Harassment Claims Based On Anti-Racism Initiatives

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have grown more prevalent in recent years (yes, this is stating the obvious).  These efforts have their detractors.  A Google search of DEI will reveal sample DEI initiatives, anti-racism trainings, and the efforts some have taken to criticize and stop such efforts.  Penn State University’s Abington campus, for example, is being sued by a former faculty member who alleges that he was subjected...
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Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Police Officer’s Title VII Lawsuit

A recent case from the Second Circuit presented an interesting fact pattern for law enforcement employers facing claims of discrimination by stereotype.  In Hanks v. City of Syracuse, a black police officer who was denied an assignment to a prestigious gun violence task force brought suit for race discrimination under Title VII, hostile work environment, and retaliation. The District Court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim, which the...
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No Protected Activity, No Retaliation Claim

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
10/24/2023
Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision prohibits discrimination (retaliation) against employees and applicants because the individual “has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by [Title VII], or because he has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under [Title VII].”  42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a).  Employees and applicants who oppose discrimination...
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Inconsistent Discipline Allegations Save Police Dispatcher’s Race Discrimination Claims

Consistent treatment of similarly situated employees is one way in which employers can defend against claims of discrimination.  Inconsistent treatment, however, can support allegations of discrimination.  A recent decision from Maryland federal court provides an instructive example of how inconsistent enforcement of work rules and disciplining comparable employees differently can create problems under anti-discrimination laws.  Jones v. City of...
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Keep Your Religion Off My Tacos: Taqueria Found To Have Retaliated When Workers Were Offered A Priest To Confess Their Workplace Sins

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
06/26/2023
A Sacramento California restaurant is on the hook for $140,000 in back wages and penalties owed to 35 employees after entering into a consent judgment in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California.  The consent judgment resolves a case brought by the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, against Taqueria Garibaldi and its several owners and operators.   As a primer, the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”)...
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Fourth Circuit Confirms Standard For A Retaliatory Hostile Work Environment

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
01/13/2023
In Laurent-Workman v. Wormuth, No. 21-1766 (4th Cir. 2022), the Fourth Circuit confirmed that Title VII's prohibition against retaliation for complaints about discrimination includes creating a hostile work environment as a category of prohibited retaliation.  In the case, the employee had raised a claim of retaliatory hostile work environment amongst her list of claims against her former employer.  The Supreme Court's decision in Burling Northern...
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D.D.C. Rules Employee’s Blocked Access to Classified Data During Conduct Investigation Not A Materially Adverse Action

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
03/15/2022
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently addressed to what extent an employer may take steps to protect confidential business data during an investigation of employee misconduct.  Jimenez v. Mayorkas, No. 17-cv-2731 (D.D.C. 3/1/22). Rolando Jimenez is a government employee who, in 2012, was granted access to HSDN, a classified information system.  A few years later, he was placed on special assignment with an external...
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Placement on Leave Pending Investigation is Not Adverse Action

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
12/17/2021
When employers conduct investigations into suspected employee misconduct, they often place the employee on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.  The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently held that placing an employee on such a leave does not amount to an adverse employment action under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  Kashif v. PNC Bank, Civil Action No,...
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Long Gap Not Fatal To Retaliation Claim

A retaliation claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) requires that there be protected activity, a materially adverse employment action, and a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse action.  An employee engages in protected activity when, for example, he opposes an unlawful employment practice or participates in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing regarding conduct that is proscribed by...
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