“Paramour Preference” Is Not a Title VII Violation, says Ninth Circuit

When I lectured on sex discrimination and harassment to my law school students, I’d pose the following question:  “does the person who didn’t (consensually) date the boss and who then didn’t get promoted have a claim for discrimination or harassment?  No?  But what if I just never got the chance to date them?  I mean, I would have been willing to do so if I’d known that might help me advance or keep my job.”  While some students...
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Fourth Circuit Decision Protecting Transgender Student Rights Stands After Supreme Court Denies Review

On June 28, 2021, the Supreme Court denied the Gloucester County, Virginia School Board’s petition to review Gloucester Co. Sch'l Bd. v. Grimm, No. 20-1163.  The denial leaves a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ s ruling intact, making it unlawful in this jurisdiction (South Carolina, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia) to prohibit students from using  bathroom facilities that align with their gender identity....
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Fourth Circuit Revives Same-Sex Harassment Claim

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last week joined several other federal appellate courts when it rejected a narrow reading of Supreme Court precedent regarding same-sex harassment claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Roberts v. Glenn Industrial Group, Inc., No. 19-1215 (4th Cir. May 21, 2021).  The Fourth Circuit covers Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The case involves Glenn...
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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 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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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...
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Maryland’s Equal Pay Law: Are You In Compliance?

Watching the U.S. Women’s National Team play in and win the World Cup this past weekend took me right back to my own days of competitive girls’ soccer.  But nostalgia wasn’t the only thing that came to mind as the win brought additional attention to the Team’s recent lawsuit for equal pay.  That lawsuit, filed in March, generally alleges that the players on the Women’s National Team (“WNT”) are paid less than the players on...
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Fourth Circuit Rejects Professor's Pay Discrimination Claim

On March 18, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment to Virginia State University, rejecting a sociology professor’s claims that she was paid less than two male colleagues because she is a woman. The Court agreed with Senior District Court Judge Henry Hudson that the disparity in pay was the result of differences in job responsibilities, as well as the fact that the men had both been...
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Lactating KFC Employee Able To Use Denial Of Proper Place To Express Milk As Evidence In Her Sex Harassment Claims

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to one year after the child's birth.  Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.  While a potential violation of the FLSA...
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Not Just “Meat Counter Culture”: When Same-Sex Harassment Violates Title VII

Most of the time, the stories of workplace sexual harassment we hear about consist of conduct occurring between men and women.  Yet Title VII’s ban on discrimination because of sex encompasses same-sex harassment in the workplace as well.  Such was the lesson learned for a Chicago, Illinois grocery store that had justified the harassment of a male butcher as mere “meat counter culture” in Smith v. Rosebud Farm, Inc., Case No. 17-2626,...
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