Vague Allegations Doom Physician’s Discrimination Claim

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
03/11/2022
A recent decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Nadendla v. Wakemed, No. 21-1300 (4th Cir. Jan. 21, 2022) provides a reminder of a plaintiff’s burden when asserting claims of race discrimination under a federal statute commonly referred to as Section 1981. Haritha Nadendla is a physician of Indian origin who had clinical privileges and was on the staff of Wakemed Cary Hospital in North Carolina until May 2017.  After being notified...
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Maryland Poised To Increase Damages Caps For Discrimination Claims

The Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) is the state analog to federal anti-discrimination laws.   The law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, and disability.  If an employer is found to have engaged in an unlawful employment practice under FEPA the remedies can include compensatory damages, back pay, injunctive...
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Magic Words Are Not Needed for An ADA Request for Reasonable Accommodation, But Sufficient Words Are

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
03/04/2022
While courts have said repeatedly about the ADA that an employee need not use magic words or even the phrase “reasonable accommodation” when making such a request, the case of Powley v. Rail Crew Xpress, LLC, No. 21-1131 (8th Cir. Feb. 15, 2022), is a good reminder that the ADA does require employees to provide sufficient information to an employer that a health issue could be a disability interfering with the ability to work and necessitating a...
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District of Columbia Expands Its Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefit

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
03/03/2022
The District of Columbia will boost its paid family and medical leave program to offer a maximum of 12 weeks of leave annually, as well as reducing the payroll tax rate that employers will pay. The expansion resulted from a review of the paid leave program finances by D.C.’s Chief Financial Officer, who concluded that the program would have a nearly $500 million surplus this year at the current 8-week benefit level.  The program began paying...
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COVID-19 May Be A Disability Under the ADA

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
02/24/2022
A U.S. District Court in Alabama recently addressed whether COVID-19 can be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Brown v. Roanoke Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, No. 3:2021cv00590 – Document 22 (M.D. Ala. 2022). In the summer of 2020, Lucious Brown was terminated from her position as a certified nursing assistant for failing to report to work on the 13th day of a 14-day COVID-19 isolation period.  At the time of...
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U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s Equal Pay Lawsuit Resolved

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
02/23/2022
On February 22, 2022, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) players announced an agreement that resolved a pay discrimination lawsuit that has been pending since 2019.  The lawsuit alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII because the USWNT players were paid less than their male counterparts, including receiving much smaller performance bonuses despite achieving greater on field success.  The...
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Something Smells Funny in this FMLA Case

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
02/18/2022
The internet is for … looking stuff up.  Sometimes I become interested in the possible back story of a case that, on it’s face, seems boring.  That’s what happened today. A recent FMLA case (yes, it’s time to begin my book update) seemed pedestrian enough:  a federal court denied the employer’s motion to dismiss the FMLA claims of an employee who alleges he was denied benefits and disciplined in violation of the Act.  Diorio v. City of...
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A Close Shave (or not) for the “Ministerial Exception”

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
02/14/2022
Over the past 10 years, the Supreme Court has repeatedly taken a deep dive into the Venn diagram overlap of balancing anti-discrimination laws against “freedom of religion” under that pesky First Amendment’s “church and state” thing. Relevant to our topic today, the Court addressed the scope of the “ministerial exception” in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. v. EEOC, 565 U.S. 171 (2012) and reaffirmed it in Our Lady...
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Court Allows Topless Teacher's Discrimination Claim to Proceed

A New York Court recently addressed a novel question: whether a female teacher who was fired after a semi-nude picture of her became available to her employer could assert a viable equal protection clause against the school district.  The plaintiff was a probationary middle school teacher in a public school.  She was terminated after the school district came into possession of a semi-nude picture of her.  The picture in question was a...
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Congress on Cusp of Barring Arbitration for Employee Sexual Harassment Claims

Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson
02/10/2022
In response to the #MeToo Movement, Congress is on the cusp of passing bipartisan legislation that would prohibit employers from using forced arbitration to resolve claims of workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault.  Though the final bill has not yet been presented for the President’s signature, drafts of the bill have passed both the House and the Senate.  The ban on mandatory arbitration in employment contracts marks a sea change in how...
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