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What’s happening at McDonald’s should serve as an important lesson for many employers.  In the past two weeks, it was reported that its CEO resigned or was terminated (depending on what news outlet you read) because he exercised “poor judgment” by having an affair with a subordinate.  McDonald’s is facing a brave new world without its CEO with the added expense and distraction of defending new and outstanding sexual harassment lawsuits. What lessons can be…
A Los Angeles jury awarded a black former UCLA phlebotomist nearly $1.6 million in damages for being subjected to racial harassment by co-workers. Birden v. The Regents of the University of California, No. BC6681389 (Los Angeles Superior Court May 30, 2017). Birden, who worked at UCLA as a per diem phlebotomist for approximately one year, alleged that she was subjected to racial slurs and disparaging remarks by Latino co-workers who referred to her as “lazy,”…
With the crowd’s chant of “equal pay” echoing at the Women’s World Cup soccer match and again as the champions float down the Canyon of Heroes, the issue of pay equality continues to be in the spotlight, and the New York legislature has jumped onto this moving train. In addition to passing a powerhouse bill that strengthens protections for workers who claim workplace harassment, New York recently passed two pay equity bills that expand protections…
Harassment claims continue to dominate the legal news, but the Second Circuit recently reminded us that workplace harassment extends far beyond sex and gender. The Circuit recently joined several sister circuits recognizing that a plaintiff can pursue a claim for harassment based on disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), clearing up any doubt regarding the Circuit’s position on the matter.  Fox v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 17-0936-cv (2nd Cir. March 6, 2019).  The…
In a decision that could have wide-ranging implications for all employers, the Fourth Circuit recently held that an employer’s failure to stop a false rumor that a female employee slept with her male boss to obtain a promotion, could give rise to employer liability under Title VII for gender discrimination. Parker v. Reema Consulting Services Inc., No. 18-1206 (4th Cir. Feb. 8, 2019). So now employers must police the rumor mill? This decision is confusing…
As we enter the 3rd year of the #MeToo movement, all signs point towards another year of heightened legal activities in the area of gender discrimination and gender equality. Sexual harassment claims will continue to garner news headlines, but there are bigger threats for employers. For many employers, 2019 will be less about whether their female employees are being harassed, and more about whether they are being treated fairly and equally. What’s the difference you…
Article written for Law360, published on February 6, 2019. In the past few months, we have seen three different cases of religious accommodation claims, with three very different results. In case one, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission failure-to-hire case, on very narrow grounds. In case two, a Florida jury awarded a hotel kitchen employee $21.5 million, after she was terminated for refusing…
As we close the books on 2018, New York employers really cannot relax after the bombardment of last year’s employment law changes. Many of these laws will require new levels of compliance in 2019, not to mention the new laws on the horizon. This post will provide employers with a brief recap of what we saw in 2018, and what we can expect in 2019. LOOKING BACK ON 2018 As we mentioned in our blog…
While most of us rarely think about rubella – a largely forgotten disease that should have disappeared with the “MMR” vaccine¹ – it was the focus of a recent Eighth Circuit decision this month. If you are asking yourself how this largely forgotten illness has anything to do with employment, we will tell you: because for Janice Hustvet, it resulted in the termination of her 15-year position with a healthcare employer. In Janice Hustvet v.…
New York City employers were given some clarity this week regarding their obligations under the City’s Stop Sexual Harassment Act, as the New York City Commission on Human Rights released new FAQs about the law (found here). These FAQs touch on training and posting requirements that all employers should be aware of. Training Requirements The FAQs provide guidance on the types of employees and workers that employers must train. Specifically, the FAQs state…