EPL Risk Mitigation Blog

In an effort to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, New York State and New York City have enacted laws mandating educational sessions to reinforce what is (and what is not) appropriate workplace conduct.  Joining, California, Connecticut, and Maine, mandatory training will now be required in New York City and New York State.  To help guide employers, NYC has published a fact sheet—you can access from this link.  We are still awaiting guidance from…
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia recently denied a Hospital’s motion to dismiss a Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) retaliation claim by a senior officer because of the close time proximity between a protest of alleged discriminatory treatment of a co-worker and the protester’s own discharge.  Lott v. Not-For-Profit Hospital Corporation.  The Court held that plaintiff’s meeting with the Hospital’s CEO to discuss his belief that the co-worker’s termination  violated…
A federal magistrate in the Western District of Louisiana has issued what appears to be the first ruling under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that someone who is Jewish may be protected from race discrimination under the statute. In Bonadona v. Louisiana College, the Court ruled that an individual who was born to a Jewish mother but converted to Christianity could proceed with his Title VII claim on the basis that…
The Fifth Circuit recently affirmed the granting of summary judgment to an employer dismissing a Title VII race discrimination claim. In Stroy v. Gibson, an African American primary care physician employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs alleged race discrimination following a peer review committee determination that competent practitioners would have managed the treatment of a patient differently than Plaintiff. Briefly, the employer’s policy allowed for peer review of a doctor’s patient care after a…
In Lester v. O’Rourke, the United States District Court for the North District of Illinois held that Plaintiff is entitled to trial on his Title VII retaliation claim after he signed a Last Chance Agreement (“LCA”) that settled pending Title VII claims and also waived claims that might be asserted if the employer disciplined or terminated him. Plaintiff, a sixty-year-old African American man who worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs, filed discrimination claims against…
Claiming that frequent restroom breaks were required by a pregnancy-related medical condition, a former employee’s claims were allowed to proceed under the Americans with Disability Act, but not Title VII.  In Wadley v. Kiddie Academy International, Inc., plaintiff alleged that the employer discriminated against her because of a pregnancy-related disability by discharging her for leaving a classroom “out of ratio” when she left to use the restroom.  Upon learning of her pregnancy, the worker advised…
With the increased attention being paid to the #MeToo movement and the existence of federal law that provides capped remedies and permits mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims,, states and cities are enacting legislation to create greater legal rights for sexual harassment claimants  For example, New York recently enacted legislation that, among other things, prohibits enforcement of pre-dispute agreements mandating arbitration of sexual harassment claims.  In the wake of recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in…
Effective June 7, 2018, employers defending claims brought under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination are constricted in their ability to obtain a plaintiff’s medical records, and are entitled to do so only if the plaintiff: (1) alleges a specific diagnosable physical or psychiatric injury as a proximate result of the defendant’s alleged conduct; (2) relies on the records or testimony of a health care provider or expert to support a claim for damages; or, (3) alleges…
Recently, Maryland’s Governor signed the “Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act,” becoming the most recent state to enact tougher sexual harassment laws in the wake of the #MeToo movement.  The Act, which will go into effect on October 1, 2018, prohibits employers from including in any agreement, policy, or contract a provision that waives any “substantive or procedural right or remedy” for claims of sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, effectively barring…
Under the theory of “disparate impact,” even facially neutral policies can result in claims of discrimination when a “protected group” suffers a statistical disadvantage vis a vis another group (i.e., the rule of thumb is a twenty-percent disadvantage).  For example, in Andreana v. Virginia Beach City of Public Schools, the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia denied a motion to dismiss and ruled that Plaintiff could proceed with a claim of…