Punitive Damages in Title VII Claims

An award of punitive damages is allowed in a Title VII action when the employee demonstrates that the employer engaged in intentional discrimination with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of the employee. Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 701 et seq., 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq.; 42 U.S.C.A. § 1981a(a)(1), (b)(1). … [Read more...]

Shifting Burdens of Proof in a Discrimination Claim

Once an employee has established a prima facie case of retaliation under Title VII, the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the adverse employment action; if the employer succeeds in doing so, the employee must then demonstrate that the employer's asserted reason is simply a pretext for retaliation. Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 704(a), 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e–3(a). … [Read more...]

Elements for for “sexually objectionable environment in workplace”

In order to be actionable under Title VII, a sexually objectionable environment must be both objectively and subjectively offensive, one that a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive, and one that the victim in fact did perceive to be so; courts must determine whether an environment is sufficiently hostile or abusive by looking at all the circumstances, including frequency of discriminatory conduct, its severity, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating or a mere offensive … [Read more...]

“Economic” or “Tangible” Discrimination

Although employment discrimination provisions of Title VII mention specific employment decisions with immediate consequences, scope of the prohibition is not limited to “economic” or “tangible” discrimination and covers more than terms and conditions of employment in the contractual sense. Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 703(a)(1), 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e-2(a)(1).   … [Read more...]

Vicarious liability to employer for actionable hostile work environment

Under antidiscrimination provisions of Title VII, employer is subject to vicarious liability to victimized employee for an actionable hostile environment created by a supervisor with immediate or successively higher authority over employee; when no tangible employment action is taken, employer may raise an affirmative defense to liability or damages, subject to proof by preponderance of evidence and comprising two necessary elements: (a) that employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and … [Read more...]

Employee’s failure to use a complaint procedure

Demonstration that an employee failed to use a complaint procedure provided by the employer in response to sexual harassment by a supervisor will normally suffice to satisfy the employer's burden of demonstrating lack of reasonable care by employee to avoid harm, as element of affirmative defense to a vicarious liability claim under Title VII. Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 703(a)(1), 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e-2(a)(1). … [Read more...]

No affirmative defense available to an employer……

Under Title VII, no affirmative defense is available to an employer on an employee's claim of vicarious liability for an actionable hostile environment created by a supervisor when the supervisor's harassment culminates in a tangible employment action, such as discharge, demotion, or undesirable reassignment. Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 703(a)(1),42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e-2(a)(1). … [Read more...]

Sheriff Mark Gammons three unedited recordings

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Six Years or Less Age Gap to Support Age Discrimination Claim

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It is a common and curious question as to what age gap is necessary to justify an age discrimination claim.  The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the matter of Blizzard v. Marion Technical College (No. 3:09-cv-1643 Northern District Ohio) narrowed the age gap as to what is or is not a "significant" difference.  The Court held that the magic number of six years or less would not constitute a "significant" gap in age to make out a prima facie claim of age discrimination. This case involves a … [Read more...]

Cancer Patient Can Be Fired by Wal-Mart for Medical Marijuana Use.

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There was dominant debate in the Tennessee legislature this year for passing a medical marijuana bill allowing patients with a prescription to benefit from its medicinal properties.  The issue that was not part of the debate was its impact on private employers and whether they must adopt a similarly progressive policy or regulate private employment in any way.  A recent case out of the Michigan district which is part of the Sixth Circuit as Tennessee is may have application to a potential … [Read more...]

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