NFL Cheerleader Lawsuits: Employees or Independent Contractors?


Employees are entitled to prosecute a cause of action for failure to pay wages and other unfair employment practices.  There are a variety of avenues to pursue such as in federal court citing the regulations promulgated by the National Labor Relations Board or state court citing statutes prohibiting in effect wage theft.  A number of class actions have been filed against three NFL franchises by cheerleaders. Specifically, the suit against the Oakland Raiders charges that the team withholds … [Read more...]

6th Circuit: General contractors liable as ‘joint employers’ with subcontractors’ discrimination


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held Dec. 10 (EEOC v. Skanska USA Bldg., Inc., 2013 BL 341867, 6th Cir., No. 12-5967, unpublished opinion 12/10/13) that a contractor can be held liable as a 'joint employer' for discriminatory acts of a subcontractor if certain facts exist.  The Sixth Circuit heard this as a matter of first impression in that it has not applied the 'joint employer' theory in a Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 discrimination case though it has expressed "in … [Read more...]

FMLA Leave: Vegas here I come!


In Ballard v. Chicago Park District, No. 13-1445 (7th Cir., January 28, 2014) the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) applies to protect an employee’s trip to Las Vegas with her ill mother.   The employee was an employee for the City of Chicago and resided with her mother who was receiving hospice and palliative care due to end stage congestive heart failure.  The employee's  care of her mother included cooking meals, administering insulin and … [Read more...]

Ladies: Lactate Away at Work!

breast pump

A recent ruling out of the fifth circuit court of appeals now offers protection to mothers in the workplace who lactate or express milk after pregnancy.  Furthermore, discrimination by an employer who materially alters the terms or conditions of a female employee’s employment constitutes a cause of action for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  It would also violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act which amended Title VII by broadening sex discrimination to … [Read more...]

Hotline? What Company Hotline?


If you are employed by a large corporation, you likely attended an orientation program where you were provided numerous materials such as employee handbooks and other corporate policies.  The company may have been transparent about a corporate hotline that an employee may call in the event they are subject to or witness discrimination or violation of ethics policies.  However, many companies are not so motivated to disclose this hotline because they benefit from an employee's failure to engage … [Read more...]

A Victory for Clothing! Being paid while donning and doffing work Uniforms becomes clarified

safety gear

Only attorneys can argue over the narrow construction of the meaning of "clothes" and "time spent in changing clothes … at the beginning or end of each workday" per (29 U.S.C. § 203(o)) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and if a collective bargaining act so provides.   This matter was addressed in the recent opinion of Sandifer v. United States Steel Corporation on January 27, 2014 where the parties literally distinguished "clothes" with competing publications of dictionaries.  The narrow issue … [Read more...]

Who is my supervisor under the law ?


The Supreme Court this year in the matter of Vance v. Ball State University clarified the ambiguity among the various federal circuits as to the definition of a "supervisor" as applied under Title VII and per EEOC Guidance of the same.  Maetta Vance, an African American woman, filed a lawsuit against her employer, Ball State University claiming a racially hostile work environment by Saundra Davis. Under Title VII, the status of the harasser controls the issue vicarious liability of the … [Read more...]

Are staffing employees protected from discrimination under the law?

temp agency

In general, an employment agency is defined by Title VII as any person who regularly undertakes to procure employees for an employer, or to procure employment opportunities for an employee; the definition includes an agent of such a person. EEOC Notice Number 915.002 provides public guidance as to issue of whether a staffing employee is protected from discrimination at the workplace that the employee is sent to.  The EEOC clearly holds that “staffing firm workers are generally covered under … [Read more...]

What happens if my spouse is fired for my discrimination charge?

spouse charge

In the course of representing a client whom filed an EEOC charge for sexual harassment in the workplace, she inquired if her husband had any legal rights for potential termination as retaliation against her by the same employer.  I was not immediately familiar with third party claims arising out of title VII of the federal code.  Thompson v. N. Am. Stainless, LP, 131 S.Ct. 863 (2011) answered the question being that a third party may now prosecute an action for retaliation under title VII.  The … [Read more...]

Employees’ non-public postings protected in workplace


Plaintiff Deborah Ehling was a registered nurse and paramedic. Defendant MONOC is a non-profit hospital service corporation  providing emergency medical services to the citizens of  New Jersey.  Plaintiff was hired by MONOC in 2004 as a registered nurse and paramedic.  Plaintiff's claims in this case arose out of an incident involving Plaintiff's Facebook account where in she was disciplined for posting commentary that a particular person involved in a shooting should have allowed to die on the … [Read more...]

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