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

subcontractors

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of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held Dec. 10 (EEOC v. Skanska USA Bldg., Inc., 2013 BL 341867, 6th Cir., No. 12-5967, unpublished opinion 12/10/13) that a contractor can be held liable as a 'joint employer' for discriminatory acts of a subcontractor if certain facts exist.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...]

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...]

Dollar General Settles Sexual Harassment Suit Filed By EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged by the Congress to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 filed a lawsuit on behalf of female employees working at a Dollar General store in Arkansas.  The store manager who had been relocated that store perpetrated the alleged sexual harassment with several women at the store by asking for sexual favors.  One female employee reported the behavior to the corporate hotline and the assistant manager but the corporate office … [Read more...]

Hotline? What Company Hotline?

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...]

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...]

Am I required to submit to a medical exam for a job?

disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits three forms of "pre-offer" inquiries: Medical Examinations Inquiries as to whether the individual considers himself to have a disability Questions concerning conditions that might disclose a disability such as medications being taken, records of hospitalization, or claims for insurance or workers compensation. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. 2112(d), these prohibitions apply to all applicants, not just individuals with disabilities.  If you are … [Read more...]

May an employer discriminate in job ads seeking only certain gender or age?

SEEK - Storeman Job in Adelaide-1

Federal code 42 U.S.C.A. 2000e-3(b) proscribes employers from "printing or publishing or causing to be printed or published any notice or advertisement that indicates a preferece, limitation, specification, or discrimination" of any particular protected class.  For example, advertisements textually or facially soliciting "boys," "girls," "students," or "recent graduates" are suspect. 29 CFR 1625.4 (a)  Employers challenged this and the Supreme Court stated this limitation does not violate the … [Read more...]

Sexual Harassment Claim: Quid Pro Quo or Hostile Environment?

Sex harassment 1

In 1980 the Commission issued guidelines declaring sexual harassment a violation of Section 703 of Title VII, establishing criteria for determining when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment, defining the circumstances under which an employer may be held liable, and suggesting affirmative steps an employer should take to prevent sexual harassment. See Section 1604.11 of the Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex, 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11 (“Guidelines”). The … [Read more...]

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