Protect Yourself if You Are in an Office Romance with a Co-Worker

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According to CareerBuilder's annual office romance survey, 38 percent of respondents have dated a co-worker at least once in their career, and one-third of them ended up married.  In this time of Valentine’s Day gifts and sweet nothings being whispered about in the office, one must be apprised of the risks and listen to their head rather than their heart.  If the relationship sours, then hell may in fact have no fury like a woman’s scorn.  The employer may not be in a position to adjudicate the … [Read more...]

Surrogate Mother May Proceed on Discrimination Claim against Marriot

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A motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed in a California District Court by Marriott was denied.  A surrogate mother may proceed in her cause of action alleging Title VII discrimination against the hotel chain claiming she was discriminated against by not being permitted to express breast milk after giving birth. U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow said Plaintiff Mary Gonzales has shown enough to proceed with claims that the hotel violated federal and California law. Mary Gonzales gave birth to … [Read more...]

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

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of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held Dec. 10 (EEOC v. Skanska USA Bldg., Inc., 2013 BL 341867, 6th Cir., No. 12-5967, unpublished opinion 12/10/13) that a contractor can be held liable as a 'joint employer' for discriminatory acts of a subcontractor if certain facts exist.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

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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?

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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

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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 ?

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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?

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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...]

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