Category Discrimination

EEOC Required to Make “Conciliation Efforts”

May 7, 2015 Discrimination

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in a recent case, Mach Mining v. EEOC, that the EEOC must use the “conciliation process” as required by Title VII, and failure to do so will require the EEOC to backtrack in a case.

This case was brought by an applicant for multiple positions with Mach Mining who was turned down each time.  The applicant claimed that her denials were because of gender discrimination, and the EEOC agreed to take her case to District Court.  If the EEOC decides to take a case on behalf of a plaintiff and sue a company, Title VII requires them to, “endeavor to eliminate any such alleged unlawful employment practice by informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion...

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What Does Arkansas’ Barring of Homosexual Protections Mean Nationally?

February 25, 2015 Discrimination

Legislation recently passed in Arkansas that bans all localities in the state from passing any anti-discrimination measure protecting gay and lesbian employees in the state.  This is becoming popular in many southern states – Texas is considering a similar ban and Tennessee already approved one in 2011.  Challenges are certainly on their way, but for now, these laws are on the books.

Employers need to be very careful about reading headlines and not articles in this area, however.  While gay and lesbian rights under state law may be limited by these bills, federal protection of gays and lesbians from discrimination are strengthening...

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Age Discrimination Caseload is Dropping – What Are the Causes?

February 17, 2015 Discrimination

Report from TIME Magazine yesterday that the number of age discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC has dropped to pre-recession levels.  The author gives his own guesses as to why the drop – which started a few years ago – is occurring.

His guess is the economy, and I agree to an extent.  One good indicator of the strength of the U.S. workforce is to see how many claims are being filed; less claims mean more satisfied workers, or at least workers who can find other jobs and therefore don’t care quite as much about their last one.  However, I would argue that the chilling effect of changing laws in this area are also playing a part...

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Decision in Minnesota Proves that Age Discrimination Claims Can be Won

February 9, 2015 Discrimination

A story out of Eveleth, MN today discusses a 52 year old police Lieutenant who was passed over for a promotion to Chief.  Instead, candidates 8 years younger than him were considered and chosen.  While this is a victory for the Plaintiff, it does show the very high standard that is required of non-selection cases: the Lieutenant occupied his position (which was second only to the Chief) since 1998, and was recommended for the job by the outgoing Chief himself.  Even then, the Lieutenant had to appeal an unfavorable decision to federal court.

It’s a high bar to pass in order to win a non-selection case, but it certainly can be done.  More info from KBJR News.

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Daimler Settles Large Discrimination Suit

February 6, 2015 Discrimination

Daimler Trucks, operating a facility in Portland, OR, recently agreed to a $2.4M settlement with some of its employees over racial and national origin discrimination.  White workers were accused of sabotaging the work of minority employees, as well as much more heinous acts, like dangling a noose in front of an African-American employee and simulating the use of a whip on him.  Daimler did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, but its checkbook did.

I have a lot of employees ask me whether filing a claim against their large employer is worth it, and whether they truly have a shot in what they see as a “David vs. Goliath” situation.  These employees are yet another example I can use to answer this question with an emphatic yes...

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Clark Atlanta Reverse Discrimination Suit Begins

January 30, 2015 DiscriminationWrongful Termination

Ted Bahhur, the former head football coach of Clark Atlanta University, filed a racial discrimination suit on Wednesday.  He alleges that he was fired as head coach due to racial discrimination by the school.  This case has already gone through the EEOC’s process apparently, as the University provided a legitimate business reason for its actions to the EEOC – poor performance.

Interestingly, Clark Atlanta took a play out of their available playbook in this case (pun intended) when they provided a legitimate business reason for their actions.  Once an employer takes this step, the question is no longer whether the employee can show any good cause as to why he thinks the action was discriminatory...

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Ruby Tuesday Proving That Gender Discrimination Works Both Ways

January 27, 2015 Discrimination

A case filed against Ruby Tuesday accuses the chain of discriminating against men when managers hired only women to lucrative seasonal wait staff positions in resort towns.  Remember that gender discrimination, just like all forms of discrimination, works to protect ALL classes of people, not just those who have traditionally suffered from discrimination.

More from the Washington Post.

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Atlanta Fire Chief Claims Discrimination – Does He Have a Case?

January 26, 2015 DiscriminationWrongful Termination

Fascinating local news story about deposed Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran filing a claim of religious discrimination due to his termination.

Looking at it from a legal perspective, I believe his case certainly meets the requirements for an actionable claim.  The City is giving a business reason for the termination as questionable “judgment” and “management skills,” according to Mayor Kasim Reed.  Going only by what we know right now – that there have been no public errors in judgment or management by Mr. Cochran, or at least no more or less than have been going on since the beginning of his tenure – the City looks like it’s simply trying not to say that the termination was based on his religious beliefs being broadcast publicly and (arguably) being forced upon his co-workers...

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Potential Weakening of Fair Housing Act

January 20, 2015 Discrimination

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to make a decision in a case that could weaken the protections under the Fair Housing Act.  What this means to the average person is this: as the law stands right now, virtually any practice a landlord uses that causes the landlord to provide housing to one group over another is considered discriminatory and the landlord can be sued successfully for it.  If this case’s decision comes down as expected, then the Supreme Court will effectively change the standard a tenant must prove from “impact” to “intent.”  Put simply, a tenant would need to show that the landlord not only utilized a practice that treated one group of people more favorably, but also that the landlord intended for the practice to treat one group of people more favorably...

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