Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, RSS, EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedInYoutubeRSS News FeedEmail

News

Warning: Whistleblowers Must be Handled with Care

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 6/4/2014
judge's gavel

Though dealing with a disgruntled employee can be hard, various anti-retaliation protections make it even harder when an employee’s complaints or conduct is protected by law. A 2013 Congressional Report identified 40 different federal whistleblower and anti-retaliation laws, including:

More...

Religious Garb and Grooming Accommodations under Title VII

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 3/12/2014
woman putting on sari

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charges of religious discrimination brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act are steadily increasing. These charges often involve religious dress and grooming practices, such as:

  • wearing religious clothing or articles, such as a Muslim hijab (headscarf), a Sikh turban or a Christian cross
  • observing a religious prohibition against wearing certain garments, such as a Muslim, Pentecostal Christian, or Orthodox Jewish woman's practice of not wearing pants or short skirts
  • adhering to shaving or hair length observances, such as a uncut hair and beard (Sikh), dreadlocks (Rastafarian) or peyes/side locks (Jewish)

    Title VII, which protects all aspects of religious observance, practice and belief, defines religion very broadly. It protects not only traditional, organized religions, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or may seem illogical or unreasonable to others.

More...

Unlawful Retaliation under Title VII: No More Mixed Messages

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 8/21/2013
workplace discrimination

Title VII prohibits retaliation against employees who engage in protected activity, such as opposing or alleging unlawful workplace discrimination. Those suing for unlawful retaliation must prove that there is a link between the retaliation and their protected activity. But, how strong must the link be? The U.S. Supreme Court recently answered this question in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar.

In this case, Dr. Nassar alleged that his supervisor was biased against him on account of his religion and ethnic heritage. His supervisor once remarked that “Middle Easterners are lazy,” and, upon hearing that another physician of Middle Eastern descent was hired, the supervisor said that the hospital had “hired another one.” Dr. Nassar lodged several complaints about his treatment. Thereafter, a series of events led to Dr. Nassar leaving the hospital for another position. More...

Who is a Supervisor under Title VII? Why does it Matter?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 7/17/2013
supervisor and employee

Who is considered a supervisor under Title VII? Since our last article discussing Vance v. Ball State University, the U.S. Supreme Court has given us the answer. According to the Court, a supervisor is a person

empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim; to effect a significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or a decision causing a significant change in benefits.

Vance involved allegations of racial harassment and discrimination in violation of Title VII. Though the parties disputed the precise nature and scope of the harasser’s duties, it was clear that the harasser did not have the power to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer or discipline the plaintiff. Given the harasser’s inability to take a tangible employment action against the plaintiff, the Court held that the harasser does not qualify as a supervisor under Title VII. More...

EEOC Focusing on Employers Using Criminal Background Checks

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 6/18/2013
background check

In a previous article we discussed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) position on the use of arrest and conviction records in the employment context. According to the EEOC, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) prohibits the use of arrest and conviction records in a manner that discriminates on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. The EEOC recently reaffirmed its position by filing two lawsuits involving the use of criminal background records.

BMW Manufacturing Co.

The EEOC claims that BMW’s criminal conviction policy, which disproportionately screened out African Americans, is not job related and consistent with business necessity. The lawsuit alleges that BMW’s policy is a blanket exclusion that does not provide for an individualized assessment of the nature and gravity of the crimes, the ages of the convictions, or the nature of the workers’ respective positions. More...

Employers May See More Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 11/20/2012

An employer’s liability for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act depends on whether the harasser is a supervisor. If the alleged harasser is the victim’s co-employee, the employer may have various defenses to liability. However, if the harasser is a supervisor, Title VII’s strict liability standard may be triggered and the employer may be left defenseless.

So, who is considered a supervisor under Title VII?

More...

Title VII Liability for Considering Criminal Histories in Employment Decisions?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 5/21/2012

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued its Enforcement Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII). A survey cited by the EEOC found that 92% of responding employers subjected all or some of their job candidates to criminal background checks. More...

Supreme Court Adopts "Cat's Paw" Theory of Liability in Staub v. Proctor Hospital

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 7/6/2011
From The Monkey and the Cat, Jean de la Fontaine

No more are the princes, by flattery paid
For furnishing help in a different trade,
And burning their fingers to bring
More power to some mightier king.

Some time ago, we posed the following question to our readers: Can an employer be held liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) for racial discrimination even though the actual decision-maker did not know that the employee was being fired because he was African American?More...

Diversity Training and Investigation May Save Employer from Hostile Work Environment Claim

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 10/14/2010

Diversity in the workplace is a good thing. When men and women of different races, religions, ethnicities, and ages work together in an environment of tolerance and respect, the possibilities are limitless. More...

Florida's Constitution Amendment To Women in the Workplace: Visible Gains, Invisible Barriers

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 10/1/2010

Since WWII expanded women's roles into the military and business arenas, women have been making steady and significant strides toward full equality in the workplace. More...

Diversity Training and Investigation May Save Employer from Hostile Work Environment Claim

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 1/14/2010

Diversity in the workplace is a good thing. When men and women of different races, religions, ethnicities, and ages work together in an environment of tolerance and respect, the possibilities are limitless. More...

Congress Returns Serve: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 2/10/2009

Once upon a time, Lilly Ledbetter was a multi-millionaire.  Unlike a typical fairytale, however, Ms. Ledbetter was not left to live happily-ever-after with her newfound wealth.  More...

Religious Reasonable Accommodation

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 7/31/2008

One of my employees asked for time off to attend Samhain Sabbat, an important Wiccan festival. Given that the employee's beliefs are sincerely held, does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act require me to make a reasonable accommodation for a so-called non-traditional religion such as this? More...

Interracial Marriage Discrimination

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 5/22/2008

One of my employees, a white man, has been harassed and threatened with termination by his supervisor because he is married to an African-American woman. More...

Evidence of Discrimination

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 5/22/2008

When terminating an employee, I try to prevent a negative or humiliating confrontation by giving a neutral reason for the termination rather than stating outright that the actual cause is the employee's poor performance. More...

Co-Worker Retaliation under Title VII

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 4/25/2008

One of my employees, after alleging that a popular supervisor sexually harassed her, has also claimed to have been repeatedly harassed by several coworkers angry at her for filing a complaint against this supervisor, with whom they are friends. More...

Swapping Shifts to Accommodate Religion

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 4/3/2008

Some of my employees have voluntarily "swapped" shifts with their coworkers because of religious commitments. More...

The Human Equation's newsletters and publications are intended as an information source for the clients and friends of the firm. Their content should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon the information in these publications without professional guidance. Please note that newsletters and publications that are archived by The Human Equation are not updated after initial publication and may not contain the most current information available.

Refer to friendRefer to friend

Permission to ReprintPermission to Reprint

Contact a Subject Matter ExpertContact an Expert

Subscribe to Our NewsletterSubscribe to Our Newsletter

Tags

© 2017 - The Human Equation, Inc. All rights reserved. - Privacy Policy - Disclaimer -
Follow us on Facebook.comFollow us on Twitter.comFollow us on Linkedin.comFollow us on YouTube.comSubscribe to our RSS FeedSend us an email
Subscribe to our newsletter
900 South Pine Island Road, Suite 300 - Plantation, FL 33324 - Phone: 800-521-9667 / 954-382-0030 - Fax: 954-382-2810