In a potentially important development for family-responsibilities discrimination law, the Eleventh Circuit upholds a $161,319.92 award for a woman who was forced to quit police work because the city would not accommodate her breastfeeding.
Effective January 1, 2015 the pregnancy discrimination and accommodation amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) became law, requiring many employers in the state to update or change their policies with respect to expecting and new mothers in the workplace.
A recent lawsuit filed in California state court against The Oprah Winfrey Network sheds light on pregnancy and leave discrimination issues in the workplace.
Owing to a tactical decision by the defendant and some inopportune drafting, a panel of the First Circuit holds (2-1) that an arbitration clause tacked onto an employment application did not apply to a person who interviewed for a job but was never hired - allegedly because she was eight months' pregnant at the time.
An employer who fires an employee expressly because she became pregnant before marrying the father obviously violates the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. And it did not help the employer, in this case, that it asserted the "ministerial exception," as recently declared in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. v. EEOC, 132 S.Ct. 694, 706 (2012).
The Eleventh Circuit affirms a jury verdict for the employee in a pregnancy discrimination case, and restores $80,000 in back pay damages that the district court erroneously vacated. The case goes to demonstrate that not all discrimination cases involve malice or animus - in this case, the decision appears to have been motivated by a misguided maternalism.
Memo to Directors of Human Resources: what you tell an employee about an adverse employment decision is admissible as evidence in a Title VII case, even if you were not personally involved in the final decision. The Seventh Circuit so holds in a case reversing summary judgment in a pregnancy-discrimination and FMLA case.
The European Parliament recently set forward a proposal to extend its parental leave to include 18 weeks full pay of maternity leave and 2 weeks full pay of paternity leave. See Maternity Leave Revisions Contiune to Split EP and Council. While there has been opposition to the amendments in Europe in the face of an economic crisis, Edite Estrela, an MP from Portugual, recently argued that "maternity should not be seen as a burden on the economy but rather as a service provided to society." In the EU, the current minimum maternity leave is 14 weeks.
A split jury verdict, of a kind now common in Title VII cases, is affirmed in full (in a non-precedential decision) by a 2-1 panel of the Tenth Circuit. The jury rejected the employee's gender discrimination claim, while awarding her $3 million in compensatory damages on her retaliation claim. The district court capped the award at $300,000, as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(b)(3), but added $89,877 in back pay, and the Tenth Circuit remands for an award of attorneys' fees.