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Employment Law Blog

Fox v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 17-0936 (2d Cir. Mar. 6, 2019)

The Second Circuit joins other courts in holding that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizes a "hostile work environment" theory, returning a case involving alleged taunting of an employee for his Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive‐Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms.

Hannah P. v. Coats, No. 17-1943 (4th Cir. Feb. 19, 2019)

The Fourth Circuit, while mostly affirming summary judgment, holds that the plaintiff - a former employee of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence - presented a genuine dispute of material fact on a claim of interference with Family and Medical Leave Act rights. The plaintiff complained that the agency failed to notify her of the right to medical leave when she presented as depressed in the workplace, complained about depression, and requested leave.

EEOC v. Global Horizons, No. 16-35528 (9th Cir. Feb. 6, 2019)

The Ninth Circuit addresses the legal standard for holding joint-employers liable under Title VII, in a case involving Thai contract workers hired under the H-2A guest-worker program to pick fruit in California orchards. The panel returns the case to the district court for more discovery and factual development.

EEOC v. McLeod Health, Inc., No. 17-2335 (4th Cir. Jan. 31, 2019)

As often as discrimination cases turn on hostility towards protected-class employees, it pays to remember that the same laws apply no less to discrimination motivated by other reasons, such as misguided paternalism. Here, the Fourth Circuit sends a case back for a trial where a hospital believed that 28-year-veteran employee could no longer safely navigate its campus.

Roy v. Correct Care Solutions, LLC, No. 18-1313 (1st Cir. Jan. 28, 2019)

Sex harassment is often conflated with sexual misconduct, yet belittlement of and failure to cooperate with women at work - no less than sexual comments or physical grabbing - violates their rights as well. The First Circuit sends such a case back for trial, also addressing when a non-employer may be liable for retaliation.

Can an Employer Ask for or Maintain a List of Pregnant Employees?

You may know that federal law prohibits an employer or prospective employer from treating an employee or prospective employee differently because she is pregnant. But can an employer maintain a list of employees it knows to be pregnant? As with many other issues in employment law, the permissibility of such a practice likely depends on the circumstances, the intent, and the manner in which the list is maintained and distributed.

Johnson v. Halstead, No. 17-10223 (5th Cir. Dec. 19, 2018)

A reminder from the Fifth Circuit: a shift transfer can be a materially adverse action for retaliation purposes. "[A] retaliatory shift change that places a substantial burden on the plaintiff, such as significant interference with outside responsibilities or drastically and objectively less desirable hours, can dissuade an employee from reporting discrimination."

Biel v. St. James School, No. 17-55180 (9th Cir. Dec. 17, 2018)

The Ninth Circuit, substantially parting with the reasoning of the Seventh, holds (2-1) that a fifth-grade parochial school teacher did not fall within the ministerial exception articulated in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC, 565 U.S. 171 (2012).

AI Exposes Employees to Increased Security and Privacy Risks

For all of its ostensible benefits and efficiencies, widespread implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) poses significant danger to workers in the U.S. and elsewhere. As employers increase the amount of employee data they collect, so does the risk that the information will be abused, placing employee security and privacy in peril.

The Very Real Threat of AI in the Workplace

Science fiction movies and sensational headlines warn us that artificial intelligence (AI) is going to make our jobs obsolete, widen the chasm between the very rich and the barely-surviving poor, and even develop superior consciousness. Far-fetched fantasies aside, many of AI's applications pose some very real threats to the modern workplace.

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