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October 2012 Archives

Second Circuit Grants EEOC's Request for Injunctive Relief in Sexual Harassment Case

After a jury found that Defendant KarenKim, Inc. ("KarenKim") had subjected a class of female employees to a sexually hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and New York State Law, the EEOC moved to alter the judgment to impose broad injunctive relief against KarenKim to ensure that the pervasive sexual harassment that had occurred would not continue which included barring the re-hire of the sexual harasser, Allen Manwaring. The district court denied the EEOC's request in its entirety and the EEOC appealed. The Second Circuit found that such injunctive relief was necessary to address the "cognizable danger" of an employer "engaging in 'recurrent violations' of Title VII."

Social Media and Employment: My Name, My Picture, My Info - Why Not My Account

If you think your connections on LinkedIn belong to you (as opposed to your employer) just because your name and picture appear on the account - think again! A recent decision out of a federal district court in Pennsylvania provides some support for employers who argue that contacts derived from social media accounts that were created using work emails and accessed for work purposes belong to the employer, not the employee. On the other hand, the case also seems implicitly to acknowledge that the account itself belongs to the employee who created it.

Carroll v. Merrill Lynch, No. 12-1076 (7th Cir. Oct. 16, 2012)

Employees who wish to tape record conversations at or about work should be forewarned that, in some jurisdictions, secret and unconsented recordings are not allowed. From Illinois - which treats such one-party recordings as a felony - comes a case where one co-worker sued another (and the co-worker's spouse, as well) for taping an enraged phone call and turning the recording over to the employer. The defendants prevailed on summary judgment because of an exception in the law for recordings made under a "reasonable suspicion that another party to the conversation is committing, is about to commit, or has committed a criminal offense against that person or a member of his or her immediate household."

Acevedo-Parrilla v. Novartis Ex-Lax, No. 10-2276 (1st Cir. Oct. 10, 2012)

An employee with a 31-year history is fired at age 56 for allegedly failing to maintain sanitary conditions in a pharmaceutical plant, and sues for age discrimination under the ADEA in Puerto Rico law. Reversing summary judgment, the First Circuit finds relevant events that occurred after the employee was fired, particularly that his 34-year-old replacement was not fired after similar violations - including "a string of incidents occurred in which animals, including numerous insects, a lizard, and rats, entered the plant."

Bahl v. City of St. Paul, No. 11-2869 (8th Cir. Oct. 9, 2012)

This government services case, brought under Title II of the ADA and Minnesota state law, demonstrates graphically - in a lesson important to ADA Title I employment cases - how the absence of American sign-language interpreters can impede understanding (and possibly result in legal liability). The panel holds that the city's failure to provide signers for a police interrogation may violate the rights of the disabled accused.

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