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April 2013 Archives

Sexual Harassment Complaints By Males On The Rise: 2012 EEOC Enforcement and Litigation Statistics

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently released its 2012 Enforcement and Litigation Statistics[1] which provides that although the number of sexual harassment charges filed has decreased from 7,809 in 2011 to 7,571 in 2012, the percentage of charges filed by males has increased from 16.1% to 17.8%. Although women are still filing the majority of EEOC sexual harassment charges, it is worth noting this significant increase in charges filed by men.

Cloe v. City of Indianapolis, No. 12-1713 (7th Cir. Apr. 9, 2013)

Once again, a federal court of appeals is compelled to reverse summary judgment in a discrimination case where the employer brazenly offered no reason for its decision to terminate the plaintiff. The Seventh Circuit here remands claims of ADA discrimination and retaliation for an employee diagnosed with MS. (The ADA retaliation claim specifically concerns a manager who is openly resentful of the plaintiff's disability, all but accusing the plaintiff of malingering.) Judge David Hamilton, concurring, also explains why the common McDonnell Douglas method of proof may be backwards, essentially requiring the employee to guess at the employer's defense before it is offered.

Ayissi-Etoh v. Fannie Mae, No. 11-7127 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 5, 2013)

Here's a very important reminder that even a single verbal incident of racial harassment can constitute a hostile work environment, especially if it involves one of the most inflammatory words in the American English idiom. The D.C. Circuit, in a pro se appeal, reverses summary judgment on § 1981 harassment, retaliation and discrimination claims by an African-American Fannie Mae employee, finding a single use of the n-word sufficiently severe to present a triable issue of fact.

Westendorf v. West Coast Contractors, No. 11-16001 (9th Cir. Apr. 1, 2013)

An employer that strenuously denied that it fired an employee who complained about sex harassment finds itself short-handed on appeal. The Ninth Circuit - in a 2-1 decision - reverses summary judgment in this Title VII harassment and retaliation case, holding that an employer that fails to offer a reason or explanation for a termination decision creates an issue of fact for the jury to decide.

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