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May 2013 Archives

EEOC v. Houston Funding II, No. 12-20220 (5th Cir. May 30, 2013)

The Fifth Circuit holds that discriminating against a woman who is lactating or expressing breast milk violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act provisions of Title VII.

Haire v. Louisiana State Univ., No. 12-30290 (5th Cir. May 21, 2013)

The Fifth Circuit grapples with how, under Title VII, a court may impute the discriminatory behavior of a co-worker to the ultimate decision-maker, in light of Staub v. Proctor Hospital, 131 S. Ct. 1186 (2011). The court reverses summary judgment, holding that a co-worker's campaign to damage a female officer's reputation and prevent her promotion could be attributed to his superiors.

Evans v. Sebelius, No. 11-5120 (D.C. Cir. May 17, 2013)

The D.C. Circuit remands a federal-sector race discrimination case for trial, where a jury will decide whether the agency's (alleged) inability to keep its story straight about the process it used to interview candidates - and then supposedly cancel a new GS-14 position - demonstrates racial bias.

Owusu-Ansah v. The Coca-Cola Co., No. 11-13663 (11th Cir. May 8, 2013)

Not all of the protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act are limited to disabled persons. The AD also protects employees from undergoing unconsented medical exams, unless the employer can show that the exam is job-related and consistent with business necessity (42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(4)(A)). In this Eleventh Circuit case, the panel holds that an employee does not need to be disabled to have standing to bring suit under this section. The panel, nonetheless, affirms summary judgment for the employer, finding that it made out its job-related/business-necessity defense as a matter of law.

Second Circuit: Claims Under the NYCHRL Shall Be Construed More Broadly Than Those Under Title VII or the NYSHRL (Mihalik v. Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America, Inc.)

Plaintiff, a female employee, brought a sexual harassment and retaliation claim under the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Adm. Code §8-101 et seq. ("NYCHRL"), against her employer, claiming that her supervisor ran the office like a "boys' club" and subjected her to sexually suggestive comments including propositioning her for sex. The Second Circuit, in a 39-page opinion, reversed the lower court's dismissal of Plaintiff's claims and remanded for trial, holding that Plaintiff's claims should be "broadly construed" under the NYCHRL's protections which are intended to go above and beyond the floor provided by federal law.

Miller v. Raytheon Co., No. 11-10586 (5th Cir. May 2, 2013)

In a review of a $17 million jury verdict in an age discrimination case (significantly reduced by the district court judge), the Fifth Circuit issues an important decision about who gets to decide the award for future pension benefits - the bench or jury - and whether the monetary equivalent of such benefits is subject to doubling as "liquidated damages" under the ADEA. It also deviates from recent case law of other circuits in holding that a $100,000 emotional distress damage award cannot be sustained without medical testimony.

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