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February 2016 Archives

Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Assoc. v. U.S. Department of Labor, No. 13-35765 (9th Cir. Feb. 23, 2016); Joseph Cesarz et al. v. Wynn Las Vegas LLC et al., No. 14-15243 (9th Cir. Feb. 23, 2016) (consolidated opinion)

Quigg v. Thomas County school District, No. 14-14530 (11th Cir. Feb. 22, 2016)

The Eleventh Circuit adds its voice to the lower-court movement to abandon the McDonnell Douglas v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), proof framework in discrimination cases - such as this one - where the plaintiff presents circumstantial evidence that bias was a motivating factor in an adverse decision. This could be the case that allows the Supreme Court to revisit this long-standing precedent.

Village of Freeport v. Barrella, No. 14-2270 (2d Cir. Feb. 16, 2016)

Is There Title VII "race" discrimination if the two competing candidates identify as "white"? The Second Circuit holds that this scenario may state a claim where one of the candidates is deemed to be of "Hispanic" ethnicity.

Wheeler v. Georgetown University Hosp., No. 14-7108 (D.C. Feb. 12, 2016)

The D.C. Circuit addresses an all-too-common scenario where the employer - without apparent explanation - arguably comes down hardest on the Black employee rule-breaker. The court reverses summary judgment in a case involving nurses, where the Black nurse was allegedly singled out and fired for violations of protocol during a single shift.

Smith v. Rock-Tenn Services, Inc., No. 15-5534 (6th Cir. Feb. 10, 2016)

The Sixth Circuit affirms a $300,000 judgment for the male victim of same-sex harassment under Title VII. The panel underscores the imperative for employers to be vigilant against complaints of sexual contact, even when the conduct (in a male-dominated workplace) might be characterized by some as "horseplay."

Flynn v. Distinctive Home Care, Inc., No.15-50314 (5th Cir. Feb. 1, 2016)

Taking sides in a widening split in the circuits, the Fifth Circuit holds that an independent contractor - here, a pediatrician working on an United States Air Force base - can bring a claim for disability discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 against the clinic where she practiced.

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