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September 2018 Archives

Gogel v. Kia Motors Mfg. of Georgia, Inc., No. 16-16850 (11th Cir. Sept. 24, 2018)

There have been various cases that have addressed whether human-resource professionals may benefit from the anti-retaliation provisions of federal employment law when they are fired for investigating or pursuing an EEO claim, as part of their duties. In this fascinating case, the Eleventh Circuit (dividing 2-1) holds that an HR manager who the company believed "encouraged or even solicited" an employee to sue her employer was protected by Title VII.

EEOC v. Costco Warehouse Corp., No. 17-2432 (7th Cir. Sept. 10, 2018)

Title VII requires that employers exercise due care to prevent sexual harassment of their employees by customers. The EEOC prevailed at trial on just such a claim, winning a $250,000 verdict for a woman shelver who - a jury found - was stalked for over a year by a male customer, while Costco took inadequate measures to protect her. The Seventh Circuit upholds the verdict, and even remands the case back to the district court for award of more back-pay relief.

Hager v. DBG Partners, Inc., No. 17-11147 (5th Cir. Sept. 6, 2018)

The Fifth Circuit becomes the first federal court of appeals to recognize a remedy for a plan's failure to notify a COBRA participant of the termination of a health-care plan under 29 U.S.C. § 1166(a)(4): award of a civil penalty under 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(a)(1)(A) and 1132(c)(1).

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