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Daily Developments in EEO Law Archives

Fallon v. Mercy Catholic Med. Ctr., No. 16-3573 (3d Cir. Dec. 14, 2017)

In a rare federal court of appeals opinion in this area, the Third Circuit has occasion to decide whether a hospital employee manifested a religious (versus an ethical) objection to getting a flu shot that would be protected by Title VII's religious-accommodation provision, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(j).

Clemens v. Qwest Corp., No. 15-35160 (9th Cir Nov. 3, 2017)

The Ninth Circuit becomes the fourth court of appeals to recognize tax gross-up awards to successful Title VII plaintiffs, which recognize (and compensate for) the tax penalty that plaintiffs suffer when they receive lump sums of back pay in a single tax year. 

Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, Ala., No. 16-13003 (11th Cir. Sept. 7, 2017)

In a potentially important development for family-responsibilities discrimination law, the Eleventh Circuit upholds a $161,319.92 award for a woman who was forced to quit police work because the city would not accommodate her breastfeeding.

Moody v. Atlantic City Bd. of Educ., No. 16-4373 (3d Cir. Sept. 6, 2017)

The Third Circuit holds, in a 2-1 decision, that an individual may be a "supervisor" for purposes of imputing liability to the employer vicariously for sex harassment if they are "tasked with creating a work schedule" for their subordinates.  

McKinney v. Sheriff's Office of Whitley Co., No. 16-4131 (7th Cir. Aug. 8, 2017)

The Seventh Circuit reverses and remands a Title VII claim for trial that it describes as a potentially "strong case of race discrimination." In particular, it reminds district courts that the "same actor" inference - that a manager who hires Black employees is unlikely to be biased against them - is at most an argument for trial, not a rule for deciding summary judgment.

T-Mobile USA, Incorporated v. NLRB, No. 16-60284 (5th Cir. July 25, 2017)

The Fifth Circuit enforces a National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") order striking down an employer's policy that banned the use of "cameras, camera phones/devices, or recording devices (audio or video) in the workplace."

Alamo v. Bliss, No. 15-2849 (7th Cir. July 20, 2017)

The Seventh Circuit decides a couple of useful things in this Title VII and § 1983 national-origin discrimination, harassment, and retaliation case, set in a City of Chicago firehouse. First, it holds that even petty activity such as lunch-stealing may constitute part of a hostile work environment when the entire pattern of conduct is considered together. Second, even such tedious activities as constantly shifting an employee from site to site, and intensively challenging fitness for duty after medical leave, may constitute materially adverse employment actions.

Castleberry v. STI Group, No. 16-3131 (3d Cir. July 14, 2017)

The Third Circuit holds that a manager's single use of a racial slur, combined with a threat to fire a Black employee, may be enough all by itself to constitute a hostile work environment under Section 1981.

Donathan v. Oakley Grain, Inc., No. 15-3508 (8th Cir. June 28, 2017)

The Eighth Circuit holds that a granary employee who complained about sex discrimination in her paycheck - only to have her manager initiate her layoff literally minutes later - was entitled to have a jury decide whether she suffered retaliation under the Equal Pay Act, Title VII and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act.

Bayer v. Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., No. 15-15287 (9th Cir. June 26, 2017)

Here's a timely reminder to include a prayer for nominal damages in Title VII and ADA complaints. At least in some circuits, including the Ninth, such relief is deemed equitable and thus may protect a claim from being mooted by intervening changed circumstances. That little toehold for $1.00 in damages may be the difference between outright dismissal and prevailing-party status.

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