The Seventh Circuit reiterates that the task of the district court deciding a motion for summary judgment in a Title VII case is not to "ask whether any particular piece of evidence proves the case by itself," but instead to aggregate the evidence "to find an overall likelihood of discrimination." The panel notes here that hiring procedures may have been twisted to favor male applicants for coaching jobs over the plaintiff.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201, hereinafter "the Act"), signed into law Thursday by the President, provides two new, important worker protections related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both go into effect April 2, 2020 (fifteen days after enactment) and expire December 31, 2020.
The Second Circuit analyzes a claim that an ADEA plaintiff was "constructively discharged," that is, compelled to retire or resign against their will. The panel holds that a threat of imminent termination for supposedly stealing a canister of poppin' fresh biscuits was enough to support such a claim.
The Second Circuit reminds courts that it is not necessary for a Title VII harassment plaintiff to prove specifically that there was physical contact, that their work performance suffered, or that they were personally targeted for harassment to prove that there was a "severe or pervasive" hostile work environment.
On remand from the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit reaffirms its original en banc holding that a "factor other than sex" under the Equal Pay Act (29 U.S.C. §206(d)(1)) must be "job-related," and thus rejects an employer's use of pre-employment salary history as a reason to pay a woman less than a man doing the same work. The court once again overrules its prior decision on this subject, Kouba v. Allstate Ins. Co., 691 F.3d 873 (9th Cir. 1982).
Here's another case of a judge not thinking like a juror: most fair-minded people would consider it evidence of pregnancy discrimination that a manager launched an audit and started putting negative reports in an employee's file literally days after she announced her pregnancy. The district court judge did not get this, but the Second Circuit reverses and sends the case back for trial. The panel also addresses the standard for proving sex discrimination in pay under Title VII, outside of the "equal work" framework.
Some courts are still ruling on ADA cases as if the 2008 amendments never occurred. The Sixth Circuit reverses summary judgment in a case where the district court placed too high a burden on the plaintiff to prove she was disabled.
The Seventh Circuit's opinion contains useful guidance for employees suffering disability discrimination and harassment. One key takeaway: plaintiffs should not be quick to assume - in charging, pleading and proving a hostile-work-environment claim - that harassment always constitutes one continuing violation. "[A] substantial passage of time without incident known to the employer, a change in the employee's supervisors, [or] an intervening remedial action by the employer" may break the chain.
It's surprising that the district courts continue to get this wrong: the Tenth Circuit reverses summary judgment in an ADA case because the judge erroneously held that the plaintiff needed expert testimony to prove that she was disabled with a back injury.
A nurse is fired, supposedly for clinical errors, but an email is circulated to staff saying that she was fired because she "has been having major issues with her eyesight and as of late, it has seemed to be getting even worse." The Sixth Circuit finds that the email and other evidence present a triable case of regarded-as disability discrimination under the ADA.