The Fifth Circuit holds that an unstrung father struggling with child care deserves a jury trial (for FMLA retaliation) against a slew of reasons offered by Chevron for his termination. This case may also prove useful for Title VII litigants. Under that statute, a plaintiff who proves that discrimination was a "motivating factor" in workplace treatment gets a judgment in her favor. Yet an employer that proves that it "would have taken the same action in the absence" of discrimination can avoid paying monetary damages. Courts have reported very few decisions interpreting this "same decision" defense. Here, the Fifth Circuit holds that evidence that would otherwise be sufficient to prevail in a "single motive" case is not necessarily enough to win the day under "same decision."
A recent lawsuit filed in California state court against The Oprah Winfrey Network sheds light on pregnancy and leave discrimination issues in the workplace.
A federal district court in Houston, Texas held in order dated February 9, 2012 that an employer did not discriminate against a woman who alleged she was fired for asking for a private location to pump breast milk after she returned from maternity leave. This decision, though, is hardly the last word on the civil rights of nursing mothers.
Memo to Directors of Human Resources: what you tell an employee about an adverse employment decision is admissible as evidence in a Title VII case, even if you were not personally involved in the final decision. The Seventh Circuit so holds in a case reversing summary judgment in a pregnancy-discrimination and FMLA case.