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Daily Developments in EEO Law Archives

Roy v. Correct Care Solutions, LLC, No. 18-1313 (1st Cir. Jan. 28, 2019)

Sex harassment is often conflated with sexual misconduct, yet belittlement of and failure to cooperate with women at work - no less than sexual comments or physical grabbing - violates their rights as well. The First Circuit sends such a case back for trial, also addressing when a non-employer may be liable for retaliation.

Johnson v. Halstead, No. 17-10223 (5th Cir. Dec. 19, 2018)

A reminder from the Fifth Circuit: a shift transfer can be a materially adverse action for retaliation purposes. "[A] retaliatory shift change that places a substantial burden on the plaintiff, such as significant interference with outside responsibilities or drastically and objectively less desirable hours, can dissuade an employee from reporting discrimination."

Biel v. St. James School, No. 17-55180 (9th Cir. Dec. 17, 2018)

The Ninth Circuit, substantially parting with the reasoning of the Seventh, holds (2-1) that a fifth-grade parochial school teacher did not fall within the ministerial exception articulated in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC, 565 U.S. 171 (2012).

Mancini v. City of Providence, RI, No. 18-1011 (1st Cir. Nov. 21, 2018)

The First Circuit affirms that, in an ADA case, it is often not necessary to present expert medical testimony to prove a disability. Nevertheless, the panel affirms summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff - a police sergeant with a knee injury - failed to prove that his impairment substantially limited him in the major life activities of standing, walking, and bending.

Netter v. Guilford Cnty. Sheriff's Office, No. 18-1039 (4th Cir. Nov. 15, 2018)

The Fourth Circuit cautions employees (and their counsel) that taking actions to support an EEOC charge are not "protected activities" under the "participation" clause of Title VII's anti-retaliation section if they violate state law. Here, the court affirms summary judgment in a case where the employee copied and delivered confidential personnel files to the EEOC, in violation of North Carolina law.

EEOC v. North Memorial Health Care, No. 17-2926 (8th Cir. Nov. 13, 2018)

In a contentious 2-1 opinion, the Eighth Circuit holds that a job applicant who requests a religious accommodation - here, not to work Saturdays - is not engaged in a "protected activity" under the opposition clause of Title VII's retaliation provision. 

Gunter v. Bemis Co., Inc., No. 17-6144 (6th Cir. Oct. 16, 2018)

Through careful advocacy, a former factory worker with lifting restrictions preserves most of his jury verdict in an ADA discrimination case - $181,522.61 in back pay and $92,000 in compensatory damages - and is remanded to the district court for an award of front pay.

Donley v. Stryker Corp., No. 17-1195 (7th Cir. Oct. 15, 2018)

In a short-but-sweet opinion, the Seventh Circuit reverses summary judgment in a Title VII retaliation case, where the district court failed to perceive a genuine dispute of material fact: specifically, when company management first became aware of the plaintiff's alleged violation of work rules. By the plaintiff's account, management knowingly overlooked her alleged breach .... until she complained about sex harassment.

Exby-Stolley v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs, No. 16-1412 (10th Cir. Oct. 11, 2018)

The Tenth Circuit produces a clear circuit split on an issue now poised for Supreme Court review: must a ADA plaintiff challenging an employer's failure to reasonably accommodate a disability prove an adverse employment action? The panel splits two-to-one on this issue, in favor of the employer.

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.

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