"Steven Smothers worked for Solvay Chemical, Inc. ('Solvay') for 18 years until Solvay fired him, ostensibly because of a first-time safety violation and a dispute with a coworker." The Tenth Circuit reverses summary judgment in this ADA and FMLA case, holding that the employee created a genuine dispute of material fact about whether Solvay singled him out for harsher treatment than his coworkers. The company, according to the summary judgment record, committed the rookie HR mistake of not allowing the employee to present his side of the story.
Within a week of Abercrombie & Fitch ("A&F") announcing a settlement with the EEOC of two Title VII religious accommodation claims involving hijab-wearing employees in California, the Tenth Circuit orders entry of judgment for the clothing retailer against the EEOC in a similar case arising out of Oklahoma. The 2-1 decision applies a formalistic circuit rule that "the applicant or employee must initially provide the employer with explicit notice of the conflicting religious practice and the need for an accommodation for it." Employees are forewarned that, where workplace accommodations are concerned, courts expect you speak up for your rights.
Two women sales representatives who were denied promotions by hardware giant Hilti get a renewed opportunity to prove at trial that they were denied promotions because of sex, thanks to a Tenth Circuit decision on Tuesday. Among other evidence in the record: the male manager evaluating one plaintiff allegedly told her that tools "are like guns for men" and using them is "almost like second nature."
The Tenth Circuit joins other circuits and the EEOC in holding, under the Rehabilitation Act, that the required "reasonable accommodation" of persons with disabilities is not limited to accommodations related to the essential functions of a job. Here, the court holds that it may be a reasonable accommodation to transfer an employee to a major metropolitan area to enable her to get Medical attention. "Considering the case law from this court and others, we conclude that a transfer accommodation for Medical care or treatment is not per se unreasonable, even if an employee is able to perform the essential functions of her job without it."
The Tenth Circuit becomes the latest U.S. court of appeals to address the controversy of leave-time as a "reasonable accommodation" under the ADA. The court, in line with There circuits, recognizes the concept but holds that such leaves must be of a limited, definite duration.
The Tenth Circuit issues two decisions today, both involving the EEOC - in different capacities. In the first, the court splits 2-1 on an ADA reasonable accommodation and retaliation case brought by the Commission itself, holding that a photography studio was not required to accommodate a deaf photographer by providing an ASL signer. In the second, in which the EEOC appeared as amicus, the court affirms summary judgment on a sex harassment claim but reverses on a retaliation claim.
The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to take a look at a long-standing circuit split under Title VII, about how much authority an agent of an employer must exercise over an employee to be deemed a "supervisor" for purposes of vicarious liability for sex or other harassment. The Tenth Circuit, meanwhile, remands a race harassment case for trial, finding sufficient evidence that the harassment was severe.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 righted an injustice to employees whose discriminatory compensation results from numerous, cumulative and small decisions that are not separately actionable under Title VII and other statutes. By that Act, Congress abrogated the unpopular 5-4 decision, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618, 622 (2007), placing a short deadline on filing such claims. But the Act is not a cure-all for everything ailing employees, as two decisions this week by the Second and Tenth Circuits demonstrate.
A Title VII national-origin, race and retaliation opinion, amended and re-published today by the Tenth Circuit, creates a split with the Second Circuit, holding that an labor arbitration award - though admissible to prove or disprove a Title VII or § 1981 claim - does not entitle the award winner to a presumption in its favor in litigation.
The Tenth Circuit continues a split in the circuits by holding - once again - that an employee must lodge separate EEOC charges for acts of retaliation that occur after the first charge is filed - in this case, even after a civil action is commenced. The Fourth Circuit fairly recently held otherwise.