Archives: Discrimination

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UPDATE: New York State Expected to Vastly Overhaul Harassment/Discrimination Laws Again

As we reported in our blog post, and our summer newsletter, in late June, the New York Legislature passed a bill that vastly changed the discrimination and harassment landscape for employers. Today, Gov. Cuomo signed that bill into law.   As a result, employers likely now need to change their New York state-required anti-harassment policies and training. … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court reopens the door for SLAPPing retaliation and discrimination claims

The California Supreme Court has ruled that a former employee’s retaliation or discrimination claim can be dismissed at the initial stages of litigation via California’s anti-SLAPP statute. In Wilson v. CNN, decided July 22, 2019, the court overturned decisions of several courts of appeal that held otherwise and returned a strong tool to employers in … Continue Reading

New York State Bans Race Discrimination Based on Hair Texture and Hairstyles

We previously reported that the NYC Commission on Human Rights issued legal enforcement guidance for employers regarding racial discrimination on the basis of hair under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). Although that guidance does not reflect a change in the NYCHRL, it makes clear that employers’ grooming and appearance policies may not … Continue Reading

New York State Expected to Vastly Overhaul Harassment/Discrimination Laws Again

Late on June 19, New York lawmakers passed a bill that makes wide-sweeping changes to New York State discrimination and harassment law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has indicated that he will sign the bill, but he has not done so at this point. The bill implements changes related to the construction, definitions, proofs, affirmative defenses, policies … Continue Reading

NYC Guidance For Discrimination Based on Hair and Hairstyles

Last week, the NYC Commission on Human Rights issued legal enforcement guidance on racial discrimination on the basis of hair under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The guidance indicates that natural hair or hairstyles are closely associated with racial, ethnic or cultural identities, and it specifically addresses natural hair or hairstyles most … Continue Reading

New York State (Finally) Passes Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act

Last week, following 16 years of discussion and debate, the New York state legislature finally passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The act would amend the state New York Human Rights Law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in housing, employment and public accommodations. The act defines gender identity … Continue Reading

UPDATE: The Second Circuit Finds Title VII Protects Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination

As we discussed in our May 22, 2017 blog post, the Second Circuit agreed to hold an en banc hearing to determine whether an estate for a gay man, who alleged he was terminated as a result of a customer complaint related to his sexual orientation, may revive its previously dismissed case against the deceased’s … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Will Be in Effect Before You Know It

As you may know, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in July, expanding state protections for pregnant women and new mothers, and setting new rules for employers with six or more employees. Below is a brief synopsis of some of the most important changes that you should know about, and what … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Supreme Court Holds Employee Can Pursue State Law Disability Discrimination Claim for Failure to Accommodate Off-Duty Use of Medical Marijuana

On July 17, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court concluded that an employee could sue her employers for state law disability discrimination for failing to accommodate her use of medical marijuana after she failed to pass a drug test. In so holding, the court interpreted workplace protections not explicitly stated in Massachusetts’ medical marijuana law. … Continue Reading

New York District Court Holds That Title VII Protects Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination

UPDATE:  On May 22, 2017, in Melissa Zarda et al. v. Altitude Express d/b/a Skydive Long Island et al., the Second Circuit agreed to hold an en banc hearing to determine whether an estate for a gay man, who alleged he was terminated as a result of a customer complaint related to his sexual orientation, … Continue Reading

Recent Developments in Transgender Issues

UPDATE: Transgender Individuals Have Right to Choose Their Gender Appropriate Bathroom On May 30, 2017, in Ashton Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District et al., the Seventh Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction requiring a Wisconsin school district to permit a trans male individual to use the men’s restroom. In so doing, the Seventh Circuit ruled … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues New Enforcement Guidance On National Origin Discrimination

On Nov. 21, 2016, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination for the first time in 14 years. Some may speculate whether this has anything to do with increased ethnic tensions in the wake of the presidential campaign and election results. Some also recognize that in … Continue Reading

Transgender Issues in the Law and in the Workplace

UPDATE: On Friday, October 28, 2016, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the Fourth Circuit case arising out of Virginia, which was discussed in our Sept. 21, 2016 blog post.  The Fourth Circuit case related to a high school student’s ability to use the bathroom of the sex with which he identifies.  In August, the Court also … Continue Reading

Who Is Houston’s New “HERO”? Houston City Council Passes Sweeping Equal Rights Ordinance

***UPDATE*** Houston’s controversial equal rights ordinance (commonly referred to as HERO) failed by a wide margin on Tuesday. Houstonians rejected the proposition by a vote of 61% to 39%. Largely conservative opponents pursued an ad campaign arguing that the ordinance would allow sexual predators dressed as women to enter women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers. … Continue Reading

Financial Agencies’ Joint Diversity Standards Voluntary for Regulated Entities

Six federal financial agencies—the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Agencies”)—joined forces to issue a final interagency policy statement on June 9, 2015, which establishes joint standards for … Continue Reading

“Spacious Accommodations”: Supreme Court Breaks New Ground in Pregnancy Discrimination Case

On March 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, revived a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by Peggy Young against United Parcel Service (“UPS”). The decision vacated the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that Young could not make a case for discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) and sent the case … Continue Reading

Employees can have their transfer and sue you too!

A recent court decision allows employees who request a lateral transfer to later change their minds and sue for discrimination based on the very transfer they sought. So an employer’s claim that it merely gave the employee what he or she asked for is no defense. In Deleon v. Kalamazoo Cnty. Rd. Comm’n, the Sixth … Continue Reading

Thirty Years of Law in Thirty-Some Pages: The EEOC’s New Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued its “Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues.” It was no minor undertaking. According to the EEOC’s Questions and Answers about the Guidance, it “updates prior guidance on this subject in light of legal developments over the past thirty years.” This Guidance comes as little surprise. … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Petition that Proceeding as a Collective Action Under the FLSA is a Non-Waivable Substantive Right

In the last week, we have seen several significant decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court.  On Monday, however, the Court made a noteworthy “non-decision” by declining a petition for certiorari that raised the question of whether a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act is a non-waivable, substantive right. In Walthour v. Chipio Windshield … Continue Reading

Anti-Discrimination Laws Going “Intern”-ational? New York City Extends Its Human Rights Law to Unpaid Interns

As we reported last October, a federal court in New York found that an unpaid intern could not bring a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”).  (Wang v. Phoenix Satellite Television US, Inc., Case No. 1:13-cv-00218-PKC (S.D.N.Y. 2013).  On March 26, however, the New York … Continue Reading
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