Showing posts with label sex discrimination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sex discrimination. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2024

"Why would you want a man's job?" = big job interview no-no, says EEOC in lawsuit


"Why would you want a man's job?" Why do you want to take a job away from a man?"

Those interview questions are at the center of a lawsuit the EEOC filed against Waste Industries, a solid waste removal, recycling pickup, and landfill operation business.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

It's illegal to deny coverage for gender-affirming care to a transgender employee simply because the employee is transgender


Can an employer-sponsored health plan legally deny coverage for gender-affirming care to a transgender employee simply because the employee is transgender?

According to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Lange v. Houston Cty., the answer is an unequivocal "No, it cannot!"

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

“DEI” is not a 4-letter word


"DEI" is not a 4-letter word … no matter what some people want you to believe.

Companies such as Sherwin-Williams are scrapping their internal use of the words "Diversity," "Equity," and "Inclusion," and are replacing them with words such as "Belonging" and "Culture."

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Ending gender bias in dress codes


During the recent Super Bowl halftime show, Usher took off his shirt and everyone oohed and aahed over his performance. Twenty years ago, Janet Jackson's breast was accidentally exposed during her halftime performance and the world stopped to nearly ruin her career over a wardrobe malfunction.

We need to have a serious conversation about sex-based stereotypes, double standards, and workplace dress code.

Here are 7 tips to draft a non-discriminatory, gender-neutral dress code for your workplace:

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

A DEI smackdown


It's a DEI heavyweight battle of epic proportions that played out of X over the past week.

In the blue corner, hailing from Big D, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban: 

I've never hired anyone based exclusively on race, gender, religion. I only ever hire the person that will put my business in the best position to succeed. And yes, race and gender can be part of the equation. I view diversity as a competitive advantage.

And in the red corner, hailing from our nation's capital, EEOC Commissioner Andrea Lucas: 

Unfortunately you’re dead wrong on black-letter Title VII law. As a general rule, race/sex can't even be a "motivating factor" — nor a plus factor, tie-breaker, or tipping point.… This isn't an opinion; reasonable minds can't disagree on this point. It's the plain text of Title VII.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

It’s illegal for gay people to discriminate against straight people … just not on these facts in this case


There is no such thing as "reverse" discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination, whether the victim is, for example, Black or white, female or male, gay or straight. When the employee claiming discrimination is in the majority, however, in the 6th Circuit they must not only show disparate treatment, but also must show "background circumstances to support the suspicion that the defendant is that unusual employer who discriminates against the majority."

Which brings us to the story of Marlean Ames, a straight woman who sued the Ohio Department of Youth Services for sex discrimination under Title VII claiming that her lesbian supervisor discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation. Ames claimed that OHYS passed her over for a promotion, demoted her, and promoted a gay man to her former position.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

DEI programs continue to be a lawsuit target


Major League Baseball. NASCAR. Starbucks. McDonald’s. Morgan Stanley, American, United and Southwest Airlines. America First Legal, a conservative group led by Stephen Miller, has targeted each of these for their “illegal” practices of hiring non-Whites and females.

In its most recent letter to the EEOC, urging it to investigate American Airlines, AFL cited the following as evidence of “unlawful employment practices” —

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

$2.6 million reasons why it’s illegal to fire a gay employee


Yesterday, a federal jury in Columbus returned a $2.6 million verdict in favor of Stacey Yerkes, a former Ohio State Highway Patrol employee who claimed that she was constructively discharged (forced to quit based on intolerable and unreasonable working conditions) because of her sexual orientation.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

X marks the spot


There's nothing inherently illegal about naming one of your conference rooms "s3xy." If, however, your company has a history of allegations of sexual harassment and other sex discrimination, it's not the wisest choice.

"s3Xy" is among the names X (née Twitter) chose to rebrand the conference rooms inside its corporate offices. X's sister companies, SpaceX and Tesla, have a long history of defending sexual harassment lawsuits (and allegedly retaliating against the victims). All of these companies have one thing in common — Elon Musk.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Intentional misgendering IS sexual harassment


Jane works as a cashier at a donut shop. She is a transgender female who identifies by a female name and female pronouns. Her supervisor, Lisa, however, refuses to use Jane's preferred gender. She uses Jane's male legal name, male pronouns, and "dude" when referring to her, despite Jane's frequent requests for her to use female pronouns and the preferred female name. Lisa would similarly encourage customers not to use Jane's preferred name or pronouns.

Did Lisa create a hostile work environment based on Jane's sex? 

You bet she did.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Dress codes and gender biases


Women are prohibited from showing their bare arms.
Women are required to cover their dress with a second layer.

These are two new rules the Missouri House of Representatives enacted for its current term. It did not enact any new dress code policies for men. That's a big discriminatory problem. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

B-i-t-c-h spells dismissal


We're a team, we need to work together. Maybe we need to have a department meeting where we workshop with each other and really get to know each other. There's going to be days where you're going to be a B-I-T-C-H and there's going to be days where [the female servers] [are] going to be anxious and flip out and you need to be able to calm them down and get them what they need and not taking things personally so that they don't reflect of an image of you that may not be fully accurate.

That's what Tina Braunstein, a bartender working at The Plaza Hotel, claims one of her supervisors, Martin Mariano, told her during her 60-day review. When the hotel terminated her employment shortly thereafter and during her probationary period, she pointed to Mariano's spelling of "b-i-t-c-h" as evidence of his sexually discriminatory motive.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Abortion travel benefits don’t discriminate against non-abortion-seeking pregnant workers


Within hours of the Supreme Court releasing its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and reversing Roe v. Wade, DICK'S Sporting Goods announced that it will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement for an employee, spouse, or dependent enrolled in its medical plan (plus one support person) to travel to the nearest location where abortion care is legally available. 

Last week, America First Legal, an ultra-conservative non-profit legal group run by "patriots" such as Stephen Miller and Mark Meadows, filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asking the agency to conclude that DICK'S offering of abortion travel benefits discriminates against female employees who choose to give birth. According to America First Legal Senior Counselor and Director of Oversight Reed D. Rubinstein, "Subsidizing travel for an abortion, while denying an equivalent benefit to a mother welcoming a new baby, is perverse and unlawful."

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

“Abortion discrimination” = illegal pregnancy discrimination … even after Dobbs


Is it legal to fire an employee who has an abortion? This is question that a lot of employers and employees will now be asking in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that that there is no constitutional right to abortion.

As controversial and divisive of an issue as abortion is (perhaps now more than ever), the law is clear that an employer cannot fire an employee for having one. Nothing the Supreme Court did in Dobbs changes this.

Monday, June 27, 2022

The best response to the end of Roe v. Wade came from a company called DICK’S


Within hours of the Supreme Court announcing its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Lauren Horbart, the President and CEO of DICK'S Sporting Goods, posted the following on LinkedIn.
At DICK’S, our teammates are the heart of our business, and we are committed to protecting their health and well-being.… 
In response to today's ruling, we are announcing that if a state one of our teammates lives in restricts access to abortion, DICK'S Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available. This benefit will be provided to any teammate, spouse or dependent enrolled in our medical plan, along with one support person.

We recognize people feel passionately about this topic -- and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision. However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Employers, your awful stereotypes in job ads aren’t cute or clever, they’re offensive and illegal


"Meet H&N's newest assistant brewer," the Instagram post began. How nice, a brewery advertising its female-friendly work environment. 
"She always has a smile on her face and never talks back!"

Uh oh! That took quite the turn, and not for the better.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Series of promotions dooms gay brewery employee’s sex discrimination claim


Midland Brewing Company hired Ryan Boshaw to work as a server. Over the span of nine months, it promoted him three times, to an hourly managerial position, to floor leader, and ultimately to front-of-house operations manager (the second highest ranking position in the business). 

Shortly after Boshaw's final promotion, however, Midland terminated him following a series of performance-related issues and concerns. The brewery had issue with how he handled an issue with customers who found hair in their food. He deviated from his job assignments and interfered with how others performed their jobs. He brough the wrong resume to an interview of a prospective employee. The final straw for the brewery was Boshaw missing a mandatory meeting after texting a co-worker that the meetings were "such a waste of time," and then being no-call/no-show for his shift that evening. The brewery fired him the next day because of his "absence and failure to notify management" in addition to "other issues."

Where's the claim that supports Boshaw's federal lawsuit? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

If you want to get yourself into discrimination hot water, stereotype your protected-class employees


To cases recently settled by the EEOC illustrate the point that stereotypes of protected-class employees are a quick path an expensive lesson.

  • Ranew's Management Company agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a disability discrimination claim after it fired an employee based on a "lack of trust" instead of permitting her to return from a leave of absence resulting from severe depression.
  • American Freight Furniture and Mattress agreed to pay $5,000,000 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit based on allegations that managers made hiring decisions based on bias and stereotypes, including that women would not "do as great a job at selling furniture as men," could not work in the warehouse because "women can’t lift," and that female employees would be " distraction" to their male coworkers. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Pumping up workplace lactation rights


The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement with Labcorp over allegations that it failed to provide lactating employees a space for them to express milk privately without fear of intrusion.

The investigation stemmed from an allegation of one employee in the company's Lynwood, California, location. DOL investigators determined that when the employee asked for a private place to express her breast milk, supervisors offered a common space that resulted in her being interrupted twice. As result, and per its settlement with the DOL, Labcorp has agreed, for all of its 2,000-plus locations nationwide, to "provide a private space as required with a notification on the door to guarantee an intrusion-free space."

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Employment law lessons from “Ted Lasso” – dating the boss


If you've not yet watched episode 8 (Man City) of the current second season of Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso and you don't want to be spoiled, now would be a good time to click the back button on your browser or close your email. Good? Okay. No grumbling; you've been warned.