EEOC Hearing Highlights Impact of Age Discrimination

July 16, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a public hearing on July 15 to review recent developments under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The panel discussed the effects of widespread layoffs, threats to employee benefits, and controversial recent court decisions on older workers. The panelists testified in detail about the damaging effect of age stereotyping and recent judicial decisions that have curtailed older workers’ ability to challenge age discrimination, citing Kentucky Retirement Systems v. EEOC and Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., as examples.

The experts also proposed – and urged – a variety of potential enforcement and policy solutions to counteract adverse judicial decisions, such as: read more…

More on Supreme Court’s Ruling in Key Reverse Discrimination Case

June 30, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On Monday (June 29, 2009), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of white firefighters in a 5-4 decision addressing workplace reverse discrimination. The Court held, in Ricci v. DeStefano, that the city of New Haven, Connecticut, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it threw out the results of a written exam used in the promotion of firefighters because non enough minorities passed the test.

Although the case has been in the media since it reached the Supreme Court, it became very highly publicized once President Barack Obama chose Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee. Sotomayor was part of the three-judge Second Circuit panel that upheld New Haven’s decision to throw out the exams. Since Sotomayor’s nomination, the case has been inextricably linked to her and has been used by her critics as an example of her tendency to favor minorities in her judicial rulings. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are likely to focus on the Supreme Court’s reversal in her confirmation hearings, which begin in two weeks.

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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Firefighters in Reverse Discrimination Case

June 29, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Ricci v. DeStefano, the high-profile discrimination case involving firefighters employed by the city of New Haven, Connecticut. In a 5-4 decision, the Court reversed the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in favor of New Haven. Essentially, the Supreme Court said the city improperly threw out the results of promotional tests that officials said left too few minorities qualified.

The case has been under a microscope because the Second Circuit opinion was affirmed by Judge Sonya Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court justice nominee.

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U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Decision on Decades-Old Maternity Leave

May 19, 2009 - by: HR Hero 2 COMMENTS

In a May 18, 2009, decision, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether women who took maternity leave decades ago (before discrimination based on pregnancy became illegal) can sue to have their pregnancy leave time count toward their pensions. The Court reversed the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling and held that they cannot.

Before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was enacted, the employer in this case (AT&T) based pension calculations on a seniority system that relied on its employees’ years of service. The system subtracted any uncredited leave time from years of service and gave less retirement credit for pregnancy leave than for general medical leave. In 1978, Congress added the PDA to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit employers from treating pregnancy leave differently than other medical leave.

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U.S. Supreme Court Issues Major Decision in Title VII Retaliation Case

January 26, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled today (Jan. 26, 2009) that the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to employees who voluntarily cooperate with an employer’s internal investigations, even if the employee didn’t initiate the investigation and has filed no formal charge.

In the case, Vicky Crawford was asked to participate in an ongoing internal sexual harassment investigation. During the investigation, Crawford alleged that she herself had been sexually harassed in the workplace, and months later, she was discharged. Crawford claimed she was fired in retaliation for her statements during the investigation and filed suit against Metro Nashville Schools.

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Wal-Mart Agrees to Major Class-Action Settlement

December 30, 2008 - by: HR Hero 5 COMMENTS

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., has announced that it will pay a minimum of $352 million to settle wage and hour lawsuits across the country, possibly the largest such settlement ever. The 63 wage and hour class-action lawsuits that are being settled have been pending for several years, according to a statement from the company.

Each of the settlements is subject to approval by the trial court. The total settlement amount will depend on the amount of claims submitted by class members, according to the company statement. The total will be at least $352 million and no more than $640 million. Also, as part of the settlements, Wal-Mart has agreed to continue to use electronic systems and other measures to maintain compliance with wage and hour laws.

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U.S. Supreme Court Scrutinizes Racial Bias Ruling

March 03, 2006 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

After several years of employees being required to meet a very high standard to have their cases heard by a jury, that may be changing in the long term. The U.S. Supreme Court recently cautioned federal judges to be careful in the rules of evidence and legal standards for employment discrimination. The Court’s opinion offers employers guidance on the amount of evidence needed to prove racial bias and pretextual reasons for decisions.

The case, Ash v. Tyson Foods, Inc., involved two African-American employees passed over for promotion in favor of two Caucasian employees. Part of their proof of racial bias was evidence that the manager who made the promotion decision had referred to them as “boy.” The Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their argument, saying that use of the word “boy” by itself, with no racial adjectives modifying it, wasn’t evidence of discriminatory intent.

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