The EEOC, on behalf of two Muslim truckers, sued a Morton, IL based trucking company for failure to accommodate the trucker's religious rights when they demanded that their employees convey alcohol. This simple, straight-forward religious accommodation lawsuit belies the often confused regulatory approach to employment discrimination when it comes to religious accommodation and the magic term "reasonable" in terms of the accommodations that employers and employees can expect for their personal religious beliefs.
The EEOC, despite major budget cuts and a stated goal of suing on behalf of classes or employers engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination, decided to sue on behalf of a woman fired after only 2 days on the job allegedly because she had a prosthetic leg.
The EEOC is the federal administrative agency that authorizes individuals to sue for employment discrimination matters including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. § 621-629), and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.).
As the LA Times reports, the United States Supreme Court is set to weigh in on who qualifies as a supervisor for the purposes of Title VII discrimination litigation.
Respondeat superior, or vicarious liability that employers face for their employee's torts, has always been limited to acts committed in the scope of employment in furtherance of the employer's purpose. Here, the Supreme Court and Title VII limit the application respondeat superior to form liability for the company to supervisors. Who qualifies as a supervisor has generally been those that can hire, fire or punish. In addition, some courts have found that those that control the day to day activities are considered supervisors. Generally those supervisors are mid-level or bottom-level managers who lack the power to hire employees.
As the LA Times article notes, the Justices were very skeptical of both expanding respondeat superior to a "day to day" supervisor and the facts of the Vance harassment claim. It is, based on the oral arguments, not looking favorable for he Court enlarging who can victimize an employee and who is responsible for that harm.
TMZ, courtesy of CNN, reports that a former Price is Right model has been awarded an $8.4M verdict for gender discrimination at her workplace. The award includes over $700,000 in compensatory damages and $7.7M in punitive damages. The model alleged in a 2010 complaint that the producers of the show
The ACLU confirmed its latest victory in Illinois when Judge Hyman approved its settlement agreement with the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding the Department's prior policy of mandating gender reassignment surgery before it would consider reissuing changed birth certificates reflecting the applicant's new gender.
Employment litigation can often enter the news when it involves salacious or outrageous details, but newsworthy or not, not every employment dispute can be resolved through litigation. Retaliatory discharge (or demotion) claims can often be messy, but employers are not allowed under Federal and Illinois law to retaliate against employees for protected conduct. Employers can insulate themselves from liability by developing procedures and documentation. We can discuss with any size company measures that protect everyone from potential harm.
The anti-retaliation provision of Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") prohibits an employer from "discriminat[ing] against any of his employees . . . because he has made a charge" under Title VII. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a). Title VII allows "a person claiming to be aggrieved" to file a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the "EEOC") alleging that the employer committed an unlawful employment practice, and, if the EEOC declines to sue the employer, the statute permits a civil lawsuit to "be brought . . . by the person claiming to be aggrieved . . . by the alleged unlawful employment practice." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 (b), (f)(1).
Rishi Nair owns Nair Law LLC and practices as Of Counsel at Keener and Associates, P.C.