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.
Eminent domain is one of the harshest tools government can assert to curtail property rights. Zoning regulates how a property owner may use their property, but eminent domain goes to their right to own the property itself. Traditionally victorious, the government occasionally is overzealous in its application of the doctrine against property owners. Recently, the Chicago Tribune wrote about a victory for property owners against a forfeiture action brought by the US government. The case involves a family owned motel in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.
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.
After refusing to consider settlement in the case against an off-duty Chicago Police Officer who loudly used his office when threatening and eventually savagely beating Karolina Obrycka, a female bartender, the City is now willing to pay damages in exchange for limiting some very damaging precedent against the City, especially regarding tortious acts committed by its police officers.
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 US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a 7th Circuit Appellate ruling that the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute violates the First Amendment where it prevents citizens from audio recording police officers when they make otherwise non-confidential or priviledged statements. As the Chicago Tribune reports, The Seventh Circuit reversed the trial court's holding that prevents the ACLU from amending its complaint as well as directing the trial court to enter a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the Eavesdropping Statute.
Blessed with qualified immunity and tort immunity generally, the City and its employees often hide behind either a blue wall of silence, like the Chicago Police has thrown up regarding the off-duty cop body slamming a female bartender, but also the City's Corporation counsel as is the case where the Chicago Police arrested a mentally ill California woman in Midway Airport and detained and released her into a south side neighborhood where she was eventually raped and fell off a building, ending up horribly injured. The CPD failed to adhere to department protocol related to the treatment of mentally suspect offenders and ignored clear evidence and fellow colleague appraisals regarding the mental health of the plaintiff.
The Seventh Circuit, on September 7, overturned a Northern District of IL decision awarding summary judgment to United Airlines over their policy of placing disabled employees in vacant positions only when a more qualified candidate was not available.
In EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., 11-cv-1774, the EEOC alleged, and the Seventh Circuit agreed, that United Airlines violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to immediately assign disabled employees who required reasonable accommodations to vacant positions as long as they are qualified for those positions and that placing the employees in such positions did not present an undue hardship to the employer.
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.