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.
Donald Trump, not one to shy away from the headlines, reportedly has dismissed his defamation lawsuit against comedian Bill Mahr. Trump sued Mahr over his offer to donate $5 million to charity if Trump could prove that he was not the progeny of an orangutan. Trump, clearly irate, sued Mahr for defamation, however, the lawsuit, if only based on those comments, would be frivolous and without legal foundation because that kind of comment is not defamatory for a number of reasons.
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 ABA Journal is reporting about Virginia's discriminatory application of its FOIA laws where out of state residents are unable to use the law to obtain public records. Apparently 2 separate cases have been brought, one in which a father lived in Virginia but subsequently moved and wanted paperwork related to this divorce, child custody, and child support payments. The other is a real estate data aggregator that requested public real estate data and was denied because he was an out of state petitioner.
As the calendar year turned, many new local, state, and federal laws came into effect. One of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which is also called "Obamacare", has raised the hackles of a pair of privately held corporations. These corporations are religiously objecting to complying with PPACA's birth control access requirements, because as we know, corporations are people except for the purposes of carpooling, but they must have religious beliefs, right? As it turns out, (surprise!) not many courts are buying the argument that closely held private corporations have religious beliefs. Clearly these Court have not run into the cultish Apple devotees.
Weak jokes aside, Hobby Lobby's attempt to escape the regulatory clutches of PPACA is a novel attempt at imputing further First Amendment rights on corporations. It is a bold strike at enlarging recent caselaw and enhancing their position as a corporation.
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.).
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.
Two Chicago police officers who arrested a man filling up his tires at a gas station air pump were found liable for violating that man's civil rights by wrongfully arresting him. The facts speak for themselves, but it must be noted that the Chicago Tribune observes that the City's Corporate Counsel failed to settle this case despite some very unsettling facts, including the fact the Chicago police officers changed their story regarding the Plaintiff and they both failed to appear at the aggravated battery hearing for the Plaintiff.
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.
Rishi Nair owns Nair Law LLC and practices as Of Counsel at Keener and Associates, P.C.