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Posts in Title VII.
By Camille Toney on April 5, 2017 at 12:53 PM

Two arrows facing the left and one arrow facing the left.In a landmark decision released April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII protection extends to sexual orientation. The Seventh Circuit has become the first appeals court to rule in such a manner, directly contradicting the recent decisions of the Eleventh and Second Circuits.

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By Audrie Howard on March 16, 2017 at 3:15 PM

Sexual orientation discrimination representation, choosing one person out of a crowdThe 11th Circuit Court of Appeals created a likely split in federal courts of appeals this week when it upheld a district court’s dismissal of a complaint alleging harassment on the basis of sexual orientation.

The 11th Circuit’s decision in Jameka Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital rested on the ground that discrimination on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation is not prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Case No. 15-15234). The plaintiff in this case, a former hospital security guard, alleged that she was harassed because she is a lesbian and because she did not conform to gender norms. As precedent for its decision, the 11th Circuit cited to a 1979 case out of the 5th Circuit (Blum v. Gulf Oil Corp., 597 F.2d 926).

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By Lauren Harris on February 24, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Male and female bathroom sign. With a new year and a new presidential administration, the restroom access debate is a hot topic again.

On Feb. 22, 2017, the Trump administration withdrew the Obama-era directive to public schools that instructed schools to permit transgender students access to restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their expressed gender identity or risk violating Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination. The Trump administration clarified that its action in rescinding President Obama’s guidance was not an attack on the LGBTQ community, but an action taken on the premise that this is a state’s rights issue. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos explained in a statement: “We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment…This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities, and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students.”

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By Katherine Fechte on August 8, 2016 at 1:25 PM

“Married on Saturday … fired on Monday”: Seventh Circuit holds Title VII doesn’t protect against sexual orientation biasOn July 28, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in a precedential decision that existing civil rights laws do not protect against sexual orientation discrimination. Although it was a unanimous decision, the court expressed great displeasure and conflict with the “illogical” legal structure in which “a person can be married on Saturday and then fired on Monday for just that act.”

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By Molly Batsch on September 23, 2015 at 6:00 PM

In a groundbreaking ruling released recently, Unknown v. Anthony Foxx, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission confirmed that allegations of sexual orientation discrimination necessarily state a claim of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).

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By Lauren Daming on June 3, 2015 at 8:53 AM

Discrimination and LawIn a concise, seven-page decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Muslim woman, Samantha Elauf, denied employment by clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (“Abercrombie”) after wearing a headscarf to her interview. The plaintiff was denied employment because her headscarf violated Abercrombie’s “Look Policy” which described the image Abercrombie sought to project within its stores.

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By Amy Blaisdell, Lauren Daming, T. Christopher Bailey on March 26, 2015 at 10:43 AM

5388576411_700edd78b2By a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court created a potentially new standard by which employers’ accommodations given or denied to pregnant women will be judged under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”).

In Young v. UPS, the plaintiff, Peggy Young, was deemed unable to work her part-time driver position once her physician placed her on a 20-pound lifting restriction. Young was placed on an unpaid leave, and returned to work after the birth of her child; however, Young subsequently filed a lawsuit against UPS alleging the company violated the PDA in refusing to accommodate her pregnancy-related lifting restriction and not assigning her to a light duty position. 

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By Amy Blaisdell on December 31, 2014 at 1:21 PM

What is the Illinois Pregnancy Fairness Law?

Pregnancy_Posting_redoEffective January 1, 2015, the Illinois Pregnancy Fairness Law provides workplace protections to all expectant mothers, regardless of an employer’s size. The Illinois Pregnancy Fairness Law amends the Illinois Human Rights Act, adding “pregnancy” as a protected class under state law. “Pregnancy” is defined broadly to mean “pregnancy, childbirth, or other medical or common conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.” Accordingly, effective 1/1/15, the IHRA prohibits discrimination on the basis of “pregnancy” against applicants and employees and also requires employers to provide accommodations to expectant mothers to enable them to perform the job the job held or sought unless the employer can establishing that doing so would cause an undue hardship on the ordinary operation of the business. The Illinois law also prohibits retaliation against individuals who exercise their right to an accommodation under the law.

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By Marcus Wilbers on March 19, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Football Line of ScrimmageBy now, if you haven’t heard the name “Michael Sam,” you’ve probably been hiding under a rock somewhere. His name was constantly in the headlines of both sports and news media after he publicly announced he is gay. And for good reason. The former Mizzou football player and SEC Defensive Player of the Year could become the first openly gay player in the NFL. As many in the media struggled to find a new angle for the story, some questioned whether Sam’s sexual orientation would hurt his chances of being a high draft pick – or a draft pick at all. Some speculated that NFL teams may pass on Sam because of the real or perceived unrest it could create among his teammates.

Suppose Michael Sam goes undrafted – or in employment law terms – suppose NFL teams refuse to hire him because he is gay. What recourse would he have? 

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By Employment & Labor Practice Group on January 31, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Doctor with medical backgroundIn Muzaffar v. Aurora Health Care Southern Lakes, Inc., 2013 WL 6199233 (E.D. Wis. Nov. 27, 2013), the federal district court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin held that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (“EMTALA”) anti-retaliation provision applied to protect a private, non-employed physician with staff privileges at a hospital from retaliation by the hospital for reporting patient transfers that he believed violated EMTALA.

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