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Posts in Discrimination.
By Katherine Fechte on July 27, 2018 at 12:10 PM

Businessman holding a baby. In an age when companies are more progressive than ever and employers are focused on keeping employees happy and healthy, employee benefits such as vacation days and paid leave are on the rise. Bloomberg reports that more than one in three U.S. employers now offers paid maternity leave beyond the amount required by law, up from one in six earlier this decade. Similarly, benefits such as paternity leave for new fathers and parental leave for new adoptive parents and same-sex couples have become more common.

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By Audrie Howard on July 2, 2018 at 3:50 PM

International world flags shown on badgesIn recent years, “English-only” workplace policies have garnered increased scrutiny under employment discrimination laws on the state and national levels. Employers with these policies need to take note of recent updates to state statutes and regulations governing the lawfulness of “English-only” workplace policies and the overall broadening scope of other bases for discrimination claims.

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By Lauren Harris, T. Christopher Bailey on June 7, 2018 at 2:50 PM

Person decorating a white wedding cakeOn June 4, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 584 U.S. ___ (2018), which examined whether a Colorado bakery violated that state’s Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to bake a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage ceremony. While a 7-2 majority of the court sided with the bakery, the much-anticipated decision left more questions unanswered than answered. The decision and concurring and dissenting opinions can be read here.

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By Jill Luft on April 3, 2018 at 2:50 PM

Stethoscope on top of a BibleThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this year announced that it would create a new division within the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to enforce certain federal laws to protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience of workers in health and human services. This new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division will provide an avenue for HHS to more aggressively enforce laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.

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By Lauren Daming on September 7, 2017 at 11:34 AM

White turnaround arrow on a brick wall, showing a reversal in a decision.Over the summer, the Missouri legislature took action to invalidate or cut back two ordinances passed by the city of St. Louis, causing the city’s minimum wage to revert to the statewide minimum of $7.70 per hour and making it unlawful for cities to adopt laws that would interfere with the free-speech rights of any “alternative to abortion agency” (e.g., a pregnancy resource center) or employees with objections to abortion.

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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 Lauren Daming on February 21, 2017 at 1:25 PM

Image of St. Louis, Missouri City HallA St. Louis city ordinance took effect Feb. 13 protecting employees against discrimination on the basis of their “reproductive health decisions.” Ordinance 70459 prohibits employers from taking any adverse employment action — such as termination or demotion — against an employee due to the employee’s decision to use drugs, devices or medical services related to reproductive health that the employer does not agree with, including contraceptives, fertility treatments or abortion.

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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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