Category Archives: Title VII

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Trick or Treat? Employee Claims Discrimination After Attending Office Halloween Party

Before you send out that next office-wide invite to a “holiday” party, think twice. Carmelite Lofton has sued her employer, BSN Sports, LLC—a Texas uniform and equipment retailer—when things turned sour after she was forced to attend an office Halloween party. Lofton—an African American and a Christian, says the party was contrary to her religious … Continue Reading

Sessions Changes DOJ Course on Title VII Enforcement for Transgender Issues

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to all U.S. Attorneys revising how the Department of Justice will address gender identity claims under Title VII. In 2014, the Obama Administration DOJ stated that gender identity discrimination, including that against transgender individuals, was illegal under Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination. AG Sessions’ memo reversed that practice, … Continue Reading

Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation is Sex Discrimination Under Title VII: Seventh Circuit Takes Clear Stand

On Tuesday, the Seventh Circuit jumped into the Title VII sexual orientation discussion with both feet. In Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, a full-court reversed an earlier three judge panel decision, finding that discrimination based solely upon the employee’s sexual orientation is sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. As the opinion recognizes, this finding … Continue Reading

You Don’t Look Like You Are From Around Here: EEOC Guidance on National Origin Discrimination

If you weren’t sure what it meant to discriminate against someone because of their national origin, the EEOC wants to help. The newly revised Section 13 of the EEOC Field Manual provides guidance on how the EEOC defines national origin (which is more than just what nation in which you originated) and gives examples of … Continue Reading

Power of the Subpoena: Will Nominee Gorsuch Limit Scope of EEOC Reach?

Just how broad is the EEOC’s subpoena power and are we likely to get some guidance soon? We’ve said before that the McLane v. EEOC case (which is about the EEOC’s subpoena power and is currently before the Supreme Court) is uncertain given President Trump’s election. Since then, we have had two developments: first, President … Continue Reading

Hug It Out at Work? Maybe Not in the Ninth Circuit

When does workplace hugging go too far? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently weighed in with an opinion. Victoria Zetwick, a county correctional officer, based her Title VII hostile work environment suit almost entirely upon her supervisor’s practice of hugging her and the rest of the female staff. Just How Much Hugging? By her count, … Continue Reading

Repercussions of Retaliation: EEOC Revises its Guidance on Retaliation

For the first time in 18 years, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued revised guidance (the Guidance) regarding retaliation. The Guidance, which broadens and clarifies the definition of protected applicant/employee activities, became effective August 29, 2016. There have been seven U.S. Supreme Court decisions addressing retaliation since the EEOC’s last update in … Continue Reading

Check Your Neutral Policies: The EEOC Joins the ACLU’s Challenge to Dignity Health’s Exclusion of All Care Related to Sex Transitions as Sex Discrimination

The ACLU filed a complaint against Dignity Health, claiming that the total exclusion of care related to “sex transformation surgery” in Dignity’s employee health insurance plan is unlawful sex discrimination. Now the EEOC wants a piece of the action and is seeking permission to file an amicus brief urging the California federal court not to … Continue Reading

Know Where to Go When You Gotta Go: OSHA Releases “Best Practices” on Restroom Access for Transgender Workers

Earlier this month, OSHA published a Guide to assist employers who may have questions about providing bathroom access to transgender employees. The brief Guide notes that studies show there are an estimated 700,000 adults in the U.S. who consider themselves to be transgendered. OSHA states that restricting those employees to use restrooms who are not … Continue Reading
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