Category Archives: Title VII

Are Managers that Investigate Discrimination Protected From Retaliation?

In addition to prohibiting job discrimination on the basis of  race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, Title VII contains an Opposition Clause to protect workers from retaliation for advancing claims under the statute.   Typically, the Courts have defined “opposition” broadly to include a  variety of conduct in opposition to unlawful employment practices, including both formal grievances [...]

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EEOC Conciliation Obligations to be Decided by Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in in Mach Mining v. EEOC (S.Ct. 2015).  At issue is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) obligation to resolve administrative complaints of discrimination filed under its jurisdiction, which includes civil rights statutes such as Title VII.  Historically, the EEOC has exercised agency discretion in deciding the extent [...]

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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Mixed-Motive Instruction for Title VII Retaliation Cases

Title VII of the civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary Federal statute that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of the race, religion, sex and national origin. In order to lessen and clarify a plaintiff’s burden of proof in discrimination cases, Congress amended Title VII in 1991 to provide that discrimination occurs when a [...]

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Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Supervisor Liability in Harassment Cases

Under Title VII, an employer may be liable for the workplace harassment of employees that is based on sex, race, religion or national origin.   The standard for liability often begins with the employment position of the alleged harasser.  When the harasser is a co-worker, a plaintiff must show that the company had knowledge of continuous and pervasive [...]

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Court Dismisses EEOC Suit Asserting Discriminatory Impact of Credit Checks

An Ohio U.S. District Court has dismissed the EEOC’s lawsuit against Kaplan Higher Learning Education Corp., which claimed that Kaplan’s systematic use of credit reports to screen applications for financial positions produced a discriminatory impact on minority applicants.  The decision provides some validation for a common business practice of identifying applicants whose credit background may [...]

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Supreme Court to Review Causation Standard in Retaliation Case

On January 18, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court granted cert. in the case of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar.  At issue is whether a plaintiff in a Title VII retaliation claim should be entitled to the more lenient “mixed-motive” instruction.  Circuit Courts have split on the issue, some holding that retaliation claims, [...]

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EEOC Releases Strategic Enforcement Plan

On December 18, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission formally released its new Strategic Enforcement Plan, which outlines its priorities and objectives for prospective enforcement and investigation.  The EEOC identifies its priorities as follows: Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring. The EEOC will target class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious [...]

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Supreme Court to Hear Argument on Supervisor Liability Under Title VII

Although the Supreme Court previously held under Title VII that a company can be vicariously liable for harassment by an employee’s supervisor, Circuits have split on the issue of whether a qualifying supervisor must have the authority to take formal action against the employee.  (Absent vicarious liability, an employee usually must prove that a company [...]

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Discriminatory Denial of Severance Benefit May Serve as Adverse Action Under Title VII

The Fourth Circuit holds that a female employee may pursue a claim for gender discrimination on the basis that she was offered a severance package that was less lucrative than the severance benefits offered to comparable male employees. See Gerner v. County of Chesterfield, Fourth Circuit (2012) dsgordonlaw.com  

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