Connecticut Employment Law Blog Insight on Labor & Employment Developments for Connecticut Businesses

Tag Archives: title vii

Not Every Action By Employers Can Be the Basis of a Lawsuit

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

My colleague, Jarad Lucan, returns today with a primer on what it takes to establish a “prima facie” case of discrimination — the bare minimum to get the case to be considered by a court.  Today, we focus on the third element — the “adverse employment action”. What is that, you ask? Read on. If… Continue Reading

No Ifs, Ands, or Buts: “But For” Standard Requires New Trial, Court Rules

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

It’s always a little tricky to determine exactly how lower courts will apply a rule of law that develops from a U.S. Supreme Court. Take the case of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, decided in June, which held that a “but for” standard (i.e., that an employer would not have taken an adverse employment… Continue Reading

The Beginning of the End for Wage & Hour Class Actions Through Arbitration Agreements? Second Circuit Sets Stage

Posted in Class Actions, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Suppose you have your employees’ sign agreements to arbitrate all of  their employment disputes.  (I’ve talked about arbitration agreements in many posts before.) Can you have an arbitration agreement that says that an employee is precluded from bringing a Title VII (race or gender discrimination) class action claim in Court? Employees have argued that because most arbitration agreements… Continue Reading

Can Being Called “Too Flamboyant” Be Basis for State Gender Discrimination Claim?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Let’s play the “law school hypothetical” game for a minute.  (I know, not as exciting as a cat being chosen in Monopoly, but bear with me.) You hear the following allegations: An gay, male employee starts works as a teacher in an “New Beginnings Alternative” program at a public school. During his employment, he is subject to derogatory statements by… Continue Reading

Gender Inequality Claims Make Headlines in Case and in New Study

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Legislative Developments, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Wage & Hour

Over the last week, two unrelated stories caught my eye.  For employers, they are a reminder that claims of pay inequality based on gender are still something to be concerned about.  The first story is that Governor Malloy announced plans for a new study to examine “factors that contribute to the gender wage gap in Connecticut’s workforce.” … Continue Reading

Taxes are Inevitable … Even on Judgments For Front and Back Pay in Discrimination Cases

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Everyone knows that taxes are inevitable.  Except perhaps one employee who won his Title VII case but complained that the employer shouldn’t have made withholdings for taxes when it paid out the judgment.  The Second Circuit, in a decision released right before the Labor Day weekend, said the employer did the right thing. You can read the case, Noel… Continue Reading

Shelton Challenges CHRO’s Award of Emotional Distress Damages and Attorneys Fees

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Highlight, Litigation

Over the years, I’ve openly questioned whether the CHRO has been improperly awarding emotional distress damages and attorneys fees in employment discrimination claims.   Indeed, back in February 2009, I noted “Nearly 15 years ago, the Connecticut Supreme Court came out with a pair of decisions that seemed to put to rest the question of whether the CHRO… Continue Reading

Using Criminal Background Checks in the Hiring Process; Handle With Care

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations

The Office of Legislative Research, whom I’ve praised in several posts before (here and here), recently issued a report on the consequences of a felony conviction on employment.  Overall, it does a good job summarizing the issues when it comes to state employment. But later on in the publication it states the following when discussing… Continue Reading

EEOC Releases Important Guidance on Use of Criminal and Arrest Records By Employers

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

The EEOC yesterday released important new guidance for employers on the use of arrest and conviction records by employers under Title VII.  You can read the guidance here as well as a short question-and-answer document too.  For employers in Connecticut, this new guidance only adds to the state-specific rules we have here in state and should… Continue Reading

BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court Supports Fairly Broad “Ministerial Exception” to Anti-Discrimination Laws

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Featured, Highlight, Litigation

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today gave some teeth to the “ministerial exception” that, in essence, precludes some employees of religious institutions from suing them under federal discrimination laws. I’ve discussed the exception in various posts over the years here and here.  Its been supported in the Second Circuit and by the… Continue Reading

Court: Department of Corrections’ Physical Fitness Test Discriminates Against Women

Posted in Class Actions, Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

Last week, a federal district court in Connecticut held that the Department of Corrections violated federal law in instituting a discriminatory physical fitness test that created a disparate impact on women.  It also found that the test was not job-related or necessary.   In doing so, the court granted summary judgment to the employee and… Continue Reading

A Witness To Civil Rights History; A Reflection on Our Employment Laws

Posted in Laws and Regulations

Over the last few days, I’ve had the great fortune of attending the American Bar Association’s Midyear Meeting, where I serve as a delegate from Connecticut in the House of Delegates — the organization’s main policy-making branch.    (You can see all my tweets from the meeting at twitter.com/danielschwartz).  Earlier this morning, Representative John Lewis… Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Discrimination Claim On Grounds that Employer Has Less Than 15 Employees

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment

Lost sometimes amid all the aspects of discrimination cases are the technical requirements that still must be shown in order for a discrimination claim to proceed. For example, Title VII applies only to employers with 15 or more employees each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks (But note that there may… Continue Reading

Disparate Impact Claims May Have Extended Statute of Limitations Calculations, Rules U.S. Supreme Court

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

Back in February, I noted that not all U.S. Supreme Court cases are created equal and warned employers not to get too excited about a case that was then being argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court — Lewis v. City of Chicago. Yesterday, the Court released its unanimous decision (download here) in that… Continue Reading

Second Circuit: No Individual Liability Under ADA Retaliation Provisions

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

It has long been the rule in the Second Circuit, that individual supervisors do not have liability under Title VII claims, based on the case of Tomka v. Seiler Corp.  But can supervisors be sued individually under the ADA for retaliation? The Second Circuit last week held that individual supervisors may not be held liable under the… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Title VII Test Case; Will It Be Significant For Employers Or Just Academics?

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

There is a common misconception about the U.S. Supreme Court that all cases that it rules on are created equal.   They’re not. Some take on more significance than others. Case in point: Lewis v. City of Chicago, which was argued yesterday (transcript available here).  I’ve previously discussed the case in an earlier post.  The… Continue Reading

House Passes COBRA Subsidy Extension and..What’s This? Restrictions on Arbitration Clauses??

Posted in Legislative Developments

UPDATED The health care bill debate seems all consuming. At least in terms of press coverage. But yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a defense spending bill (H.R. 3326) that, according to the DC Employment Law Update:  "prevents most defense contractors and subcontractors from forcing their employees or independent contractors to sign, as a condition of… Continue Reading

District Court Enters Judgment Against New Haven; Orders 14 Firefighters to be Promoted

Posted in Litigation

It was never really a question of if, but when. And yesterday, the United States District Court in Connecticut made final what had long been anticipated in the Ricci v. DeStefano case — the promotions of various firefighters to the positions of Lieutenant and Captain.  You can download the order here. In doing so, the… Continue Reading

Ricci Redux: Black Firefighter Files Suit Against New Haven Alleging Race Discrimination

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

Well, that didn’t take too long. Just a few months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano, a black firefighter filed suit yesterday in U.S. District Court alleging that he was unfairly denied promotion to the position of lieutenant because of the city’s scoring of a 2003 promotional exam.  You can download… Continue Reading

The Curious Case of Caster Semenya – What Would an Employer Do?

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations

At the recent World Track & Field Championships, a fascinating understory developed about the gender of a runner from South Africa, Caster Semenya.  She recently shattered world records and, in doing so, raised suspicions that something else was going on to explain the record runs. With illegal drugs ruled out, officials are investigating whether she… Continue Reading

Five Things Employers Can Learn from the Ricci v. DeStefano Case

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

Although I tipped my hand yesterday through some posts (here and here) and an interview with the Connecticut Law Tribune, here are some takeaways for employers from the Ricci v. DeStefano case. The Decision Applies to Private Employers.   Before Ricci was decided, the case could’ve gone two ways — it could have been based on… Continue Reading

Ricci v. DeStefano – The Best of Today’s Coverage of the Supreme Court Decision

Posted in Litigation

For a case out of little Connecticut, the Ricci v. DeStefano case today sure has drawn big interest. Seems like everyone has an opinion on the matter. There are plenty of wrapups of the case out today. Many of them are, predictably, saying much of the same thing: Interesting case; probably applies to private employers;… Continue Reading

What Employers Need to Know About Ricci v. DeStefano – A Free Webinar

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

A further read-through of the Ricci v. DeStefano case today has reinforced my view that there are going to be some real lessons learned for employers out of this case.  The case had the potential of being a very narrow decision which would have minimized the impact to employers. However, because the court addresses head-on… Continue Reading

BREAKING: Ricci v. DeStefano – Supreme Court Reverses Second Circuit And Finds New Haven Violated Title VII in 5-4 Decision

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Litigation

In closing out its 2008-09 term today  the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4, along ideological lines that the city of New Haven violated Title VII in refusing to promote a group of white firefighters and refusing to apply the results of a test that it claimed would have had a disparate impact on minorities. The… Continue Reading