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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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04 Jun 2012 EEOC Finds that Transgender Workers Are Protected by Title VII

In a landmark decision, the EEOC recently found that discrimination against transgender individuals constitutes sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. The administrative decision stems from a case where Mia Macy, a transgender individual, was denied a job as a ballistics technician by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The facts are straightforward: Macy previously was a police detective in Phoenix, Arizona. In December 2010, she decided to relocate to San Francisco. During this time frame, Macy was informed that the Bureau was…

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25 May 2012 American Bar Foundation Study Measures Fairness Perceptions in Employment Discrimination Cases

By the time an employment dispute becomes a lawsuit it may be hard for the opposing parties to see a “win-win” situation ahead, judging by a recent study that the American Bar Foundation funded. Based on research that included a sample of 1,788 employment discrimination cases and 100 interviews with plaintiff/employees and defendant/employers and their counsel, employment litigation is viewed as disruptive, disappointing, and unfair to all. For employees, the process is frustrating due to unfamiliar procedural obstacles and the substantial personal and financial toll…

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24 May 2012 Illegal Immigration Status Is Not Protected By Title VII

On May 21, 2012, the Seventh Circuit issued a decision in Cortezano v. Salin Bank & Trust Co., No. 11-1631, holding that an individual’s immigration status, by itself, was insufficient to support a national origin discrimination claim under Title VII. The case involved a bank manager whose spouse had come into the United States illegally from Mexico.  The spouse used a tax identification number (which he obtained under what the court described as murky circumstances) to open joint accounts with at the bank.  After the…

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22 May 2012 Indiana Ranks 13th In EEOC Charges Received by State

For the first time ever, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released a state-by-state analysis of charges received.  The statistics cover 2009-2011 and the link can found here.  The top five states receiving the most charges were, in order, Texas (9952), Florida (8088), California (7166), Illinois (6098), and Georgia (5599). Commentators have noted these states’ large populations generally, as well as high numbers of individuals most vulnerable to discrimination, as contributing to the charge numbers.  Indiana ranked 13th in the number of charges filed…

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22 May 2012 Alabama Court Rejects Request for Sanctions Arising From “Missing” Personnel Documents That Would Not Have Altered Outcome of Case

The Northern District of Alabama recently rejected a plaintiff’s request for sanctions against her former employer, Logan’s Roadhouse, arising in relation to the contents of personnel files.  The ruling stems from a case in which a former Assistant Manager claimed the restaurant had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to promote her and then terminating her employment due to her sex or alleged past complaints of gender discrimination/harassment.  The plaintiff further alleged that she had been paid unequally due…

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22 May 2012 Entertainers, Facebook Messages and the Work-Product Doctrine?

A federal district court in New York recently ruled that Facebook messages sent by plaintiffs in anticipation of litigation were eligible for qualified protection under the “work-product” doctrine (meaning they would be shielded from disclosure). Plaintiffs were former entertainers at the Penthouse Executive Club, and brought a collective action alleging the defendants failed to pay minimum wages and overtime compensation. The messages, sent to potential class members, reflected conversations with plaintiffs’ counsel regarding litigation strategy. The communications also included responses to specific questions about the lawsuit. However, reply messages from nonparties…

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