Category Archives: Discrimination

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Reversal of Jury Verdict in Religious Discrimination Lawsuit – Divine Intervention or Judicial Mistake?

A nursing home activities aide who was fired for refusing to pray the Rosary with a resident failed to prove job bias because she didn’t present sufficient evidence that her employer, Woodland Village Nursing Center Inc., knew before it decided to discharge her that plaintiff’s refusal to pray the rosary was based on her religious beliefs … Continue Reading

Making a Federal Case out of Recording Conversations Involving Employment Discrimination

Here is something you don’t see happen everyday – an instance of “butt dialing” becoming a federal case. Specifically, an inadvertently dialed cell phone call purportedly involving discussions about unlawful employment discrimination resulted in a federal lawsuit for intentionally intercepting private conversations in violation of Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Street Act … Continue Reading

When Does an Employer Have Notice of an Employee’s Need for Religious Accommodation?

As an employment law nerd, I often get giddy when there is a meaty employment law issue being addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court (hopefully Justice Ginsburg took it easy on the sauce prior to oral arguments). But today I’m especially giddy because the Supremes are hearing arguments in the case captioned EEOC v. Abercrombie & … Continue Reading

Of Ducks and Men – Duck Dynasty and the Misunderstanding of Religious Discrimination and First Amendment Rights in the Workplace

A&E recently suspended Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson “indefinitely” for comments he made in a GQ interview regarding his views on homosexuality and race relations.  This suspension and those comments have erupted into a cultural firestorm. The bulk of that discussion, however, is based on incorrect assumptions that have began to masquerade as legitimate claims about … Continue Reading

The Cost of Workplace Bullying: Legal Risks and Workplace Disruption

Workplace bullying was front and center this week as the Miami Dolphins organization scrambled to address reports that its starting offensive tackle Jonathan Martin left the team indefinitely because of bullying from teammates. ESPN reported that this bullying included Mr. Martin’s teammate, Richie Incognito, leaving Martin the following (disturbing) voicemail after Mr. Martin was drafted … Continue Reading

EEOC Smacked Down in Rare Employer Win in Defending Claim of Unlawful Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was recently smacked down by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in EEOC v Peoplemark, Inc. In that appeal, the Court agreed with a decision from the federal district court out of Western Michigan that awarded an employer its attorney’s fees and expert fees in defending against a discrimination claim brought … Continue Reading

Sexual Orientation Discrimination and Michigan Law – Is it a Time for a Change?

Sexual orientation discrimination can be described as being treated differently or harassed because of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, which includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual orientation. Unlike federal laws that protect people from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, age, and disability, there is no federal law that … Continue Reading

Proposed Michigan Bill to Prohibit Pay Discrimination – A Problem that Continues

A proposed amendment to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was introduced this week. The primary sponsor for this bill is State Representative Gretchen Driskell. This amendment is part of a package of bills intended to promote pay equity in Michigan. For more information about the other bills in this package follow this link. As to the motivation … Continue Reading

Customers May be able to Discriminate, But that Doesn’t Mean Your Business Can and Other Misconceptions

Last week this blog reported about a recent lawsuit filed by an African-American nurse against her employer, Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan. The lawsuit claimed the defendant hospital agreed to a man’s request that no African-Americans care for his newborn baby and went so fare as to even post a sign to this effect. … Continue Reading

Beginning a Racist Request with “please” does not make it any less Racist or Discriminatory Even if Asked for the Benefit of an Employer’s Customer

Is An Employer Liable for Harassment by non-employees? This question was inspired by a recent discrimination lawsuit (PDF) filed by a Michigan nurse against her employer, Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan. The lawsuit claims the employer agreed to a man’s request that no African-Americans care for his newborn baby. While most parents of newborns would be more … Continue Reading

Marissa Mayer’s Pregnancy: An Interesting Window into Women, Pregnancy, and the Workplace

Marissa Mayer was recently named the new CEO of Yahoo. She is a former vice-president of Google who has amassed plenty of professional accolades and otherwise seems to be really smart (I love this interview she gave to Fast Co., especially point No. 7).  But I found it more interesting that news outlets mostly bypassed leading with her … Continue Reading

Changing Gears in Reverse Discrimination Claims: Differences under Michigan and Federal Law

A Flint jury recently awarded $535,000 to a white former employee wrongfully fired after making a racial comment. This verdict also highlights important differences when it comes to reverse discrimination claims under Michigan and federal law. For background, Mr. Craig Hecht, a former charter school teacher, was fired from Linden Charter for undisputedly telling another employee that “white … Continue Reading
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