News for December 4, 2017

Featured this week: In state law news:
Featured this week:

Owners' expressed concerns for high-risk pregnancy were direct evidence of bias
A pregnant nurse who was removed from the schedule after revealing her high-risk pregnancy had presented direct evidence of discrimination in the form of management's expressed concerns, immediately after learning of her pregnancy, of risks it perceived to the nurse, the unborn child, and the residents of the group home where she worked. A federal district court in Alabama found this evidence, coupled with disputed evidence about whether her removal from the schedule would be temporary, reason to deny summary judgment on her Title VII pregnancy discrimination claim. (Carter v A&E Supported Living, Inc, SDAla, November 29, 2017, Nelson, K.)

Correctional officer allegedly fired because he wasn't 'manly enough' advances sex-stereotyping claims
A male correctional officer who was fired two weeks after he completed basic training, purportedly because he left a flash drive on a work computer which contained inappropriate images of himself and/or other men, plausibly alleged Title VII and Equal Protection claims. The employee asserted that the real reason for his discharge was gender-stereotyping bias by a supervisor who had made several derogatory comments suggesting he was not "manly" enough and threatened his job security. A federal court in the District of Columbia denied in part the defendants' motion to dismiss, but tossed the employee's claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, since the conduct alleged was not sufficiently extreme and outrageous, and he failed to provide the statutorily required written notice of his claim to the mayor. (Creese v District of Columbia, DDC, November 20, 2017, Collyer, R.)

Comment about 'older nurses' and the need to make an example of employee support bias claim
A nurse fired after reviewing the records of, and providing therapy to, a baby whose mother she had treated prior to delivery, and who was told that "older nurses" have trouble understanding when the baby becomes a separate patient and that she would be made an example of, can move forward with her age bias suit based on her discharge, a federal district court in Illinois ruled. The age-related comment was "explicitly connected" to the employer's response to her actions and a reasonable jury could conclude that she was fired because of her age. The employer's motion for summary judgment was denied. (Sestak v Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, NDIll, November 28, 2017, Pallmeyer, R.)

Spouses fired after complaining of retaliation stemming from 20-year-old dispute advance suit
A husband and wife who were fired less than three months after the husband complained of retaliation, and 20 years after the husband participated as a witness in other discrimination claims against a college, can proceed with their retaliation and discrimination claims, a federal district court in Pennsylvania ruled. By alleging that the college had told the husband that he was fired in part because of a letter of complaint from his attorney, they presented direct evidence of retaliation. They also alleged sufficient indirect evidence, including the temporal proximity between the letter and termination decisions and multiple comments made by the college's administrators in the preceding months about the husband's previous protected activities. The defendant's motions to dismiss or to strike were denied. (Brugh v Mount Aloysius College, WDPa, November 21, 2017, Gibson, K.)

Experts advise on how to avoid holiday party pitfalls
The holiday season is often a time for festive parties where employers can thank employees for a job well done. However, these celebrations may carry a great deal of risk—from claims of religious discrimination and sexual harassment to drunk driving, says XpertHR.

Electronic injury and illness reporting compliance date extended to December 15
OSHA has extended the date by which employers must electronically report injury and illness data through the agency's Injury Tracking Application (ITA) to December 15, 2017. The move is designed to give affected employers more time to become familiar with the new electronic reporting system launched on August 1, 2017, according to the final rule notice published in the Federal Register November 24, 2017.

U.S. employees' financial well-being falters
The financial well-being of U.S. employees reversed direction this year following several years of steady improvement, according to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson. The biennial survey also revealed a large increase in the number of employees who say their financial woes are negatively affecting their lives and who are worried about their future financial situation.

Annual survey reveals highest rate of employers offering healthcare benefits since 2013 despite concerns about looming changes
A new survey from the national non-profit Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) shows that nearly two in three employers (66 percent) say their company is extremely/very aware of the potential changes to healthcare policy coming out of Washington D.C., and more than a quarter (26 percent) of employers report that the most common fear among their employees is losing healthcare due to a pre-existing condition.

In state law news:

16 state AGs oppose stay of injunction against Trump's third 'travel ban'
A coalition of 16 State Attorneys General have filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court to register their opposition to President Trump's third so-called "travel ban" and his administration's application for the stay of a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of that ban.

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Special Report

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights releases report calling on Congress to enact federal anti-discrimination protections for LGBT workers

On November 29, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released "Working for Inclusion: Time for Congress to Enact Federal Legislation to Address Workplace Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans." The report, based on testimony and written materials submitted to the Commission, along with extensive social science research and surveys, reflects the reality that many LGBT Americans experience prejudice and discrimination in the workplace.

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