Management’s Negligence Not Enough for Punitive Damages

By Joseph Hunt The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed a jury award of punitive damages under Title VII because the plaintiff had not established the employer acted with malice or reckless indifference. The Court held that a plaintiff must show culpability beyond mere negligence at the management level in order to hold the […]

Personal Journal May Be Protected Activity

By Alyssa L. Levy In Fischer v. Sentry Ins. A Mutual Co., an employee kept a log of when she felt sexually harassed or discriminated against by her employer. The log went missing shortly before the company fired her. In her retaliation complaint, the employee essentially asked the Court to infer her employer was aware […]

Is “Employee” Written in the Cards?

By Alyssa Levy A federal jury will decide whether a tarot card reader who performed at the Colorado Renaissance Festival for thirty years is a Title VII employee for purposes of her retaliation claim. Plaintiff claims that she was not invited back for the 2016 season in retaliation for her complaint of sexual harassment. Plaintiff’s […]

SCOTUS Limits Common Title VII Defense

By: John Alan Doran The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a plaintiff’s failure to properly perfect an EEOC charge is a “prudential” defense to a Title VII claim, which may be waived by the employer’s failure to promptly raise the defense in litigation.  Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis (June 3, 2019).  Davis filed […]

STATE SENATE SUES EEOC?

By John Doran In a classic “man bites dog” story, the Florida Senate filed a federal lawsuit against the EEOC yesterday.  The suit seeks to kill an EEOC charge and administrative hearing alleging that a senator sexually harassed a legislative assistant.  While the actual dispute involves only a single senator, the entire Florida Senate was […]

Wholesale Harassment

By Joe Hunt A customer at a members-only wholesale club frightened an employee with his constant attention. He asked personal questions, repeatedly asked her out and offered his phone number, touched her face while he asked about darkness under her eyes, tried to hug her twice, and filmed her with his cell phone.  When she […]

#MeToo Impacts Harassment Damages/Taxes

By Mike Dubetz and Steve Miller The recently-enacted Tax Cut and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”) includes an unheralded change to the tax law that will directly affect sexual harassment settlements.  As a direct result of the recent highly-publicized cases involving sexual harassment of employees, a new provision (Section 162(q)) has been added to the […]

Update Faragher-Ellerth Policies

By Bill Wright An employer recently found itself in a Catch-22 over treatment allegedly suffered by a transgender employee.  The employee claims that she suffered harassment at the hands of her employer by being restricted in the use of restrooms, among several other claims.  As relevant here, the employer raised the Faragher-Ellerth defense that the […]

SCOTUS Dodges EEOC Fee-Shifting

By John Alan Doran This morning, the Supreme Court dodged the final resolution of an issue we have all been dying to have resolved, but threw a nice bone to employers in the process. CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC The case started when the EEOC brought a wide-ranging, scattergun lawsuit against trucking giant CRST Van […]

HR as Caesar’s Wife

By Bill Wright An employee rejects a co-worker’s proposal of a physical relationship. The co-worker gets him fired. Is the employer liable for sex discrimination? This is different from earlier cat’s paw cases because the person who caused the discharge was a co-worker, not a supervisor, but according to one court, the standard for employer […]