Thursday, March 31, 2016

Roberts v. City of Chicago: Discrimination Based on the Consequences of a Disability

The Seventh Circuit's decision in Roberts v. City of Chicago, No. 15-1963 (Mar. 31, 2016), provides an interesting analysis of causation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Roberts, the appeals court affirmed the dismissal of ADA claims brought by two African American men who alleged that they were not hired for firefighter positions because of their disabilities. In the court's view, the plaintiffs did not allege that they were not hired "because of their disabilities, but rather due to the extensive medical requests that were a consequence of their disabilities."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Transgender Locker Room Access: Or When a Woman with a Penis Goes Around Naked in a Women's Locker Room

In the wake of the recent controversy regarding transgender restroom access, I was reminded of an encounter that a female colleague told me about a number of years ago involving an incident in a women's locker room.  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Third-Party Standing: When Eric Is Aggrieved by Retaliation Against Miriam

In this post, I discuss the Supreme Court's decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless, L.P., 562 U.S. 170 (2011), and the concept of "third-party standing." "Standing" refers to the right to bring a lawsuit. Third-party standing involves circumstances in which the person bringing suit alleges that he or she was harmed as the result of unlawful discrimination against another person.

Friday, March 18, 2016

"Contributing Factor" and the Missouri Human Rights Act

A plaintiff alleging discrimination based on sex or another protected characteristic can prevail under the Missouri Human Rights Act by establishing that the characteristic was a "contributing factor" in the defendant's adverse employment decision. This is a lower threshold, at least theoretically, than the "motivating factor" standard under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Student "Harassed" for Being a Vegetarian (Revised)

As a vegetarian myself, I found this Volokh Conspiracy post really interesting. It's about a sixth-grader who, as determined by a school board, "harassed" a classmate for being a vegetarian, such as telling him that "vegetarians are idiots" and that "he should eat meat because he'd be smarter and have bigger brains."  

Significantly, the policy at issue covers conduct based on any "distinguishing characteristic" and therefore is broader than the federal EEO laws.

This blog reflects the views solely of its author. It is not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice on how to analyze any particular set of facts.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sexual Orientation Discrimination as Unlawful Sex Stereotyping: Too Far or Not Far Enough?

In Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Inc., No. 15-3440 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 9, 2016), Judge Katherine Polk Failla tackles the divisive issue of whether discrimination based on sexual orientation constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In this post, I try to fit the sexual orientation issue into the broader context of sex discrimination analysis under Title VII. In so doing, I raise the question of whether the analysis of sexual orientation claims is symptomatic of a more general tendency to interpret Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination more narrowly than prohibitions against discrimination based on other characteristics, such as race.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lockhart v. United States: Title VII and the Battle of the Statutory Canons

Although not an EEO case, the recent Supreme Court decision in Lockhart v. United States, 14-8358 (U.S. Mar. 1, 2016), focuses on general principles of statutory interpretation and therefore may be of interest to readers of this blog. Touted as "the battle of the statutory canons," the case pitted the "rule of the last antecedent" in one corner against the "series-qualifier principle" in the opposite corner.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

EEOC v. Abercrombie: Discrimination Based on Misperception

In this second post on the Supreme Court's decision in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2028 (2015), I wanted to briefly discuss the issue of whether discrimination based on the employer's perception of an employee's protected status is unlawful, even if the employer's perception is mistaken.

EEOC v. Abercrombie: Intentional Discrimination and Customer Preference

In this post, I discuss the Supreme Court's decision in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2028 (2015), focusing on lessons it may provide for assessing discriminatory intent under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A separate post looks briefly at possible implications for claims based on the mistaken perception of an individual's protected status.