Employment Law

Court to decide whether Title VII protects LGBT employees

Supreme Court of the United States

On October 8, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases involving whether the antidiscrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect LGBT employees. While state laws may provide localized protection, the question of whether the protection extends nationwide has been raised by two employers who have claimed they have the right under existing Federal law to discriminate based on sexual orientation and transgender status.

 
 

Legal and Legislative Update

An update on the status of Patterson v. Walgreen, New York expands statute of limitations on child sexual abuses case, ministerial exception in disability claims, and Sabbath accommodation

 
 

Supreme Court rules that Title VII EEOC filing requirements are mandatory but not jurisdictional

Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court issued a ruling on June 3, 2019, in a case (Fort Bend County v. Davis)  involving whether a court may hear a discrimination case where the plaintiff fails to raise all charges in an initial EEOC complaint.  The Court found that the Title VII's rules are procedural, not jurisdictional, and as such procedural defenses need to be raised early in a case.

 
 

Supreme Court Requests Solicitor General's Opinion on Sabbath Accommodation Case

Supreme Court Requests Solicitor General's Opinion on Sabbath Accommodation Case

The value of the Patterson case does not merely hinge on its facts, which would likely have to be developed at the trial level, but more importantly, it provides a vehicle for the Circuit courts to obtain needed guidance from the Supreme Court in order to consistently interpret Title VII religious accommodation requirements. 

 
 

Justices hint interest in revisiting Title VII religious accommodation while declining to hear football coach prayer case

Justices hint interest in revisiting Title VII religious accommodation while declining to hear football coach prayer case

It is debatable whether a claim by a public school football coach that he is compelled by religious belief to pray at the 50-yard line following each game is a good vehicle for addressing either free exercise or workplace religious accommodation. However, it does appear that the four justices who signed onto Alito's response have concerns about the chilling effect of Hardison and Smith on the ability to even raise Title VII religious accommodation and Free Exercise Clause claims. With Patterson v. Walgreen Co., the Supreme Court has the opportunity to revisit religious accommodation claims under Title VII.

 
 

9th Cir: Catholic School Teacher Fired for Requesting Time for Cancer Treatment May Pursue ADA Discrimination Claim

9th Cir: Catholic School Teacher Fired for Requesting Time for Cancer Treatment May Pursue ADA Discrimination Claim

On December 17, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the ministerial exception does not bar a teacher in a Catholic school who was fired because she needed time off work for surgery and chemotherapy from pursuing a claim under the Americans with Disability Act.

 
 

Founders' First Freedom Files "Friend of the Court" Brief Asking Court to Hear Religious Accommodation Case

Founders' First Freedom Files "Friend of the Court" Brief Asking Court to Hear Religious Accommodation Case

Walgreen v Patterson gives the Supreme Court the opportunity to promote consistency and predictability and resolve disputed interpretation between Circuits, Congress, and the EEOC in a manner that is respectful of both religious beliefs and business needs says amicus Founders' First Freedom.

 
 

Trump administration forms office to protect doctors' religious beliefs

Trump administration forms office to protect doctors' religious beliefs

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has announced the creation of a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in their Office for Civil Rights. The division aims to address concerns over sensitive subjects such as birth control, abortions, and treatment of the LGBTQ community. In addition to providing a center for complaints regarding religious discrimination, the division is pushing for the approval of a motion that seeks to protect medical personnel who refuse to perform treatments that violate their personal beliefs. The move has caused concern from human rights groups, who believe this office could be used to discriminate.

 
 

Supreme Court hears public sector union compulsory speech case

Supreme Court hears public sector union compulsory speech case

Today the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case involving whether it constitutional to require government employees who do not join their respective unions to still pay fees to the unions for the cost of negotiating and administering their employment contracts.

 
 

10th Cir. reverses summary judgment in Title VII Sabbath accommodation case

10th Cir. reverses summary judgment in Title VII Sabbath accommodation case

On January 17, 2018, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court improperly granted summary judgment against plaintiffs in a holy day observance case.