Iowa Employment Law Blog

Iowa Employment Law Blog

Alert and inform about legal issues, risks, and solutions relating to employees

Category Archives: Sex Discrimination

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Court Affirms Six-Figure Verdict to Nursing Mother Who Quit Because of Employer’s Failure to Provide Suitable Breastfeeding Accommodation

Posted in Litigation and Trials, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
Employers that accommodate employees’ temporary disabilities should consider extending the practice to nursing mothers returning to work following maternity leave.   That’s the lesson of a recent opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit  (Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 11th Cir., 9/7/2017)    In Hicks, a City police department’s insistence that… Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit the Latest to Rule Title VII Does Not Cover Discrimination Based Upon Sexual Orientation

Posted in Sex Discrimination, Title VII, U.S. Supreme Court
Whether Title VII protects employees from discrimination based upon sexual orientation is one of the most contentious employment law issues being litigated in the federal courts today.    EEOC contends Title VII covers sexual orientation, and a handful of district courts have agreed.  But, as of today, every U.S. Court of Appeal to consider the question… Continue Reading

What Does the Fox News Settlement with Gretchen Carlson Mean for Ordinary Employers?

Posted in harassment, Human Resources Compliance, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
The headline was Fox News agreed to pay $20 million to its former anchor Gretchen Carlson to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against its former CEO Roger Ailes.   This is an extraordinary settlement, and not just because of the amount.   Fox News agreed to a public settlement (usually they are confidential); publicly apologized to Ms.… Continue Reading

Iowa Employers Should Re-Examine Policies on Pregnancy Accommodation

Posted in Human Resources Compliance, Litigation and Trials, Sex Discrimination, U.S. Supreme Court
How to best accommodate pregnant employees is a frequent challenge Iowa employers face.    Pregnant employees may be entitled to protection under the laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, as well as those requiring equal treatment based upon gender and disability.  Many employers have tried to walk this fine line with policies that allow… Continue Reading

Should We Take Seriously the Claim that Pink Paint in a Locker Room Is Sex Discrimination?

Posted in Sex Discrimination, Title VII
Last week, the co-founder of a Minnesota based organization called “Gender Justice” accused the Iowa football team of “pink shaming” its opponents and engaging in what she calls “cognitive bias.”    Jill Gaulder, who also happens to be a former UI professor, claims the infamous pink visitor’s locker room at Kinnick Stadium is “sexist”, “homophobic”, and may… Continue Reading

Critics are Unfairly Attacking the Iowa Supreme Court’s Sex Discrimination Ruling in Nelson v. Knight

Posted in Iowa Appellate Courts, Litigation and Trials, Sex Discrimination
Never has a Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling in an employment dispute generated such strong reaction, not only locally, but internationally.   The case, of course, is Nelson v. Knight, the December 21, 2012 ruling involving the Fort Dodge dentist who was irresistibly attracted to one of his dental assistants. Dr. Knight’s wife, who also worked in his practice, found text messages… Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Finds that Public Employee’s Gender Discrimination Claim Not Subject to Time Limits of Title VII

Posted in Eighth Circuit, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
Crystal Henley enrolled in the Kansas City Police Academy in September 2005. By November 8, she was forced to leave and was not able to complete her training to become a police officer.   During her short time at the Academy, Henley claims she was treated more harshly than male trainees, subject to sexual harassment, and even… Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Reverses $4.5 Million Sanction Against EEOC

Posted in Litigation and Trials, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
Two years ago, Judge Linda Reade of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa made headlines when she dismissed an EEOC lawsuit on behalf of 270 current and former female long haul drivers of Cedar Rapids based CRST Van Expedited.   What was notable about the decision was not so much the dismissal itself as the… Continue Reading

Judge’s Pregnancy Discrimination Ruling Prompts Debate About Work-Life Balance

Posted in Human Resources Compliance, Litigation and Trials, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
Last week a federal judge in the Southern District of New York Judge dismissed the EEOC’s long running sex and pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against financial media company Bloomberg, LP.    EEOC claimed Bloomberg engaged in a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against pregnant women and mothers returning from maternity leave by reducing their pay, demoting them in title, removing… Continue Reading

Iowa Jury Finds for Plaintiff in Gender Sterotyping Case

Posted in Litigation and Trials, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
A jury in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa recently returned a verdict in excess of $50,000 to a female plaintiff alleging sex discrimination based upon gender stereotypes.   The plaintiff, who was a night auditor at a hotel, claimed she was terminated because she was more masculine than a typical female employee. She described herself… Continue Reading

U.S. District Court in Iowa Imposes $4.5 Million Sanction against EEOC

Posted in Litigation and Trials, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
On February 9, 2010, U.S. District Judge Linda Reade ordered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (link courtesy of Ross Runkel) to pay Cedar Rapids based CRST Van Expedited $4.5 million in attorney’s fees and costs it incurred to defend itself against a meritless sexual harassment lawsuit. The action started in 2005 when a CRST employee filed… Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Issues Significant Ruling on Sex Stereotyping and Gender Discrimination

Posted in Sex Discrimination, Title VII
On January 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a decision that is likely to expand the frontiers of sex discrimination litigation in this circuit (which covers Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota).   In Lewis v. Heartland Inns of America, a female plaintiff who had masculine characteristics… Continue Reading

Weekly Web Roundup, October 30, 2009

Posted in Disability Discrimination, FMLA, Human Resources Compliance, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
The EEOC has revised its "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law" poster.    The poster was revised to reflect new federal employment laws, including the ADA Amendments, and the Genetic Non Discrimination in Employment Act ("GINA").  Employers can either obtain a new poster, or a supplement their existing poster.   The new posting is mandatory effective November 21, 2009. … Continue Reading

How to Avoid Liability for Discrimination

Posted in Human Resources Compliance, Sex Discrimination, Title VII
A recent decision from the Eighth Circuit provides good training material about what "not to do" if you want to your company to avoid being liable for discrimination, and possibly punitive damages. The EEOC filed suit against Siouxland Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, a medical clinic in Sioux Falls South Dakota.   The complaint alleged that Siouxland terminated… Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Issues Important Ruling on Affirmative Action

Posted in Sex Discrimination, Title VII
In a ruling issued September 3, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that an employer that follows an affirmative action plan in making an employment decision can be guilty of unlawful race discrimination.    The Court’s decision in Humphries v. Pulaski County Special School District is the first in the Eighth Circuit to address the… Continue Reading

Iowa Supreme Court Issues Important Ruling on Pregnancy Discrimination

Posted in Sex Discrimination, Title VII
Last week the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling in a pregnancy discrimination case that decided three issues significant to employers and employment litigators.   The first issue in DeBoom v. Raining Rose, Inc. involved whether an employee must actually be pregnant at the time of a termination to be protected by the Iowa Civil Rights Act’s prohibition… Continue Reading

Text Harassment?

Posted in Employee Privacy, Sex Discrimination, Social Networking
 The National Law Journal reports today that text messages are becoming a growing liability concern for employers.    Offensive and inappropriate texts are increasingly being used as evidence in sexual harassment cases.  According to the article, the main culprit is male bosses sending scandalous messages to female subordinates asking them on dates or making promises in… Continue Reading

Human Resources Challeges for 2009

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Human Resources Compliance, Sex Discrimination
A recent post at Human Resources Executive Online, entitled "Warnings from the Top".  provides an excellent overview of some of the new challenges employers have been presented since the beginning of 2009.   "Like it or not" say the authors, changes are coming, and employers better be prepared. According to several attorneys the authors interviewed, some… Continue Reading

Wage Discrimination Amendments Signed Into Law

Posted in Sex Discrimination
On April 28, 2009, Governor Culver signed into law Senate File 137, entitled an Act "Providing that Wage Discrimination is an Unfair Employment Practice under the Iowa Civil Rights Act and Providing an Enhanced Remedy.”   This law (available here) amends the Iowa Civil Rights Act to expressly provide that pay differentials among employees are unlawful if… Continue Reading