Iowa Employment Law Blog

Iowa Employment Law Blog

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

Category Archives: Title VII

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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

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

Don’t Forget About the Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies Defense: Eighth Circuit Holds that it Still Applies to Retaliation Claims, Overruling Precedent to the Contrary

Posted in Litigation and Trials, Title VII
Title VII requires an employee alleging unlawful discrimination or retaliation to file an administrative charge with the EEOC (or a similar a state or local agency with authority to seek relief) before bringing a suit in court.   EEOC is charged with investigating claims and pursuing conciliation between the employee and employer where appropriate. The purpose of the… 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

Similarly Situated in All Relevant Aspects

Posted in Litigation and Trials, Race Discrimination, Title VII
Very seldom is there overt evidence an employer discriminated on the basis of race, sex, disability, etc.   Most of the time plaintiff employees have to prove their claim by showing they were treated less favorably than similarly situated employees who were not in the protected class.   For example, if there is evidence the employer imposed… Continue Reading

Implicit Bias, Disparate Impact, and Class Actions: Iowa District Court Rules in Favor of the State, but Employers Should Remain Wary.

Posted in Iowa Appellate Courts, Litigation and Trials, Race Discrimination, Title VII
Earlier this week Iowa District Court Judge Robert Blink granted judgment for the State of Iowa in a high profile class action race discrimination lawsuit.   (Pippen v. State of Iowa, link here). The plaintiffs alleged that 37 departments in the State’s executive branch maintained hiring and promotion practices that had an adverse disparate impact on African… 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

Supreme Court, Executive Branch Take Opposite Approach on Religious Accomodation

Posted in Human Resources Compliance, Religion, Title VII, U.S. Supreme Court
We have written many times here about an employer’s obligation to reasonably accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs, so as not to unlawfully discriminate on the basis of their religion. Indeed, according to EEOC statistics, claims of religious discrimination by employees are increasing at a higher rate than most other forms of discrimination. Much less… 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

Supreme Court Expands (Again) the Universe of Employees Protected From Retaliation

Posted in Human Resources Compliance, Litigation and Trials, Title VII, U.S. Supreme Court
In a unanimous decision yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the universe of employees who might be protected from retaliation under Title VII and other federal employment laws. A retaliation claim is based upon an employer’s adverse action taken in response to an employee’s “protected activity”. Typically, protected activity includes things such as making a complaint… 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

Supreme Court to Hear Three Employment Cases This Term.

Posted in Litigation and Trials, Title VII, U.S. Supreme Court
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court kicked off its 2010-2011 term.   There are at least three cases this term of interest to employment lawyers. The Delaware Employment Law Blog had three excellent postings (here, here, and here) analyzing the cases in some detail. All three cases address important questions concerning the scope of an employer’s liability under… 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

Are Employee Religious Freedoms in Jeopardy?

Posted in Religion, Title VII
There is an interesting op-ed in today’s Des Moines Register concerning religious discrimination in the workplace.   The author, Lake Lambert III,  is a professor of Religion at Wartburg College in Waverly.  He contends employees are subject to religious tyranny because Title VII does not give enough protection to employees’ ability to practice their religion at work. … 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