Application of the U.S. Civil Rights Act to Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Application of the U.S. Civil Rights Act to Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (hereafter “Title VII”) has long prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment. One question of ongoing statutory interpretation has not been definitively answered: what constitutes “sex” for the purposes of employment discrimination? Are the terms “sex” and “gender” interchangeable under the law? And does the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex extend to a prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?

Apr 27, 2017 Private Education Matters

Private Language School Settles with Department of Justice Over Exclusion of Students with ADHD and Autism

The Lexington Chinese School is located in Belmont, Massachusetts.  It is a private non-profit organization that provides Chinese language instruction and other extracurricular activities to around 400 students for three hours per week on Sundays.  The school is covered by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Apr 27, 2017 Private Education Matters

Waivers Did Not Protect School Where Issue of Gross Negligence Was Raised

Lackawanna College is a private junior college in Pennsylvania.  In the summer of 2009, two athletic trainers at the College resigned.  The College then hired Kaitlin Coyne and Alexis Bonisese and each signed an athletic trainer job description.  Coyne and Bonisese, however, were not qualified to be athletic trainers, having only recently graduated and being not certified or licensed.  Both failed the Board of Certification exam and informed their employer.  They were retitled as “first responders” but did not get new job descriptions.  A former professor of Coyne and Bonisese expressed concern that they were impermissibly providing athletic training services and the College was aware of this concern.

Apr 27, 2017 Private Education Matters

Employee Who Was Terminated After Refusing to Work with His Alleged Harasser Gets His Day in Court

Efrain Reynaga and his son worked for Roseburg Forest Products where they were the only millwrights of Mexican descent.  The lead millwright, Timothy Branaugh, allegedly harassed Reynaga with racially disparaging comments.  After Reynaga made verbal and written complaints, management initiated an investigation into Reynaga’s allegations.  Ultimately, the company adjusted Branaugh’s schedule so that he and the Reynagas would not work the same shift.

Apr 27, 2017 Private Education Matters

Pharmacy Could Fire Pharmacist Who Was Scared of Needles

Christopher Stevens worked at a Rite-Aid pharmacy in upstate New York as a pharmacist for 34 years.  He handled medications and counseled customers.  In March 2011, Stevens received an email informing him that Rite-Aid was going to start requiring all pharmacists to give immunization injections to customers.  This was a company-wide decision, and Rite-Aid revised its job description to require that pharmacists hold a valid immunization certificate and to list giving immunizations as an essential duty of the job.

Apr 27, 2017 Private Education Matters

Employer Violates Law on Credit Checks by Including Waiver in Disclosure Form

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted in 1970 in response to concerns about how corporations were using consumers’ personal information for a variety of reasons, including employment purposes, in a way that might violate privacy rights.  The Act requires a disclosure to the consumer in a document that consists “solely of the disclosure.”  Later, Congress amended the Act to state that the disclosure may be made on the same document as the consumer’s authorization to procure the credit report.  The Act includes a private right of action, with actual damages for a negligent violation and punitive damages and attorney’s fees for willful violations.

Apr 27, 2017 Private Education Matters

Ecclesiastical Abstention Doctrine Not Applicable Where Neutral Principals Can Be Used to Resolve the Issue

St. John Missionary Baptist Church is a religious corporation governed by a constitution and bylaws.  A group of members of St. John became unhappy with their Pastor, Antonio Alfred.  They requested the Board of Deacons call a vote to remove the Pastor.  The Board refused.  Pursuant to Corporations Code section 9414, the members petitioned the trial court to order a membership vote.  They also requested a referee be appointed to oversee the vote.