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“No, Thank You,” is Not Protected Activity

Ok, students in my employment discrimination law class, here’s a pop quiz.  “Would you like to go grab dinner with me?” said the boss to his subordinate employee.  “No, thanks,” responds the employee, “I don’t believe in mixing business with pleasure.”   A few weeks later, the employee is reassigned or terminated.  Was the employee’s rejection of […]

Employee Believed To Have Tampered With Drug Test Cannot Prove Disability Discrimination

A federal district judge in Oregon ruled that a Boeing employee who was terminated from his employment for tampering with his drug test could not advance his claims for disability discrimination and retaliation past summary judgment.  The case, Kelly v. The Boeing Company (D. Or. Aug. 15, 2019), reaffirms the general principle that an employer […]

How An Employer’s Misleading Statements Can Be Evidence of Discrimination

Two cases decided this month demonstrate how an employer’s false or inaccurate statements can bolster employees’ claims that their employer engaged in unlawful discrimination. Sykes v. Fed Ex Freight East, No. 2:17-cv-13189 (E.D. Mich. 8/3/19) In this case, a supervisor’s misrepresentation or misapplication of a workplace policy led the district court to decide that the […]

I am NOT a Racist! And You “Created” My Performance Problems!

After 26 years, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has pretty much reached the point where most cases rely on established jurisprudence.  There just is not that much new out there.   For example, if performance issues arise after an employee’s return to work they should be handled without regard to the employee’s use of […]

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Three New Opinion Letters

On August 8, 2019, the federal Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued three opinion letters which concern the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The details are as follows: FMLA2019-2-A Intermittent leave to attend Committee on Special Education (“CSE”)/Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) meetings to address the educational and special medical […]

D.C. Court of Appeals Finds That Perceived-Disability Discrimination Claim May Succeed

Anti-discrimination laws often protect both individuals with actual disabilities and those whose employer perceives (regards) as disabled.  Whether an employer perceives an employee as disabled, however, can be a complicated matter, as a case decided last week by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals illustrates.  Abdul-Azim v. Howard University Hospital, No. 17-CV-453 (D.C. Ct. […]

“Not Willful” Is Not The Same As “No Bad Faith” – A Lesson In FLSA Liquidated Damages

After a jury verdict was returned in favor of a group of Baltimore nightclub exotic dancers for their claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Maryland wage and hour law against the nightclub owner and the two nightclub entities, the presiding Magistrate Judge also awarded liquidated damages to the plaintiffs.  The club owner appealed […]

Employee’s Medical Leave Can Be An Adverse Employment Action If Caused By Discriminatory Comments

A recent case out of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois demonstrates how a supervisor’s repeated derogatory comments about an employee’s Middle Eastern background and religion that forced her to take medical leave became a triable discrimination claim.  Odisho v. U.S. Bancorp, Inc., No. 16 C 11121 (N.D. Ill. 7/24/19). Juliet […]