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April 2012 Archives

Deputy police commissioner accused of sexual harassment

A deputy police commissioner in Philadelphia has been accused of sexual harassment, retaliation, and stalking a fellow officer. The conduct allegedly began in 2008 and has not been formally addressed by the police department despite repeated complaints.

EEOC extends sex discrimination protection to transgender people

In a progressive and groundbreaking ruling, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has extended the right to sue for sex discrimination to transgendered individuals. The ruling follows logically from the protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination.

Pennsylvania man sues construction company for harassment

Anti-discrimination laws are designed to protect certain groups that are susceptible to harassment or discrimination from experiencing that type of prejudice in the workplace. In Pennsylvania and nationwide, employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of religion, which also extends to making sure other employees don't discriminate against their coworkers.

'The Bachelor' accused of racial bias in casting

The popular television shows 'The Bachelor' and companion show 'The Bachelorette' is being sued for racial discrimination. The lawsuit is set to be filed in federal court this week and is seeking class action status "on behalf of all persons of color who have applied for the role of the bachelor or bachelorette but been denied the equal opportunity for selection on the basis of race."

Religion, sexual orientation at issue in Library of Congress case

A former employee of the Library of Congress has filed compliant with the library's Equal Opportunity Complaints Office, alleging that he was harassed and fired after his supervisor discovered he is gay. The case is being pursued on the grounds that the harassment was religiously motivated. The man says that his supervisor confronted him several days prior to an annual review, saying that he would not succeed because being gay is against God's law.

Whistleblower fired for exposing misuse of grant funds

A Pittsburg nonprofit organization is facing heavy criticism this week, after a former employee filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. The employee had been the leader of the development team at the organization. She accuses the organization of misusing restricted grant funds and for firing her when she complained about the misconduct. Firing an employee for exposing unlawful activity is a violation of both state and federal employment law. In fact, there are laws in place to specifically protect whistleblowers from retaliation, because the government believes there is value in encouraging employees to expose wrongdoing.

Pregnancy discrimination case brought against Catholic school

Earlier this year the Supreme Court affirmed that religious organizations are not bound by the Americans with Disabilities Act in the hiring, treatment, and firing of anyone in a ministerial role. Many in the employment law world saw that case as giving broad discretion to churches and other religious organizations about how they treat their employees and the organization's lawful ability to discriminate.

Orange shirt-wearing workers allegedly fired for protesting new policies

Former employees of a large law firm in Florida say that they were fired for wearing orange shirts to work one day. Some of the 14 terminated employees say that they were protesting working conditions, and one told reporters that she was wearing orange because it's her favorite color. Several have been re-hired after apparently telling managers that they were wearing the color by coincidence and did not have a problem with working conditions.

Employees not afraid to expose bias despite tough job market

A recent analysis of lawsuit filings and Equal Opportunity Employment Commission complaints has revealed that bias and discrimination cases have increased during the recession. Between 2007 and 2011, complaints of discrimination increased by about 17,000. There were also about 10,000 more retaliation complaints.