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A recent U.S. District Court decision threatens to allow employment discrimination by certain employers.  In EEOC v. Harris, a Detroit area district court judge determined that a funeral company could fire a transgender employee based on the owners religious belief that gender transitioning was against the bible. Allowing a company to allow discrimination based on religious beliefs sets a dangerous precedent, and follows on the footsteps of the 2014 Hobby Lobby decision, which allowed companies to go against the Affordable Care Acts contraceptive mandate based on religious ideaology.

In the current case, Anthony Stevens joined a funeral company as a funeral director in 2007.  In 2013 she informed her employer that she would transition to her female identity, and begin living and working as a woman before going through gender reassingment surgery.  She was fired two weeks later.
The ACLU asserted that ruling in the funeral homes favor could potentially have staggering effects, arguing among other things  “… If religious motivation exempted businesses from anti-discrimination laws, our government would be powerless to enforce those laws.”
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A public defender has just filed a employment discrimination case alleging pregnancy discrimination.   According to reports, the woman asserted that she was passed over for two promotions because she was pregnant, and now is facing retaliation as the result of her filing a tort claim and an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint based on her employers actions.

Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against women who are pregnant.  Further, taking retaliatory actions for complaining about bias – even if the underlying conduct is not found to be discriminatory – may be illegal.

In this instance, the woman claimed she took maternity leave for two-months, when she returned she realized that her promotion went to a less qualified male colleague.  After complaining she received undue scrutiny of her work, while her male colleagues didn’t undergo the same scrutiny.  Additionally, her supervisors questioned her regarding the types of cases she wanted to take after the baby was born – a question that males with children were not asked.  Under certain circumstances, such disparate treatment may be considered sexism and gender discrimination.

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As the workforce ages, the incidence of age discrimination has been rapidly growing. The United States Census Bureau predicts that by 2022, about 35% of the U.S. labor force will be over 50. This is a 10% increase from where it was in 2002.   This comes with a price for older workers who may find themselves being squeezed out of their positions in favor of younger – and lower paid – workers.

While the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was designed to protect older workers (those over 40 years old) by prohibiting discrimination in terms of employment (whether hiring, firing or failing to promote), a series of Supreme Court rulings have made it harder to prove bias has occurred. For example, a plaintiff seeking to show discrimination has occur, must establish that age was a main factor in a decision to fire a worker, and not just a contributing factor.

Legislation has been introduced seeking to provide greater protections to older workers, called the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act – but thus far it has never reached a vote.

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According to employment news, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is conducting an investigation into Google’s employment practices. At issue, the allegation that Google discriminates in its hiring practices based on age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discriminating against people who are 40 or older in terms of employment – whether hiring, firing or failing to promote. In this instance the investigation has begun as the result of several claims have been made against the tech giant, including that Google failed to hire individuals for engineering jobs based on their age.

If you believe that you have suffered employment discrimination, it is important to speak with a private attorney who can discuss your matter and help you determine your next steps. If you would like to pursue a discrimination lawsuit, the first step is to file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will then conduct an investigation into the charges. At the close of its investigation, the EEOC will provide you with a Notice of Right to Sue. Your attorney may then file a lawsuit on your behalf in court.

Where age discrimination is alleged, issues such as hiring practices and whether a more qualified candidate was passed over for a younger candidate, or whether harassing or negative comments are directed toward older workers, are significant in showing whether discrimination occurred. For more information, or if you believe that you have been subjected to age discrimination, please contact the experienced Atlanta employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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A Georgia congressman is fighting to include the LGBTQ community as a protected category pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  A recent poll has found that roughly 75% of Americans believe that sexual orientation should be protected from discrimination.   Congressman John Lewis, a representative from Georgia’s 5th District, is a co-sponsor of the “Equality Act” that seeks to add sexual orientation and gender identify to federal law.

A representative of the Human Right Campaign – a lobbying group that supports these efforts notes, “No one should be left behind, whether you’re straight or gay.  It should be equality for all.”

Currently, Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals due to their race, gender, religion or national origin

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According to recent employment news reports, retailer Macy’s has agreed to settle employment discrimination charges in order to avoid trial. The allegations against the department store include assertions that it discriminated against non-U.S. citizens who were authorized to work. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), employers cannot demand that lawful permanent residents show their residency cards when they start working. Rather, showing a social security card or driver’s license is sufficient.

In this instance, a worker was hired by the store, but then her start date was delayed due to the human resources manager requiring that she show unexpired permanent residency documents. Pursuant to the settlement, the woman received back pay and damages. In a statement, the Justice Department noted, “All employers should take care not to impose unlawful burdens on employees because of their citizenship or immigration status.”

The federal government protects workers from discrimination due to national origin and immigration status. In addition to INA, Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees – whether in hiring, firing, or promoting, based on an individual’s race or national origin. Furthermore, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers provide the same protections to all workers (minimum wage and overtime compensation for non-exempt employees) regardless of immigration status.

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A recent employment law case argued before the United States Supreme Court has been resolved in favor of the employee. In Green v. Brennan, the Court determined that the time for filing a complaint for “constructive discharge,” (where a worker quits but does so as a result of a discriminatory atmosphere that makes it virtually impossible to continue working) starts to run at the time of the resignation. The worker then has 45 days to file a constructive discharge claim. This ruling clarifies competing rulings that have held that the time period runs from the employer’s last discriminatory action –often a much shorter time frame.

In this instance, the lawsuit was brought on behalf of a United States Postal Worker who was turned down for a promotion. He then filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging employment discrimination pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   Following his filing a claim, he received threats and harassment, ultimately leading to his resigning from the position.

The Court has determined that the time for making a claim for constructive discharge begins to run from the time he quit, rather than the last harassing/discriminatory action.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently issued guidance to employers concerning tips to avoid employment discrimination, particularly national origin discrimination. If you believe that you may be a victim of race or national origin discrimination, it’s crucial you consult with an experienced George race discrimination law firm immediately.

In the latest proposed guidance, the EEOC has made it a national strategic priority to ensure that employers do not discriminate against immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable populations. Instances of discrimination may include actions based on “perceived” national origin such as refusing to hire someone with a darker complexion because you think they may be from the Middle East, or that they may follow a particular religious belief.

An additional way employers may discriminate is by recruiting for a particular job through “word of mouth,” if the purpose of that recruiting is to keep a specific protected group from applying for a position.

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Recently, the Center for Work Life Law issued a report noting a recent uptick in employment discrimination lawsuits based on employers treating workers unfairly based on their “family responsibilities.” According to the group, more and more lawsuits have been filed by workers alleging they have been discriminated against due to care taking obligations as the result of pregnancy, motherhood, fatherhood, caring for elderly parents, or other family members who are sick, old or disabled.

Statistics show that more than 4000 discrimination lawsuits have been filed in the last few years alleging “discriminatory conduct” in violation of one of the several federal and state laws designed to protect workers from caretaker bias, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Examples of the types of bias include:

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Airbnb, the popular vacation rental site that allows people to rent out their homes, or stay in other’s homes around the world, is being sued for race discrimination. According to a recent news reports, an African American man has alleged that he was racially discriminated against when trying to book listings on the site.

Despite his complaints to the company, the company ignored the man’s allegations the complaint asserts. According to the lawsuit, the man attempted to book a listing, first as a black man, then two separate times as a white man. He was denied a space by the host when he used his real picture, but when he used fake accounts with white profile pictures, his requests to rent were accepted. He then contacted Airbnb, which failed to respond.

A spokesperson from the company noted that while it cannot comment on pending litigation, it believes “discrimination is unacceptable” and is contrary to its philosophy of bringing people together.