HDR thirdshift

Employers face greater challenge in defending discrimination lawsuits

In a case of first impression, Quigg v. Thomas County School District, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the burden-shifting framework (known as “McDonell Douglas”) established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 for cases involving mixed-motive discrimination claims. Instead, the Court adopted a less stringent standard, allowing claims to proceed where the plaintiff is able to show that (1) the defendant took an adverse employment action against the plaintiff and (2) a protected characteristic was a motivating factor for the adverse employment action.

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Court amends its decision about unpaid interns

In an earlier post, I explained about how two U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals had adopted the new primary beneficiary test to determine whether or not an intern should be paid. In that post, I suggested that two courts “leaned” in different directions on this issue, primarily because of the interns in one case were performing work that didn’t appear to be related to their education whereas the interns in the other case were performing work that appeared to be related to their education.

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Two more decisions address the issue of unpaid interns

In a previous post, I addressed the subject of unpaid interns and how two circuit courts of appeal had enunciated a new “primary beneficiary test” in addressing litigation of this issue.

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How can an employer guarantee a violation of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)?

The name—Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act—suggests something straight forward: Employers can’t order DNA tests for potential employees. And what employer in a right mind would be doing that in the first place? It’s expensive, after all.

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Pregnancy discrimination remains part of EEOC’s focus

As the summer drew to a close, the EEOC continued to aggressively pursue claims of pregnancy discrimination, filing a total of eight lawsuits involving pregnancy-related discrimination in the month of September alone. These cases range from New Mexico to Georgia and include a wide variety of employers from a commercial moving company to a temporary staffing agency to a home healthcare provider. Despite these differences, however, a common thread throughout the cases is the consistent “no tolerance” position of the EEOC related to pregnancy discrimination. This policy prohibits discrimination based on (a) current pregnancies, (b) past pregnancies, (c) potential or intended pregnancies, and (d) medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

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