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Last Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court (scroll down for decision) explored the interaction between the laws prohibiting employment discrimination (here, the ADA), on the one hand, and the First Amendment’s command that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, on the other. The Supreme Court Recognizes…

Read More Supreme Court Recognizes “Ministerial Exception” to Anti-Discrimination Laws
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In Hazen v. Hill Betts & Nash, 2012 WL 19388 (Jan. 5, 2012), the Appellate Division (First Dept.) applied the principle “that the New York State Human Rights Law does not immunize disabled employees from discipline or discharge for incidents of misconduct in the workplace”. Attorney Hazen charged hotel rooms, limousines, alcohol, adult movies and…

Read More Bipolar lawyer’s “disability” does not excuse misconduct
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In Cerciello v. Admiral Ins. Brokerage Corp., plaintiff alleged sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation.  Defendants filed two counterclaims, respectively seeking (1) sanctions for frivolous litigation conduct and (2) “recovery of wages paid to the plaintiff during her last year of employment on the ground … that the plaintiff failed to perform the tasks…

Read More Court Denies Employer Recovery of Wages Earned by Alleged Disloyal Employee
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In my plaintiff-centric practice, my opening move – or rather, in keeping with the “litigation is war” analogy, “shot across the bow” – is, more often than not, a demand letter. At worst, such a letter will be ignored by one’s adversary; at best, it may lead to a lucrative settlement before litigation expenses kick…

Read More Demand Letter Accusing Hewlett Packard CEO Mark Hurd of Sexual Harassment
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In Wong v. Mangone, the Second Circuit recently affirmed a jury verdict in a case brought by Aaron Wong against James Mangone and upheld awards of $200,000 in damages and more than $167,000 in attorneys’ fees.  Wong (who is black) alleged that Mangone (who is white) assaulted him while hurling racially derogatory language. In particular,…

Read More Second Circuit affirms jury verdict and $200k damage award following racially-motivated scuffle
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In Nagle v. Marron et al. (decided Dec. 12, 2011), the Second Circuit vacated a district court’s grant of summary judgment against a schoolteacher (Nancy Nagle) who alleged, under 42 U.S.C. 1983, that she was denied tenure and terminated in retaliation for exercising her First Amendment rights – namely, reporting a fellow teacher for abusing students…

Read More Second Circuit Vacates Discmissal of Teacher’s First Amendment Retaliation Claim
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Scott v. WPIX, Inc., 10 Civ. 4622 (SDNY Dec. 21, 2011) (WHP):  The Southern District denied defendant’s motions for summary judgment seeking dismissal of plaintiff Karen Scott’s age discrimination claim under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human Rights Law…

Read More Federal court denies summary judgment and allows plaintiff’s federal, state, and city age discrimination claims to continue
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In a 42-page opinion issued last week (copy below), Southern District Judge Colleen McMahon held that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (“OSHA”) crane regulations did not preempt the New York City Building Code’s crane regulations (codified at Title 28 of the New York City Administrative Code).  According to the Court, OSHA “is a…

Read More Federal Court rules that New York City statutes and regulations governing construction cranes are not preempted by OSHA regulations
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In Bennett v. Health Mgt. Sys., Inc., 2011 NY Slip Op. 09206 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dept. Dec. 20, 2011), the Appellate Division, First Department for the first time provided “an examination of whether, and to what extent, the three-step burden-shifting approach set forth in McDonnell Douglas v Green (411 US 792 [1973]), must be…

Read More Court Clarifies Summary Judgment Analysis For Discrimination Claims Under the New York City Human Rights Law
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In Malinowski v. Wall Street Source, Inc., 09 Civ. 9592 (PAE) (SDNY Dec. 2, 2011), NYLJ 1202534751470, the Southern District of New York held that evidence of plaintiff’s post-termination wages was inadmissible in light of the severance clause in plaintiff’s contract (which provided that plaintiff could only be fired for cause). Plaintiff sought unpaid wages,…

Read More Severance Clause Nullifies Mitigation Duty
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