Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

A case recently decided by the Eastern District of New York, Smith v NYC Health and Hosp Corp., 10-cv-714 (EDNY June 18, 2013), illustrates the somewhat difficult task faced by employment discrimination plaintiffs and confirms that not all workplace adversity is actionable. In short, the law does not impose a “general civility code which prohibits all…

Read More Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation Claims

In employment discrimination law, the phrase “hostile work environment” has a very specific meaning that does not encompass all circumstances that the word “hostile” might suggest. Courts repeatedly say, for example, that the employment laws do not provide a “general civility code” for the workplace. In addition, as set forth below, in order to be actionable, the…

Read More What is a “Hostile Work Environment”?

Last week in Kelly v. Howard I. Shapiro & Associates Consulting Engineers, P.C. the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s retaliation claims.  The facts, however, are not quite typical: [Plaintiff] quit her job as a human resources manager at her family business after complaining about an affair that one of her brothers, a vice president…

Read More Second Circuit Rejects “Sexual Favoritism” Claim And Clarifies The “Objectively Reasonable Belief” Element Of Retaliation

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar.  The transcript is below.  I had previously written about the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case (including the issues to be discussed) here. The issue is whether a plaintiff seeking to prove retaliation under Title…

Read More SCOTUS Hears Oral Argument On Title VII Retaliation Issue

In Novak v. Waterfront Comm’n of NY Harbor (SDNY March 1, 2013), the Southern District dismissed plaintiff’s sexual harassment claim.  What makes this case unique is that the alleged harasser was the plaintiff’s ex-boyfriend. The court reiterated that “[t]he sine qua non of a gender-based discriminatory action claim under Title VII is that ‘the discrimination must…

Read More Unfair Treatment Was Due To Failed Romantic Relationship And Was Not “Because of Sex”

Last week in Parisi v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., the Second Circuit held that the trial court should have granted defendant’s motion to compel arbitration of claims brought by former managing director Lisa Parisi – who is one of three women suing Goldman – that she was subjected to gender discrimination.  She contends that defendant…

Read More 2nd Circuit: Under Title VII “Pattern or Practice” Refers to a Method of Proof, Not a Substantive Right

Summa v. Hofstra (11-1743, Feb. 21, 2013):  The Second Circuit found that plaintiff student/football team manager Lauren E. Summa presented sufficient evidence to support her retaliation (but not her harassment) claims against the defendants.  Plaintiff claimed that she was harassed by several football players and then subjected to retaliation for complaining about it.  Among other things,…

Read More 2nd Circuit: Student/Coach May Continue Retaliation, But Not Harassment, Claims Against Hofstra University

In Farren v. Shaw Environmental, No. 12-1008 (2d Cir. Jan. 31, 2013), the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s case due to a failure to exhaust administrative remedies in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and New York State Division of Human Rights (“DHR”), as required by Title VII of the…

Read More 2nd Circuit Explains Difference Between “Disparate Treatment” and “Hostile Work Environment” Theories As Relevant To Title VII’s Administrative Exhaustion Requirement

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Below is a picture of President Lyndon Johnson signing into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – one of the broadest-sweeping pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history – as Dr. King looks on. The date was July 2, 1964. Here’s video. Title VII of that…

Read More The Content of Their Character