Tag Archives: Discrimination

Seventh Circuit Upholds High Bar for Plaintiffs Filing Retaliation Claims

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently reaffirmed employers’ rights under Title VII to make merit-based hiring decisions, even when it means rejecting a candidate who recently raised a meritorious claim of discrimination. In Robertson v. Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 949 F.3d 371, 374 (7th Cir. 2020), the plaintiff reported discriminatory conduct in the … Continue Reading

How Little May an Employee Allege for Retaliation Protection?

The question of when a worker has raised concerns about discrimination sufficient to gain retaliation protection has not been answered consistently and clearly by courts. A case in Texas may provide clarification. The Texas Supreme Court, in Apache Corp. v. Davis, has been asked to evaluate a lower court ruling on the subject.  The lower court … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Petition Seeking to Scrap McDonnell Douglas Burden-Shifting Analysis

Arguing the decades-old analysis is no longer helpful to anyone, Reginald Sprowl petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to scrap application of the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis in Title VII race discrimination and retaliation claims. On January 19, 2021, the Supreme Court rejected Sprowl’s petition and denied certiorari. Sprowl v. Mercedes-Benz U.S. Int’l, Inc., 815 Fed. … Continue Reading

Is One Enough? Employee Asks U.S. Supreme Court if Single Utterance of Racial Slur Creates Hostile Work Environment

Is a single utterance of an offensive racial slur – specifically the “N-word” – enough to create a hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? A Black operating room aide in Dallas, Texas, has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the question. The petition references a circuit-split on … Continue Reading

Florida Jury Awards Former University Registrar $310,500 In Retaliation Suit

A jury recently returned a $310,500 verdict in favor of a former University of South Florida employee on her retaliation claim against the University. DeBose v. USF Board of Trustees, et al, No. 8:15-cv-02787 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 26, 2018).   The former employee, Angela DeBose, claimed she was retaliated against because she had filed internal race … Continue Reading

No Horseplay Here: Jury Awards Employee $2.4 Million in Damages for Sex Discrimination

A company’s potential monetary liability for workplace discrimination can be crippling. A jury in the U.S. District for the Northern District of Illinois had awarded a male grocery store butcher $2.4 million in compensatory and punitive damages on his claim of sexual harassment against a small grocery store located in the south side of Chicago. … Continue Reading

Jury Award of Emotional Distress Damages Must Be Reduced by Millions, Judge Rules

A federal judge in New York has ruled that a plaintiff could recover only a small portion of the $2.5 million a jury awarded him, granting the defendant’s request for the reduction. Saber v. New York State Department of Financial Services, No. 1:15-cv-05944 (S.D. N.Y. July 20, 2018).  Plaintiff Nasser Saber, who is Muslim, had … Continue Reading

Illinois Jury Rejects Transgender Worker’s Discrimination Claim

  A federal jury in Illinois has rejected a transgender employee’s claim that she was discriminated against and illegally fired after she told her employer that she was transitioning. In 2016, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Rent-A-Center East, Inc., alleging the company discharged Megan Kerr illegally in 2014, after over a year’s worth of … Continue Reading

Well-Documented Investigation and Carefully Written Policies Give Win to School District Against Discrimination, Retaliation Claims

  Following nearly 10 days of witness testimony, a jury in Denton, Texas, has ruled in favor of the Denton Independent School District (ISD), and rejected an ISD para-professional’s claim that he was fired in retaliation for complaining about discrimination. Although the ISD’s termination letter to the para-professional stated that his history of filing meritless … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Jury Rejects Fired Jail Officer’s Claims of Discrimination and Retaliation

A case involving a former jail officer shows how keeping detailed, contemporaneous records of complaints of discrimination and unfair treatment can help defend against employee claims. A federal jury in Wisconsin rejected a former jail officer’s claim that her termination was the result of sex discrimination and retaliation. The jury apparently found the plaintiff’s allegations of … Continue Reading

Discrimination Due To Breastfeeding: Jury Verdict Upheld in Favor of Police Officer

Affirming that breastfeeding is a medical condition related to pregnancy and that the police department’s conduct violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), a federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld the jury’s verdict for a former Tuscaloosa, Alabama police officer. Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, No. 16-13003 (11th Cir. Sept. 7, 2017).  Stephanie Hicks was awarded … Continue Reading

The Significance of Expert Testimony

Expert testimony can play a significant role in shaping the outcome of cases that go to trial. For example, in a case lacking witnesses or evidence that could directly support or undercut the plaintiff’s accusations of severe sexual misconduct, what stood out most was the expert testimony. On August 8, 2017, a two-week jury trial ended … Continue Reading

Jury Awards $4.5 Million to Hospital Employee for Discrimination and Retaliation

A plaintiff has been awarded $4.45 million for an age discrimination, disability discrimination, and retaliation action he filed under state law in a court in Iowa against his former employer. Gregory Hawkins v. Grinnell Regional Medical Center, et al., No. 08791 LALA002281. The award included $220,009 in back pay, $2 million in emotional distress damages, … Continue Reading
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