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Court Cases in the News

A state-by-state review of court cases pertaining to workplace rights.

Select your state from the map below or from this list. (If your state does not have any court cases, then the page will not scroll down when you click on the state.)

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Online College To Pay $260,000 To Settle EEOC Lawsuit Charging Sex Harassment By Supervisors

Source: Press Release, EEOC
Date: May 19, 2011

High-Tech Institute, Inc., doing business as Anthem College Online, will pay $260,000 as part of a settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

NLRB pursues secret-ballot lawsuit in AZ

Source: Ashley Fletcher Frampton, Charleston Regional Business Journal
Date: May 9, 2011

As promised earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board on Friday filed a lawsuit challenging an Arizona constitutional amendment on secret-ballot votes for union elections.

Supreme Court to Hear Arizona Case About Illegal Workers

Source: Joan Biskupic, USA Today
Date: December 8, 2010

Against the backdrop of a fierce national debate over illegal immigration, the Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a challenge to an Arizona law that revokes the licenses of companies that hire undocumented workers.

High Court Ruling on Arizona Act Could Shape Immigration Law

Source: David G. Savage, L.A. Times
Date: December 7, 2010

The 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act cracks down on employers who hire illegal workers, but the Obama administration says it conflicts with the federal government's authority to enforce immigration laws.

Sioux Falls Oral Surgery Clinic Pays $118,775 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Source: Press Release, EEOC
Date: June 23, 2010

Siouxland Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, LLP of Sioux Falls, S.D., has agreed to pay $95,000 in punitive damages and attorneys' fees, in addition to $23,775 paid earlier this year for lost earnings and interest, to resolve a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of two pregnant women discriminated against in 2002, the agency announced today.

Employees win age-discrimination case

Source: Meghan Neighbor, The Arizona Republic
Date: June 16, 2010

Temple-Inland will pay $250,000 to three Glendale employees who were reportedly terminated between 2002 and 2005 because of their ages, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.

Cannon & Wendt to pay $100,000 in bias lawsuit

Source: Luci Scott, Arizona Republic
Date: April 15, 2010

Electrical contractor Cannon & Wendt will pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Male-On-Male Sexual Harassment Claims Increase, Victims Often Perceived as 'Not Manly' Enough

Source: Sam Hananel, AP
Date: March 8, 2010

During more than two years as a food runner at an upscale steakhouse in Scottsdale, Ariz., Pilkington says his male supervisor groped, fondled and otherwise sexually harassed him more than a dozen times.

Simula to Pay $110,000 in EEOC Complaint

Source: Ed Taylor, East Valley Tribune
Date: June 18, 2009

A Phoenix-based military contractor will pay $110,000 to settle a complaint of sex and age discrimination filed by the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency said Wednesday.

Judge Finds Against Sunfire Glass for Sexual Harassment of Female Workers by Owner

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Date: April 15, 2009

A federal district court today entered a Federal Court Judgment for over $267,000 and significant injunctive relief in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a discrimination lawsuit against Sunfire Glass, Inc. The EEOC's suit charged that the company's owner subjected a class of female employees to severe physical and verbal sexual harassment in violation of federal law.

$1.8 million settles suit against university for religious bias

Source: CCH
Date: November 20, 2008

Federal district court judge Mary H. Murguia of the district of Arizona entered a consent decree for nearly $2 million and significant remedial relief to resolve a class-based religious bias lawsuit against the University of Phoenix and its parent corporation, Apollo Group, Inc. The University of Phoenix engaged in a widespread practice of discriminating against non-Mormon employees who worked as enrollment counselors in the university's Online Division in violation of Title VII, alleged the EEOC in its lawsuit.

Appeals court upholds Arizona immigration law

Source: Reuters
Date: September 18, 2008

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday upheld an Arizona law that targets employers who hire illegal immigrants by revoking their licenses to do business in the state. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals noted that the 2007 law, which has not been enforced, arose from "rising frustration with the United States Congress's failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform."

Suit vs. Boeing ordered to trial

Source: Max Jarman, Arizona Republic
Date: August 8, 2008

A 2003 sexual harassment suit against the Boeing Co. in Mesa is heading back to court. A U.S. appellate court has overturned a lower court decision that cleared Boeing of the charges and returned the case to Arizona for trial. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Boeing in 2003 on behalf of Kelley Miles, a female mechanic at Boeing's Apache helicopter plant in Mesa.

Boeing mum as appeals court says sexual harassment suit should go to trial

Source: Phoenix Business Journal
Date: August 11, 2008

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday reversed a lower court decision that concluded The Boeing Co. did not engage in unlawful sexual harassment or retaliation at its Mesa plant. The lawsuit, EEOC v. The Boeing Co., was remanded to a U.S. District Judge in Arizona for trial. Boeing had no comment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seeks relief on behalf of Kelley Miles, a female mechanic in Mesa who works on the Apache helicopter the Chicago-based firm manufactures for the U.S. Army.

District judge upholds employer-sanctions law

Source: Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic
Date: February 8, 2008

A federal judge upheld the merits of Arizona's landmark employer-sanctions law Thursday, saying it does not overstep the federal government's authority to regulate illegal immigration. U.S. District Judge Neil Wake dismissed arguments by a coalition of business and Latino civil-rights groups that the law unconstitutionally gives the state controls over immigration. Wake noted that the state law controls business licenses and does not determine who should be admitted into the United States.

Religion wins over dress codes

Source: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, Arizona Republic
Date: June 8, 2006

When it comes to clothing and its relationship to religion, a court ruling will make it harder for company owners and managers to impose dress codes on their workers. A ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver concludes that Alamo Rent A Car violated federal law by refusing to allow a Muslim woman to wear a scarf during the holy month of Ramadan. The judge rejected a series of arguments by Alamo, including contentions that allowing her to wear the scarf, a clear sign of her religion in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, would cause the business undue hardship. David Lopez, senior attorney for the [EEOC], said a company that argues it will lose customers because of its workers' religious garb likely will lose in court even if the business could show financial harm.

Whistle-blower gets $4.75 mil

Source: Dennis Wagner, Arizona Republic
Date: October 1, 2005

A former Maricopa County employee on Friday won what may be the first court judgment under Arizona's whistle-blower protection law when jurors in Prescott awarded him $4.75 million for wrongful termination. Walters, an environmental analyst, discovered in 1996 that county administrators used fictional liability figures in reports submitted to bond underwriters and others. The lawsuit alleges that he was fired after informing the chief financial officer of the mistake and threatening exposure unless the mistake was corrected. The Arizona Employment Protection Act was adopted in 1996 to protect whistle-blowers.

Latino workers win $2.4 million in Tempe bias suit

Source: Jahna Berry, The Arizona Republic
Date: July 1, 2005

Tempe's progressive image took a bruising Thursday when a federal jury awarded nine Hispanic men $2.4 million for enduring years of racism while they worked for the city. The jury's decision could be the final note in a scandal that erupted nearly six years ago and led the city to step back and re-examine itself. What started with allegations by Hispanic workers of a hostile work environment led to sweeping changes at City Hall. The allegations of racial bias led to the ouster of former City Manager Gary Brown, an overhaul in the Public Works Department and the birth of Tempe's Diversity Office.

Berge Ford pays $70,000 in discrimination suit

Source: John Yantis, East Valley Tribune
Date: June 16, 2004

Berge Ford has paid $70,000 to a Mesa [Arizona] woman and agreed to provide employees with more training in pregnancy discrimination to settle a federal lawsuit, the Phoenix office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Tuesday. The commission filed the suit after 23-year-old Mailyn Pickler was fired in December 2000. The EEOC argued that Pickler was terminated because the company feared it might be liable if she became ill while driving company vehicles. "That's the kind of stereotyping and ignorance we're talking about," [EEOC regional attorney Mary Jo] O'Neill said. "Sometimes, when times get hard economically, we see an increase in certain kinds of discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination."

EEOC, Pimalco Settle Discrimination Suit

Source: Pittsburgh Business Times
Date: February 26, 2004

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has settled a lawsuit against Pimalco Inc., in which the maker of parts for aircraft and other equipment was accused of firing an employee because he had diabetes. According to the EEOC's Phoenix office, Pimalco will pay $70,000 in back wages and compensatory damages and make appropriate changes to its operating procedures under the terms of the settlement.

EEOC Charges Local RadioShack Store with Discrimination

Source: Phoenix Business Journal
Date: January 8, 2004

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against RadioShack Inc., alleging race discrimination in hiring at its 707 E. Bell Road Phoenix location. The EEOC charges in its suit that the Phoenix store denied an application to Lunizia Bridges because he is African American. EEOC officials said their investigation found that Bridges was told the store had no application forms, despite the fact that a sign in the store indicated the store was accepting job applications, and a few minutes later a white applicant asked for and received an application form.

EEOC Settles Lawsuit Against Coit Services

Source: Phoenix Business Journal
Date: January 7, 2004

The Phoenix office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against Coit Services, a drapery cleaning business, for $190,000 and other relief. According to an announcement from the federal agency, the EEOC sued Coit on behalf of several female employees who claimed to have been physically and verbally harassed by Louis Kearn, Coit's founder and chairman.

Verdict Still Stalled in Bias Suit Against NAU

Source: Robert Anglen, Arizona Republic
Date: January 7, 2004

About 40 White, male Northern Arizona University professors have been waiting more than a decade for courts to decide if they were victims of discrimination. On Tuesday, the men found out they will be waiting awhile longer. A U.S. District Court judge in Phoenix delayed ruling on whether the university violated employment laws when it gave raises to minorities and women in a 1993 attempt to correct apparent pay inequities. At stake is an estimated $2 million in back pay the professors say they are now owed by the state, money they would have made if they had been paid equally.

Eatery Will Pay 2 Workers to Settle Harassment Suit

Source: Arizona Republic
Date: December 12, 2003

A downtown Phoenix restaurant has settled a lawsuit over sexual and racial harassment by agreeing to revamp personnel policies and pay two workers $71,614 in damages. The U.S. District Court complaint was filed last year by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Lissa Gomez and Karen Sprague, bartenders at Matador Mexican Food Restaurant. The agreement, announced Thursday in an EEOC news release, requires Matador to reform its discrimination policies, institute employee training and create grievance procedures. The EEOC said witnesses confirmed incidents of inappropriate touching as well as slurs directed toward Hispanic and Black workers.

Pilot Accuses Mesa Air Group of Discrimination

Source: Associated Press, Arizona Republic
Date: December 10, 2003

A graduate of the San Juan College-Mesa Airlines flight school has filed a lawsuit against Mesa Air Group alleging discrimination. Frank Nickman said Mesa refused to hire him as a commercial pilot because of his Iranian heritage. "It was a decision based on fear," Nickman said Tuesday.

Supreme Court Passes Up Chance to Settle Workplace Rights of Recovering

Source: Associated Press, Daily Herald
Date: December 3, 2003

The Supreme Court ruled against a recovering drug addict who wanted his old job back, but Tuesday's decision put off a final answer on whether companies must rehire recovering drug addicts and alcoholics who lose their jobs for breaking company rules. The court, in its 7-0 decision, said that Hughes Missile Systems had a legitimate policy against rehiring all workers who break rules. But the justices said they would not use Hughes' appeal to decide if the more than 5 million workers with substance abuse problems have workplace protection under the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act.

High Court Upholds Firm's Rehiring Ban

Source: David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
Date: December 3, 2003

Employers can refuse to rehire recovered drug addicts or alcoholics who were dismissed for violating the company's workplace rules, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. A "no-rehire policy" is a "legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason" for rejecting a former drug user, even if federal law forbids job discrimination against people for their past abuse of drugs or alcohol, the justices said. The unanimous, but narrow, ruling gives employers leeway to reject former employees with a troubled past, but it does not resolve the broader question of whether former drug addicts and alcoholics are entitled to equal treatment when they apply for a job with a new employer.

Suns, Sports Magic Settle Zoo Crew Suit

Source: Noelle C. Haner, Orlando Business Journal
Date: November 10, 2003

A 3-year-old gender discrimination lawsuit targeting Winter Park-based Sports Magic Team Inc. and the National Basketball Association's Phoenix Suns has come to a close. A $104,500 settlement was reached between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Suns and Sports Magic, which provides entertainment during sporting and charity events. At issue was a sex bias lawsuit filed against the Suns and Sports Magic Team by former Sports Magic employee Kathryn Tomlinson. Tomlinson and two other women -- Makia White and Nathasha Jenkins -- allege they were discriminated against on the basis of gender when they were deprived of the opportunity to compete for positions on the Phoenix Suns' Zoo Crew entertainment troupe during the 1999-2000 NBA season.

Napolitano's Anti-Discrimination Order to Stand

Source: Howard Fischer, Arizona Daily Sun
Date: October 30, 2003

The Arizona Supreme Court refused Wednesday to disturb an order by Gov. Janet Napolitano prohibiting discrimination against gay and lesbian state employees. Without comment, the justices rejected the petition by six Republican legislators who argued that the governor overstepped her constitutional authority. They said only the Legislature can decide the scope of anti-discrimination laws. Wednesday's ruling does not necessarily mean they are wrong. They still have the legal option of taking their arguments through the normal process of trial court and, eventually, back to the state's high court.

3 Companies Sued By EEOC

Source: Luci Scott, Arizona Business Gazette
Date: October 16, 2003

Cheryl Horne says she is puzzled about why her request that her co-workers let up on the profanity went unheeded at Silk Dynasty, a commercial wall covering manufacturer based in Mountain View, Calif. She worked at the company's southeast Phoenix factory five years, in office jobs and on the manufacturing floor, where the ratio of men to women is about 2-to-1. "When I working in the office, there was some issue about language . . . but when I got out on the floor, all of a sudden they were cussing and swearing . . . all day long. I worked 10 hours a day, 40 or 50 hours a week. I was listening to this all day long. They didn't need to do that." She said she asked them to stop, told them to stop and talked to management, but the offensive behavior did not cease. Now the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a class lawsuit in federal court against Silk Dynasty, alleging that workers engaged in sexual remarks and profanity in the workplace, displayed provocative pictures of women and accessed pornography on Web sites.

Supreme Court Takes Up Employee Rights in ADA

Source: Jan C. Greenburg, Baltimore Sun
Date: October 9, 2003

Taking up a key case under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Supreme Court justices grappled yesterday with whether an employer can refuse to rehire a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser who has beaten his addictions and wants his job back. A lawyer for Joel Hernandez, a former employee of Hughes Missile Systems Co., argued that the company's refusal to consider him for a job after his rehabilitation violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. He urged the justices to affirm a decision by a California-based federal appeals court that permitted him to pursue his lawsuit against his former employer.

Suns Settle Sex-Bias Suit, Will Use Women in 'Crew'

Source: Craig Harris, Arizona Republic
Date: October 10, 2003

The Phoenix Suns gorilla won't be dunking with just a bunch of guys anymore. The National Basketball Association franchise has agreed to start recruiting women to compete with its highflying "Zoo Crew" and will pay $82,500 to settle a sex-discrimination suit with three women. The team also must write a letter of apology to one of the women who was discriminated against and conduct sex-discrimination training seminars for its staff.

Supreme Court Weighs Workplace Rights for Ex-Substance Abusers

Source: Tony Mauro, Legal Times
Date: October 9, 2003

The Supreme Court struggled Wednesday to sort out an important Americans with Disabilities Act case brought by an Arizona man who wanted his job back after being terminated years earlier for alcohol and drug abuse. Substance abuse itself is not a disability under the law, but workplace discrimination because of past abuse is covered. In Raytheon v. Hernandez, No. 02-749, the company says it was justified in not rehiring Joel Hernandez because of an across-the-board policy against rehiring anyone who was once terminated for cause. The Bush administration entered the case on the side of the Raytheon Co.

EEOC Suits Claim Bias at 3 Valley Businesses

Source: Dennis Wagner, Arizona Republic
Date: September 25, 2003

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued three prominent Valley businesses, alleging religious discrimination against Mormon, non-Mormon and Jehovah's Witness workers. The federal watchdog agency accused the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort of firing a Mormon supervisor after she complained about being ordered to work on Sundays. Another suit accuses the Arizona Paper Box Co. of abusing and firing Jehovah's Witnesses. A third civil complaint charges the Desert Schools Federal Credit Union with job bias against employees who do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

EEOC Files Age-Discrimination Suit Against Lennar Homes

Source: The Business Journal [Phoenix]
Date: September 19, 2003

The Phoenix office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Friday announced the filing of a lawsuit against Lennar Homes of Arizona Inc. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, alleges Lennar Homes discriminated against a class of employees 40 years and older. The former employees, all over 40, claim that they were laid off by Lennar and the company told them it was because of economic reasons. Following their termination, the workers allege in the lawsuit, Lennar hired new younger sales agents soon after their termination, instead of calling back to work the laid off sales agents.

Chandler Firm Faces EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit

Source: Phoenix Business Journal
Date: August 27, 2003

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Wednesday announced the filing of a disability discrimination lawsuit against Pimalco Inc., charging the Chandler metals company with firing a worker because he had diabetes. The EEOC lawsuit alleges that Pimalco hired the man to operate mobile equipment and then fired him 10 days later at the company's San Carlos Apache reservation because the company discovered that he had diabetes. The alleged action violates federal anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona after exhausting its efforts to settle with the company.

Six Mesa Cops Lose Bias Suit

Source: Gary Grado, East Valley Tribune (AZ)
Date: July 14, 2003

A federal judge has thrown out the claims of six of nine current and former Mesa police officers in a lawsuit alleging the city discriminated against them on the basis of race, gender and religion. Since scaling back the number of plaintiffs, Judge Susan Bolton last week postponed indefinitely an Aug. 12 trial date while she considers a request to consolidate the case with a companion case that has the same plaintiffs and facts but alleges violations of other laws.

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