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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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Lawyer Alleges Evidence Destroyed in Sexual Harassment Case

Source: Steve Green, Las Vegas Sun
Date: December 28, 2010

The lawyer for a woman alleging sexual harassment against the N9NE Group and its top executive in Las Vegas is now claiming evidence has been destroyed in her case.

Sahara to Pay $100,000 to Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Source: Steve Green, Las Vegas Sun
Date: December 10, 2010

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today said the current and former owners of the Sahara hotel-casino in Las Vegas will pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit the EEOC filed in behalf of a man of Middle Eastern descent who complained of workplace discrimination on the basis of national origin.

Men Can Be Sexually Harassed at Work Too

Source: Orange County Register, Orange County Register
Date: October 18, 2010

The newsletter was reporting on a case in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued employer Prospect Airport Services for failing to stop a female worker from continually pursuing a male co-worker.

Age Discrimination Case: Republic to Pay $3 Million

Source: Tim O'Reiley, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Date: September 30, 2010

Trash collector agrees to settle 6-year-old case, cites litigation costs.

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Threatens to Wreck Siegfried and Roy's Rep

Source: Sheila Marikar, ABC News
Date: September 22, 2010

He's half of one of the entertainment industry's most iconic duos, but new sexual harassment allegations are threatening to rip Roy Horn's reputation to shreds.

Caesars Palace Plays Hardball with Dealers, Asserts Right to Tips

Source: Liz Benston, Las Vegas Sun
Date: January 21, 2010

Union says Harrah's Entertainment's proposed workplace rules prove the gaming giant 'never intended to negotiate'.

Jury awards doctor $310,000

Source: Carri Geer Thevenot, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Date: November 16, 2005

A federal jury awarded $310,000 Tuesday to a Las Vegas physician who accused University Medical Center and her UMC supervisor of discrimination and retaliation. Dr. Raafat Mohammadkhani, known as "Dr. Khani," was working as a staff physician at the county hospital's quick care center on Craig Road when the discrimination occurred, her lawyer said. She filed a lawsuit in December 2001 in state court against Dr. James Anthony, the center's medical director. Anthony was her immediate supervisor. The lawsuit, which later was transferred to federal court, accused Anthony of discriminating against Mohammadkhani based on her gender and national origin.

Court to rehear bartender's lipstick lawsuit

Source: Reuters
Date: May 16, 2005

A federal appeals court agreed on Friday to reconsider the case of a bartender who was fired from her job at a Nevada casino for refusing to wear lipstick, blush and other make-up. Alleging sex discrimination, Darlene Jespersen sued her employer, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., after it dismissed her in 2000 for refusing to comply with a policy that required women to wear makeup. In December, Jespersen's case was dismissed by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the policy was legal. Without comment, the court reversed the ruling on Friday and ordered the case to be reheard by an 11-judge panel.

Makeup requirements for female employees violate anti-discrimination law

Source: Sherry F. Colb, FindLaw
Date: January 11, 2005

Recently, in Jespersen v. Harrah's Operating Company, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that an employer may legally terminate a female employee for her failure to wear makeup. According to the court, an employer's imposition of makeup requirements on female workers does not run afoul of federal anti-discrimination law. The court made a serious mistake in ruling as it did.

What's in a dame

Source: Jennifer Christman, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Date: January 4, 2005

If you happen to bump into Darlene Jespersen and her cheeks are looking a little red, it's not because she's wearing blush. It's because she's angry. The Reno, Nev., woman recently lost her second of two court battles with her former employer, Harrah's Entertainment Inc. A 2-1 decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that Jespersen was not unfairly dismissed from her bartending job in 2000. What did Jespersen do to get fired from her job? Spill drinks on people? Fail to show up? Slosh a little too much Malibu rum in the Scooby Snacks? Abuse the sick policy? No, the longtime employee did something considered much, much worse. She refused to wear makeup.

Court rules bartender was justly fired for refusing to wear makeup

Source: Henry Weinstein, Newsday
Date: December 29, 2004

Harrah's casino in Reno had the right to fire a female bartender because she refused to wear makeup despite the fact that she had consistently high employment evaluations, a sharply divided panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. Harrah's grooming policy that requires women to wear makeup requires men to have neatly trimmed hair that does not extend below the shirt collar and prohibits men from wearing makeup or having long fingernails. The court ruled that the policy did not place a greater burden on women than on men and, therefore, was not a form of discrimination by sex.

EEOC files discrimination suit against Reno Hilton

Source: Sandra Chereb, Associated Press, Las Vegas Sun
Date: May 28, 2004

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Friday filed a class action discrimination lawsuit against the Reno Hilton and its parent firm, alleging the company has failed to protect women from sexual harassment and physical abuse by co-workers. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Reno on behalf of Rosa Gonzalez de Moreno and other "similarly situated female employees," seeks an injunction prohibiting continued illegal conduct and up to $300,000 in monetary damages per victim.

Former Harrah's Reno Bartender's Lawsuit Heard in Appeals Court

Source: Associated Press, Las Vegas Sun
Date: December 12, 2003

A former Harrah's Reno bartender fired for refusing to wear makeup has taken her sex-discrimination lawsuit to a federal appeals court. It could be months before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rules on Darlene Jespersen's lawsuit. A three-judge panel heard oral arguments last week. Senior U.S. District Judge Edward Reed ruled against her last year, concluding the casino's appearance standards are evenly applied to both sexes. Jespersen was fired in August 2000 from Harrah's, where she had worked for 21 years. She maintained that wearing makeup should be a personal choice and had nothing to do with her job performance.

Ex-Troopers' Suit Accuses Kirkland, NHP of 'Hostile' Workplace

Source: Scott Sonner (AP), Reno Gazette Journal
Date: December 8, 2003

Three former Nevada Highway Patrol troopers filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday accusing ex-state public safety director Richard Kirkland and others of conspiring to force them out through harassment and reprisals in a"hostile"workplace. A fourth state patrol employee still on the job also said in the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Reno she was unfairly targeted for reassignment and harassed by highway patrol management under Kirkland's administration.

Plaintiffs in Discrimination Case Hire a New Lawyer

Source: David Hare, Las Vegas Business Press
Date: December 5, 2003

The new attorneys in the Seven-up/RC Bottling Company of Southern California discrimination lawsuit say the case isn't about them, but rather their clients -- a group of African-American males who claim they were subjected to racism during the time they worked for the company at a Las Vegas warehouse. The other attorneys in the case -- David Kimball, Ron Serota -- say the same: It's about them, not us. And that's about where the two parties begin and end their agreement.

EEOC Charges Local Plant With Racial Discrimination

Source: David Hare, Las Vegas Business Press
Date: October 30, 2003

The Los Angeles District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined that the Seven-up/RC Bottling Company of Southern California engaged in racial harassment and discrimination at its Las Vegas branch. The EEOC is expected to announce as early as this week that it is filing a class-action lawsuit against the soda distribution company. Meanwhile, local attorneys David Kimball and Ron Serota are intervening on behalf of eight African-American plaintiffs who initially filed complaints with the EEOC last year.

Timet Paying to Close Bias Suit

Source: Kevin Rademacher, Las Vegas Sun
Date: July 8, 2003

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Titanium Metals Corp. on Monday settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed on behalf of six current and former employees of the company's Henderson plant. The settlement -- which includes no admission of wrongdoing on the part of Denver-based Titanium Metals (Timet) -- requires the company to pay a total of $217,500 to the six women. That includes $47,500 in legal fees for one woman who was represented by separate legal counsel. Four of the women still work at the plant, and one of those women will be transferred to a new department at the Henderson plant as part of the agreement. None of the other women's employment status will change as a result of the agreement.

Fired Harrah's Bartender Presses Case

Source: Liz Benston, Las Vegas Sun
Date: June 17, 2003

A woman who was fired from her bartending job at Harrah's Reno for refusing to wear makeup has appealed her case in federal court. In 2001 Darlene Jespersen filed a lawsuit in federal district court accusing Harrah's of sex discrimination. A judge last year ruled against Jespersen, saying a company-wide appearance policy for casino employees was applied even-handedly to both sexes and isn't an example of sex bias. Jespersen claims women are held to a higher standard than men under the policy and accuses Harrah's of sexual stereotyping.

A Recent Supreme Court Decision Makes it Easier for Plaintiffs to Proceed When Discrimination Is One Motive, But Not the Only One

Source: Joanna Grossman, FindLaw's Writ
Date: June 17, 2003

The federal courts of appeal have long disagreed about what to do in "mixed motive" discrimination cases - that is, cases in which an adverse employment action (such as a firing, demotion, or failure to hire) occurs for both legitimate and illegitimate reasons. Last week, in its decision in Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa, the Supreme Court provided some much needed clarity on this issue. The bottom line of the Court's decision is this: Plaintiffs do not need a "smoking gun" to bring a mixed-motive discrimination case. Instead, less obvious evidence of discrimination can also suffice. That's welcome news for discrimination victims. Employment decisions are rarely made for a single reason. If discrimination enters into the mix, plaintiffs should have the opportunity to sue - without facing any special, higher standards for the proof they must use. The Court rightly recognized Congress' intent on this point. Read It: Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa

High Court Bars Gender Bias in Family Leaves

Source: Jillian Jonas, Women's E-News
Date: June 15, 2003

Women's-rights advocates are celebrating the recent Supreme Court ruling in which Chief Justice William Rehnquist deplored gender stereotypes and resulting employment policies. The ruling upheld--in defiance of recent court trends--a lower court ruling that said state governments were required to abide by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The decision upholding the right of a male state employee to take a leave of absence to care for an ailing relative barred states from relying on the gender stereotype that only women would require time off to meet family caretaking responsibilities.

High Court Paves Easier Road to Jury for Discrimination Plaintiffs

Source: Shannon P. Duffy, The Legal Intelligencer
Date: June 11, 2003

Employment discrimination lawyers on both sides of the aisle seemed to agree Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision Monday in Desert Palace Inc. v. Costa will make it easier for plaintiffs to get their cases before a jury. At issue in Desert Palace was a fundamental question about the plaintiff's burden of proof at trial in the complex burden-shifting that occurs in Title VII cases. Now the Supreme Court has ruled that an en banc panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals got it right when it refused to follow that trend and held instead that circumstantial evidence is enough to get a mixed-motive charge.

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