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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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New York

Appeals Court Weakens Employer Liability Shield in Discrimination Cases

Source: Jacob Gershman, The Wall Street Journal
Date: August 29, 2016

A ruling by a federal appeals court in New York could make it easier for employers to face liability in discrimination cases where the firing was caused by company negligence. The case before the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt with a company accused of bungling its response to a sexual harassment complaint lodged by a female employee who was later fired.

Port Chester restaurant boss arrested for labor abuses

Source: Ernie Garcia, The Journal News
Date: October 2, 2014

If convicted, Parto faces a maximum jail term of one year and fines of $5,000 for each count, plus restitution to five employees, who include cooks, cleaners and cashiers. The employees sometimes worked more than 70 hours a week between 2010 and 2014, according to Schneiderman's office.

TGI Fridays served with class-action lawsuit

Source: AP, Business Management Daily
Date: September 6, 2014

The suit, filed in federal court in New York, alleges the restaurant requires tipped employees to arrive early and stay at work after the restaurant closes without properly compensating them. Additionally, it alleges the restaurant uses its centralized timekeeping system to shave time off employees' time cards.

Pressured to quit, older workers start fighting back in courtroom

Source: Nelson D. Schwartz (New York Times), Detroit News
Date: May 30, 2011

Last year, the EEOC filed suit against Kelley, Drye & Warren in New York, arguing that it acted illegally when it forced a partner to give up his equity stake when he turned 70, and cut his bonus. The agency termed the suit "a wakeup call for law firms," and specifically cited the firm's mandatory retirement age.

Law Firm Is Sanctioned Over Client's Concealment in Bias Suit

Source: Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal
Date: May 27, 2011

The law firm of Thompson Wigdor & Gilly has been sanctioned $15,000 for allowing a client in an employment discrimination suit to conceal that she had obtained a new job for substantially more money.

NLRB Faults Company for Firing Workers Over Facebook Posts

Source: Melanie Trottman, Wall Street Journal
Date: May 18, 2011

The National Labor Relations Board said Wednesday a nonprofit in organization in Buffalo, N.Y. was wrong to fire five workers for Facebook postings that criticized working conditions, and disclosed that it has more than two dozen cases involving worker complaints aired on the social media site.

Yankee Stadium concession workers sue over tips

Source: Erin Geiger Smith, Reuters
Date: May 10, 2011

Three current and former waiters who served fans in premium seats at Yankee Stadium have filed a lawsuit against their employer over the withholding of tips automatically charged on food and drink orders.

Angry Employees at Central Park's Boathouse Restaurant Secretly Taping Their Bosses

Source: Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News
Date: January 28, 2011

Fed up with their treatment by management, dozens of waiters and dishwashers have been reporting to work for the past year armed with miniature cassette recorders and have taped hundreds of workplace conversations.

Sex, Age Discrimination Suit v Bank of NY Mellon

Source: Steve James and Bill Berkrot, Reuters
Date: January 24, 2011

A veteran portfolio officer at Bank of New York Mellon Corp accused the company of sex and age discrimination on Friday, charging she was paid less than younger, male employees.

NYC Settles Religious Discrimination Case

Source: AP, Wall Street Journal
Date: December 20, 2010

New York City has settled a lawsuit with an Orthodox Jewish nurse who was denied a job at a city hospital because she couldn't work on the Sabbath.

Federal Jury Awards Hindu priest 2.8M in Back Pay, Damages, but Orders 500K Back to Ashram Owners

Source: John Marzulli, New York Daily News
Date: December 16, 2010

A federal jury awarded an Indian priest $2.8 million in back pay and damages Tuesday for years of involuntary servitude at a Queens ashram.

Woman Sues Over Alleged Ban on Wearing Crucifix to Work

Source: Amber Sutherland and Jamie Schram, New York Post
Date: December 14, 2010

A Roman Catholic woman says she was banned from wearing her crucifix while working for Orthodox Jews at a Manhattan frame and watch wholesaler.

Novartis $152.5 Million Sex-Bias Settlement Approved

Source: Bob Van Voris, Business Week
Date: December 1, 2010

The federal judge presiding over a sex-bias class action against Novartis AG's U.S. unit gave final approval to a $152.5 million settlement the drugmaker reached in July.

Financier Is Sued by Cuomo in Fraud Case

Source: Louise Story and Peter Lattman, New York Times
Date: November 19, 2010

Steven L. Rattner, the financier who oversaw the federal rescue of the auto industry, was formally accused by New York's attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, on Thursday of engaging in a kickback scheme involving the state's pension system.

Financier Is Sued by Cuomo in Fraud Case

Source: Louise Story and Peter Lattman, New York Times
Date: November 19, 2010

Steven L. Rattner, the financier who oversaw the federal rescue of the auto industry, was formally accused by New York's attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, on Thursday of engaging in a kickback scheme involving the state's pension system.

Bank of America Settles Bias Suit

Source: Bloomberg News, New York Times
Date: November 17, 2010

Bank of America has settled a lawsuit filed by a broker who claimed that the bank's Merrill Lynch unit discriminated against women through its partnership model.

I Was Fired Because of Ethnic Tensions, Trinidadian Banker Shivana Persad Says in Lawsuit

Source: Thomas Zambito, New York Daily News
Date: November 12, 2010

Shivana Persad, 26, says she was treated like a second-class citizen at Chase Manhattan's South Richmond Hill, Queens, branch.

Goldman Settles Lawsuit Over Pregnancy Bias With Former Vice President

Source: Bob Van Voris, Bloomberg
Date: November 8, 2010

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. settled a suit by a former vice president who claimed she was pushed onto the "mommy-track" and eventually fired after she chose to work part-time following her pregnancy.

Fed-Up JetBlue Flight Attendant Pleads Guilty, Avoids Jail

Source: Colleen Long, Seattle Times
Date: October 21, 2010

The fed-up flight attendant who waved goodbye to his career in a spectacular exit down an emergency chute made a soft landing in court Tuesday.

Scolding City, Judge Bans New Hiring by Fire Dept.

Source: Kareem Fahim, New York Times
Date: October 20, 2010

In blunt, scolding language, a federal judge on Tuesday criticized the city's conduct during legal negotiations aimed at diversifying the Fire Department, accusing the Bloomberg administration of shirking its responsibility for redressing discrimination and of exaggerating claims about threats to public safety during the dispute.

US Department of Labor Recovers More Than $485,000 in Back Wages for Employees of New York City Dollar Store Chain

Source: Department of Labor, Department of Labor
Date: October 14, 2010

The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered more than $485,000 in minimum wages, overtime pay, liquidated damages and post-judgment interest for approximately 120 employees of several New York City-area dollar stores.

Goldman Bias Suit Offers Wall Street a Chance: Jacki Zehner

Source: Jacki Zehner, Bloomberg
Date: September 17, 2010

Does gender discrimination exist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.?

Strip Clubs, Golf Trips in Goldman Sachs Gender-Bias Suit

Source: Rachel Emma Silverman, Wall Street Journal
Date: September 16, 2010

Investment banking firm Goldman Sachs was sued by three former female employees who accused the firm of gender bias, according to a piece in today's WSJ.

Unlikely Group Charges Bias at University

Source: Lisa W. Foderaro, New York Times
Date: September 15, 2010

For more than 35 years, the City University of New York, one of the nation's most diverse higher education systems, has quietly struggled with a minority group that says it has been passed over for jobs.

Four Ex-BofA/Merrill Advisers Sue for Gender Bias

Source: Jonathan Stempel, Reuters
Date: September 3, 2010

Bank of America Corp was sued on Thursday in Manhattan federal court by four female financial advisers and trainees who accused the largest U.S. bank of mistreating and firing them because of their gender.

City Barred From Hiring New Firefighters

Source: A. G. Sulzberger, The New York Times
Date: August 5, 2010

The federal judge overseeing a discrimination lawsuit against the city's Fire Department ruled on Wednesday that the hiring test being used by the department was unfair to minority applicants and issued an injunction that will prevent the city from offering positions to 300 applicants who had already taken the exam.

Eric Javits Sued for Gender Bias

Source: Press Release, The Wall Street Journal
Date: July 28, 2010

A Bronx woman has filed a gender-discrimination suit against a high-end hat and handbag maker and his Long Island City-based company, saying she was demoted after she gave birth and that she and her fiancé lost their jobs when she began complaining about the matter.

Female Bridge Painters Win Bias Suit Against New York

Source: AP, New York Times
Date: May 17, 2010

New York City discriminated against female bridge painters by hiring only men and letting them operate like a "boys club" where lewd sexual images and cartoons were displayed at their lockers, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

Receptionist: I Was Fired After Trying to Pump Breast Milk for My Baby - At Mammogram Center

Source: Katie Nelson, New York Daily News
Date: May 7, 2010

A Manhattan receptionist says she was canned after trying to pump breast milk for her baby at work - at a mammogram center.

Firm Pays Damages, Interest in Sexual Harassment Case

Source: Thomas Adams, Rochester Business Journal
Date: May 6, 2010

Everdry Marketing and Management Inc. has paid $471,096 in damages and $86,581 in post-judgment interest to 13 victims of sexual harassment at its Rochester office, officials announced Wednesday.

Firm Pays Damages, interest in Sexual Harassment Case

Source: Thomas Adams, Rochester Business Journal
Date: May 10, 2010

Everdry Marketing and Management Inc. has paid $471,096 in damages and $86,581 in post-judgment interest to 13 victims of sexual harassment at its Rochester office, officials announced Wednesday.

Judge Rips Lawyers for Failing to Hand Over Documents in FDNY Discrimination Case

Source: John Marzulli , NY Daily News
Date: May 4, 2010

A judge blasted city lawyers Monday for failing to hand over thousands of documents linked to a Fire Department exam that discriminated against minority candidates.

Erie County Worker Wins $150K In Sexual Harassment Suit Against County

Source: Aaron Saykin, WGRZ Buffalo
Date: April 29, 2010

A jury has awarded $150,000 to an Erie County worker who said a male co-worker sexually harassed her on the job, and that, despite multiple complaints, the county failed to protect her from him for months.

Coffee Workers Cancel Union Vote with NLRB

Source: Liz Lawyer, The Ithaca Journal
Date: April 20, 2010

Eight coffee workers at the Ithaca Coffee Company have dropped their request for the National Labor Relations Board to certify a vote that would require the company to recognize their union.

$200 Million Gender Bias Trial Against Novartis Gets Under Way

Source: Vesselin Mitev, New York Law Journal
Date: April 9, 2010

The trial of a $200 million gender discrimination class action suit against Swiss-owned drug maker Novartis Pharmaceuticals began Thursday with the defense saying the company "makes no claim that we are perfect" but denying that it underpaid women or intentionally promoted them less frequently than men.

'Life Partner' Not Subject to Federal Age Bias Law, Kelley Drye Argues

Source: Nate Raymond, New York Law Journal
Date: April 6, 2010

Kelley Drye & Warren yesterday fought back against an age discrimination suit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stemming from the firm's policy of stripping partners of their equity at age 70.

Auto Dealer Hit With Sex Harass Suit by Receptionist Who Claimed Bosses Kept Snapping Her Bra

Source: Thomas Zambito, New York Daily News
Date: March 31, 2010

A Queens woman has filed a lawsuit against big wheels at a Long Island car dealership - alleging they snapped her bra, whacked her backside with a backscratcher and hounded her with come-ons.

Mothers Accuse Goldman Sachs, Citigroup of Discrimination

Source: Dalia Fahmy, ABC News
Date: March 30, 2010

Two women have filed complaints against Wall Street banks, claiming they were discriminated against in their jobs after taking time off to have children.

Goldman Sued for Pregnancy Bias by Ex-Vice President (Update3)

Source: David Glovin, Business Week
Date: March 25, 2010

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was sued for bias by a former vice president who said she was pushed onto the "mommy-track" and eventually fired after she chose to work part-time following her pregnancy.

Female Officer Awarded $400K in Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit

Source: WCAX, AP
Date: March 24, 2010

A federal jury finds the Syracuse police department had a policy of retaliating against workers who complained about discrimination.

EEOC Rules NYC Wronged Arabic-Language Principal

Source: AP, 1010 Wins
Date: March 15, 2010

The founding principal of an Arabic-language school who lost her job after she made controversial remarks about the word "intifada'' was discriminated against by the city Education Department, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled.

Bartender Says Club Demoted Her Because She Was Pregnant

Source: Shanna Schwarze, CNN
Date: March 8, 2010

Jennifer Paviglianiti, of Centereach, N.Y., claims her employer, Café Royale, discriminated against her because of her pregnancy. She filed a claim with the EEOC earlier this month.

Harassment Suit Against United Nations Tossed Out

Source: Basil Katz, Reuters
Date: March 3, 2010

A lawsuit by a United Nations employee, whose allegations of sexual harassment led to the resignation of a top official, was dismissed on Tuesday by a New York court that said the world body was immune.

Age Discrimination Suit Tossed After Mets Beer Vendor, 85, Is Replaced by 75-Year-Old

Source: Jose Martinez, NY Daily News
Date: March 1, 2010

An 85-year-old woman who sold suds at Mets games was crying in her beer Friday after a judge junked her age discrimination suit against the company that replaced her with a 75-year-old.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Age Bias Lawsuit Revived

Source: Jonathan Stempel, Reuters
Date: February 18, 2010

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit accusing PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP of age bias for refusing to consider two employees who were near the accounting firm's retirement age for partnership.

EEOC Sues Law Firm Kelley Drye & Warren for Age Discrimination and Retaliation

Source: EEOC, EEOC
Date: January 29, 2010

Kelley Drye & Warren, an international law firm with its primary office in New York City, violated federal age discrimination law through its compensation system, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

Woman Turns Down Offer to Take Sex-Harassment Case Against Union Prez Norman Seabrook to Trial

Source: Alison Gendar, New York Daily News
Date: January 25, 2010

Collette Scott said she didn't take the money and run because she wants the chance to tell a jury how Seabrook forcibly tongue-kissed her during a closed-door meeting nearly 14 years ago.

Sexual harassment suit by 3 female West New York EMS workers settled for $142,000

Source: Karina L. Arrue, New Jersey On-Line
Date: January 11, 2010

Town commissioners have voted to spend $142,000 to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit that was filed in June.

Bronx Cookie Factory Is Ordered to Reinstate Striking Workers

Source: Sewell Chan, New York Times
Date: July 2, 2009

The Stella D'Oro Biscuit Company factory in the Bronx, where 134 workers on strike since last August have been replaced, must reinstate the workers and pay them wages going back to May, a federal administrative law judge has ruled.

Judge upholds discrimination lawsuit against SCCC

Source: Karla Schuster, Newsday
Date: June 26, 2009

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit by a Suffolk County Community College security guard who says the school barred him from using a cane on the job unless he agreed to take an overnight shift so he would have little interaction with students or other guards.

Duane Reade to Pay $240,000 to Settle EEOC Lawsuit for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Date: May 29, 2009

Duane Reade Inc., a well-known New York drugstore chain that operates more than 200 stores in metropolitan New York, will pay $240,000 and furnish other substantial relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

OSHA Cites Wal-Mart in 2008 Death of NY Worker Crushed by Post-Thanksgiving Shoppers

Source: Frank Eltman, Newsday
Date: May 27, 2009

The death of a temporary employee who was crushed in a stampede of post-Thanksgiving shoppers at a Wal-Mart store could have been prevented, federal officials said Tuesday as they proposed fining the world's largest retailer $7,000 - as much money as it makes in about 18 seconds.

Widow, 89, sues BJ's for age bias in firing

Source: Dan Higgins, Times Union
Date: April 27, 2009

She wasn't just fired. She was shot out of a cannon. The store's manager, Sandy Ryan, shouted to her from the employee area in the back of the store to where Riordan was standing in the front. "Helen, you're fired!" as claimed in court records. "I was humiliated," Riordan said.

Judge Rules That Gristede's Broke Law on Overtime Pay

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
Date: September 2, 2008

A federal judge has ruled that Gristede's violated federal and state laws by failing to pay overtime to hundreds of lower-level managers at its supermarkets. As a result of the decision by Judge Paul A. Crotty of Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday, lawyers for more than 400 current and former Gristede's managers predicted that the company would be forced to pay the plaintiffs $25 million.

Worst of 'Times' unveiled in lawsuit

Source: Scott Shifrel, New York Daily News
Date: August 10, 2008

A lawsuit by a New York Times employee paints a disturbing portrait of a workplace rife with sexual harassment - including an alleged incident of office cubicle masturbation - and age discrimination. Charles Cretella, 57, who has worked for decades creating summaries of Times stories, is fighting back after he says he was falsely charged with sexually harassing a 33-year-old male co-worker.

NY court upholds firing worker over smoking breaks

Source: Associated Press, USA Today
Date: August 8, 2008

A New York appeals court has upheld the firing of a worker who took smoking breaks despite a new policy by her employer. The court shows the woman, paralegal Karen Krindel of Rochester, was fired in November 2006 after 15 months on the job because she didn't comply with a new written policy that banned smoking breaks.

Associate's Sex Discrimination Claims Proceed Against Law Firm

Source: Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal
Date: August 5, 2008

A federal judge in Manhattan has allowed sex discrimination claims to proceed against an intellectual property law firm that fired an associate two days after she complained in an e-mail to partners that the firm's women lawyers were being "relegated to non-partnership track support roles." In a 53-page opinion issued last week, Southern District of New York Judge Kimba M. Wood said Catriona Collins had established a prima facie cases of discrimination and retaliation against her former firm, Cohen Pontani Lieberman & Pavane.

New discrimination lawsuit for Madison Square Garden

Source: Keith Herbert, New York Newsday
Date: July 29, 2008

Madison Square Garden has been hit with another discrimination lawsuit, this one filed by a suite attendant who claims she was passed over for a position serving food to the Knicks and Rangers in their locker rooms while less experienced men were assigned the post.

Construction Workers in Bronx Split $1.23 Million in Back Pay

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
Date: July 22, 2008

Two hundred and eighty-four construction workers in the Bronx will receive a total of $1.23 million in back pay as part of a settlement over unpaid overtime, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday.

Nearly $1 Million Award to Maids in Abuse Case

Source: Associated Press, New York Times
Date: July 12, 2008

A federal judge has awarded almost $1 million in back wages to two Indonesian housekeepers who were virtually enslaved by a wealthy Long Island couple. The judge, Arthur D. Spatt of the Eastern District Court, said on Friday that the maids were entitled to double their unpaid wages because they were abused while working around the clock for the couple, Varsha and Mahender Sabhnani.

Car Service at Issue in Age, Sex Discrimination Claim Against Skadden

Source: Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal
Date: July 8, 2008

Along with summer associate lunches and the occasional country club outing, access to chauffeured Lincolns and Cadillacs is one of the most ubiquitous perks of big law firm life. But the proper use of car service is at the heart of a sex and age discrimination suit currently facing Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Award against Wal-Mart in disability bias case upheld

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, New York Newsday
Date: July 8, 2008

Wal-Mart has lost its bid to overturn a 2005 Long Island jury verdict that found the nation's No. 1 retailer guilty of discrimination against a mentally disabled Centereach (NY) man. Two years ago, a federal jury in Central Islip awarded Patrick Brady $7.5 million in punitive and compensatory damages, which were later reduced to about $1 million because of statutory caps. Wal-Mart appealed the guilty verdict and sought a new trial. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, affirmed the jury's finding of discrimination.

To Hostess, a Dream Restaurant Was a Nightmare

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
Date: July 2, 2008

Martha Nyakim Gatkuoth is a refugee from Ethiopia, 6 feet tall and runway-model slim. Her search for work took her to New York and then to a famed restaurant tucked within Central Park, where she found a job that seemed ideal, with health coverage and a glittering, festive atmosphere. But Ms. Gatkuoth said it became something far different, a place of daily dread where, she said, sexual and racial harassment was rife.

Former official sues NASCAR for sexual, racial harassment

Source: Rachel Shuster, USA Today
Date: June 11, 2008

Mauricia Grant, a former official of NASCAR who traveled to races as a "technical inspector," filed a $250 million lawsuit against the circuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging racial and sexual harassment. In a 40-page filing, Grant, 32, alleges she was terminated in November for complaining about her treatment, which included, she says, NASCAR officials referring to her as "nappy headed Mo," "Mohammed" and "Al Qaeda" and some exposing their penises in her presence.

N.Y. Landmark Pays $2M to Settle Sex Claims

Source: Alice Gomstyn , ABC News
Date: June 3, 2008

One of New York City's most famous restaurants will pay $2.2 million to settle a lawsuit over sexual harassment and racism allegations. Tavern on the Green, the 74-year-old caf? overlooking Manhattan's Central Park, is accused of "severe and pervasive harassment," including one manager's grabbing of an employee's breasts and buttocks and his repeated use of racial slurs and lewd sexual references.

EEOC Settles Sex Bias Case with State Corrections Department for Almost $1 Million

Source: EEOC
Date: May 24, 2008

The New York State Department of Correctional Services will pay nearly $1 million to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the two offices announced today. The EEOC and the United States had charged the Corrections Department with violating federal law by providing inferior benefits to female employees on maternity leave.

Paterson denies firing photographer in 2003 because he was white

Source: Brian Kates, New York Daily News
Date: March 14, 2008

Just as he's about to become the state's first black governor, David Paterson faces allegations he fostered reverse discrimination as state Senate Democratic leader. Paterson is battling a federal suit by a white staff photographer who says he was fired in 2003 so his job could be given to a black man.

Settlement in Bias Suit That Stalled for 37 Years

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
Date: January 16, 2008

A federal judge has approved a $6.2 million settlement for black and Hispanic sheet metal workers in a 37-year-old lawsuit against a union that critics have called one of the city's most notorious for racial discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Tuesday.

Garden Settles Harassment Case for $11.5 Million

Source: Richard Sandomir, New York Times
Date: December 10, 2007

Three days before a federal judge was to hear testimony into Anucha Browne Sanders's claim for compensatory damages against Madison Square Garden, the parties settled the sexual harassment case Monday and ended all appeals. In the settlement, the Garden agreed to pay her $11.5 million, including $4 million in legal fees, said a person with knowledge of the confidential agreement. That is $100,000 less than the punitive damages a jury awarded Browne Sanders in October.

Eatery can be served in gender-bender bias

Source: Jordan Lite, New York Daily News
Date: August 18, 2006

Before his fellow cooks discovered that he was born Erica, Eric Buffong said he was known only as the rising star in their ritzy Westchester restaurant. Now, in a landmark ruling which holds that state law protects transgendered people, a judge says Buffong can go forward with his discrimination lawsuit. New York City's human rights law explicitly covers transgendered people who identify as a sex different from the one they were born. Though the state's version does not specifically mention transgendered people, its law applies to them.

Toyota's sex-harassment lawsuit could set standard

Source: Jayne O'Donnell, Chris Woodyard, USA Today
Date: August 7, 2006

Toyota has settled a $190 million sexual-harassment lawsuit that squeezed out the automaker's top U.S. official. The settlement should get the attention of executives at other international businesses because it resulted in a new policy for reporting harassment allegations against the top executive, as well as changes in Toyota's training and employment procedures. Other companies "will see it and say, 'If Toyota's doing this, it's going to be the industry practice and we need to make sure we're doing whatever everyone else is doing,'" says employment discrimination lawyer Douglas Wigdor.

U.S. tactic on KPMG questioned

Source: Lynnley Browning, New York Times
Date: June 28, 2006

A federal judge ruled yesterday that a tactic used by prosecutors to crack down on corporate misconduct violated the constitutional rights of employees, a decision that may change the way the government pursues white-collar cases. The ruling is the first major criticism from the bench of tactics that federal prosecutors have adopted since a wave of corporate scandals erupted after the collapse of Enron. The issue addressed concerns the advancing of legal fees to employees caught up in criminal investigations. Companies have traditionally paid such costs, and some states' laws and a number of companies' bylaws require it. But an influential 2003 Justice Department document known as the Thompson memorandum has been interpreted by many lawyers to mean that companies under investigation can gain favor with prosecutors if they cut off legal fees.

Verizon paying $49 million in settlement of sex bias case

Source: Bloomberg News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Date: June 6, 2006

Verizon, the No. 2 U.S. phone company, is paying almost $49 million to 12,326 past and present female employees as part of a settlement of a government suit claiming the company discriminated against pregnant women. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached the settlement in 2002 after accusing Verizon's predecessors, Nynex and Bell Atlantic, of denying expectant mothers full pension benefits. The EEOC and Verizon told a New York judge Monday that the company had paid more than $25.3 million to current and former employees. Verizon said it projects paying $23.6 million in future pension benefits. The agency said the amounts, disclosed Monday for the first time, make the case the largest such settlement in a pregnancy-related suit.

Air masks at issue in claims of 9/11 illnesses

Source: Anthony DePalma, New York Times
Date: June 5, 2006

With mounting evidence that exposure to the toxic smoke and ash at ground zero during the nine-month cleanup has made many people sick, attention is now focusing on the role of air-filtering masks, or respirators, that cost less than $50 and could have shielded workers from some of the toxins. Most workers either did not have the masks or did not use them. These respirators are now at the center of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 8,000 firefighters, police officers and private workers who say they were exposed to toxic substances at or near ground zero that have made them sick or may eventually do so. From legal documents presented in the case, a tale emerges of heroic but ineffective efforts to protect workers, with botched opportunities, confused policies and contradictions that failed to ensure their safety.

Air masks at issue in claims of 9/11 illnesses

Source: Anthony DePalma, New York Times
Date: June 5, 2006

With mounting evidence that exposure to the toxic smoke and ash at ground zero during the nine-month cleanup has made many people sick, attention is now focusing on the role of air-filtering masks, or respirators, that cost less than $50 and could have shielded workers from some of the toxins. Most workers either did not have the masks or did not use them. These respirators are now at the center of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 8,000 firefighters, police officers and private workers who say they were exposed to toxic substances at or near ground zero that have made them sick or may eventually do so. From legal documents presented in the case, a tale emerges of heroic but ineffective efforts to protect workers, with botched opportunities, confused policies and contradictions that failed to ensure their safety.

Delphi to present case to toss UAW contract

Source: Dina ElBoghdady, Washington Post
Date: May 9, 2006

When auto parts giant Delphi appears in bankruptcy court this week, it will swing the biggest cudgel it has to wrest significant concessions from workers: a request of the judge to tear up the United Auto Workers union contract. Trying to dissolve union contracts has become the weapon of choice for troubled companies when workers resist cuts in wages and benefits. Struggling airlines recently resorted to the tactic as they sought to trim costs and dig themselves out of bankruptcy protection. If the airline industry is any measure, however, the warring parties often resolve their differences before a labor agreement is ripped up. The threat of scrapping a contract has a way of forcing a meeting of the minds and a settlement out of court.

Court upholds city firings over racial insult at parade

Source: Diane Cardwell, New York Times
Date: April 28, 2006

[New York] City was within its rights to fire a police officer and two firefighters after they appeared in Afro wigs and blackface on a float during a 1998 Labor Day parade in Queens, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday. The decision, which overturned a 2003 ruling that the city had acted improperly, could put an end to an episode that came to symbolize ethnic divisions in the city under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. At issue in the case was whether the city had dismissed the [workers] because it deemed their actions distasteful or because they posed a threat of disruption.

$175M lawsuit against Super Steel alleges discrimination

Source: Michael DeMasi, Business Review (Albany)
Date: April 19, 2006

Nine current and former black employees of Super Steel Schenectady, a locomotive manufacturer in Glenville, N.Y., filed a $175 million federal class action lawsuit Tuesday claiming they have had to endure racial discrimination and hostility that is "deeply imbedded" in the company's culture. The employees contend they endured threats of physical violence and racist taunts. They claim a typical shift requires avoiding the "white" sections of the break areas and using a rest room with racist graffiti. In January, a black employee found a stuffed monkey hanging from a noose and a racist message written inside the door of his locker.

Immigrant advocates hail ruling allowing illegals to sue for job injuries

Source: Leah Rae, Journal News
Date: February 22, 2006

A New York Court of Appeals ruling will bolster the right of undocumented workers to sue for lost wages when they are hurt on the job, local labor attorneys say. Immigration status is not a factor in making such a claim, the state's highest court ruled in yesterday's 5-2 decision. A dissenting opinion argued that, considering the federal immigration violations involved, the court cannot "aid in achieving the purpose of an illegal transaction." But the state Attorney General's Office backed one of the main arguments in the case: that to deny such rights to undocumented workers would only give employers more of a financial incentive to hire them.

UBS cuts deal in overtime lawsuits

Source: Hugh R. Morley, NorthJersey.com
Date: February 9, 2006

UBS AG agreed Wednesday to pay as much as $89 million to thousands of financial advisers and trainees around the country to settle lawsuits that claimed they were entitled to overtime, the company said. The national settlement ends several suits against Switzerland-based UBS--Europe's largest bank--filed by advisers around the country, the company said. The suits, which sought class-action status, claimed that the advisers and trainees worked long hours and were entitled to overtime under federal and state wage-and-hour laws. It is the first such national settlement, following similar state settlements by other financial institutions.

Google wins round in job discrimination lawsuit

Source: Elinor Mills, CNET News.com
Date: February 9, 2006

Christina Elwell filed a lawsuit against Google and her boss last August alleg[ing] she was demoted and then fired in June 2004 after she told [her boss] she had medical issues related to her pregnancy that would prevent her from traveling. Elwell was later rehired but eventually went on disability leave after losing three of the four children with whom she was pregnant. Google asked the court to rule that the case should go to arbitration rather than a public trial, arguing that Elwell agreed to arbitrate disputes with Google when she signed her employment contract. In a ruling dated Jan. 30, the court determined that the arbitration clause in the employment contract should be followed.

Six women at Dresdner file bias suit

Source: Jenny Anderson, New York Times
Date: January 10, 2006

Six women who are senior bankers at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Services have sued the investment bank, contending that they were denied equal bonuses and promotions that went to men with less experience. The complaint also cites instances of lewd behavior toward the women, entertainment of clients at a strip club and repeated examples of scaled-back opportunities for women after they returned from maternity leave. The lawsuit, which was filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, seeks class-action status on behalf of 500 women. The lawsuit seeks $1.4 billion for economic damages, emotional distress, harm to reputation and punitive damages.

Citigroup executive accuses bank of discrimination

Source: Jonathan Stempel, Reuters
Date: October 25, 2005

A senior Citigroup executive has sued the world's largest bank, saying it underpaid him and denied him promotions, and demoted him in retaliation for his complaints about racial and sex discrimination. Ramesh Menon is seeking $38 million in compensatory damages, plus at least $100 million in punitive damages. In his complaint, Menon said Citigroup has since late 1997 "systematically and routinely" underpaid him and passed him over for several promotions because of his race. Menon is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in India and of Indian descent. Citigroup has in the past faced other discrimination allegations.

Ex-Tyco execs get up to 25 years in prison

Source: Samuel Maull, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune
Date: September 19, 2005

Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tyco International, and former Tyco finance chief Mark Swartz were sentenced Monday to up to 25 years in prison for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company in a case that outraged the public with its tales of executive greed and excess. The men, who were immediately ordered into custody, will be eligible for parole after serving eight years and four months.

MStanley in $450m overtime suit

Source: Finance24
Date: September 11, 2005

A former Morgan Stanley stock broker has filed a $450m lawsuit claiming the securities firm failed to properly pay overtime to its brokers. David Andrew Gasman filed the suit seeking class-action status on Friday in the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit claims that Gasman and others similarly situated regularly worked overtime at the firm and weren't compensated at the overtime rate as required by New York state and federal labour laws. The complaint also claims that Morgan Stanley made a number of unlawful deductions from the wages of Gasman and other brokers.

Suit accuses Google of pregnancy bias

Source: Mark Harrington, Newsday
Date: July 26, 2005

Christina Elwell says she had so impressed her bosses at Google that she was promoted to national sales director. But all that changed, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court, after Elwell told her boss several months later she was pregnant with quadruplets and experiencing medical complications. Her suit, which seeks unspecified damages, charges the company with employment discrimination, retaliation, violation of state human rights law and infliction of emotional distress. Pregnancy-related discrimination suits are on the rise. "Women are starting to understand their rights with regard to pregnancy discrimination," said attorney Jason Abelove, an employment law expert.

Ebbers gets 25-year sentence for role in WorldCom fraud

Source: Carrie Johnson, Washington Post
Date: July 14, 2005

A federal judge Wednesday sentenced former WorldCom chief executive Bernard J. Ebbers to 25 years behind bars for his role in the nation's largest accounting fraud, the harshest prison term yet to flow from corporate scandals that rocked the stock market three years ago. The lengthy sentence was the latest move in a long-running government effort to hold business executives accountable for malfeasance that occurred on their watch. The fraud at WorldCom ultimately topped $11 billion and led to the country's biggest bankruptcy filing. Nearly 17,000 employees lost their jobs as a result of the scheme to bury expenses and inflate revenue.

"English only" rule challenged in hospital suit

Source: 13WHAM.com
Date: July 14, 2005

Some Spanish-speaking employees at Highland Hospital claim they were forced to follow an "English Only" rule, or risk losing their jobs. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Highland Hospital and Strong Health claiming it discriminated against these workers allegedly ordering them never to speak Spanish, even during lunch hours or breaks. Highland defended its plan, saying it was developed to respond to complaints from those who do not speak Spanish and felt isolated when others spoke a language they did not understand.

Parks Dept. settles fed bias suit

Source: Austin Fenner, Daily News
Date: June 9, 2005

The [New York] City Parks Department has agreed to let the federal government monitor its promotion practices for three years to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit. Black and Hispanic workers suffered systematic bias at the agency, where officials routinely promoted "whites into upper-level positions by handpicking them, without posting vacancies or following a competitive promotion process," according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney David Kelley. The Parks Department, which admitted no wrongdoing, agreed to fill vacancies in a fair and competitive process by implementing a new policy on posting jobs.

EEOC charges dismissed against Burger King owner

Source: Daniel Wise, New York Law Journal, Law.com
Date: April 22, 2005

A federal judge has rebuffed a bid by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to press a pattern-and-practice claim against the owner of 350 Burger King restaurants in 13 states. The EEOC had compiled statements from 511 women who worked at the fast-food restaurants over an eight-year period, complaining that they had either been directly harassed or subject to a sexually hostile work environment. Northern District of New York Chief Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. found that 333 of the complaints made out potentially viable pattern-and-practice claims under a hostile work environment theory. But that number, when compared with the 90,835 women who worked at the Burger Kings from 1993 to 2001, was not sufficient to support a pattern-and-practice claim.

Wall Streeter wants back in

Source: Jennifer Gould Keil, New York Post
Date: April 10, 2005

Laura Zubulake worked for a demeaning boss, was excluded from client outings and had co-workers who were strip club regulars. But she still can't wait to get back to Wall Street. For Zubulake, who emerged with a $29.3 million victory in her three-year sexual harassment case against UBS, it wasn't about a payout, it was about exposing a hostile work environment. Unlike thousands of other women before her with similar grievances, Zubulake refused to settle the case, which would have forced her to sign a confidentiality agreement and would have allowed UBS to keep their gender-discrimination practices under wraps. Legal and workplace experts say Zubulake's huge payday will likely reverberate throughout the financial community.

UBS ordered to pay $29 million in sex bias lawsuit

Source: Eduardo Porter, New York Times
Date: April 7, 2005

In one of the largest discrimination awards to a single plaintiff on record, UBS, Europe's largest bank, was ordered by a federal jury in New York to pay more than $29 million in damages to a former saleswoman who sued the firm for sex discrimination. After a three-year trial, Laura Zubulake was awarded $20.1 million in punitive damages plus $9.1 million in compensatory damages after the jury decided that the bank mistreated her because she was a woman and then fired her after she complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The verdict against UBS is the latest in a series of legal actions against Wall Street houses and other financial firms for sexual discrimination against women executives.

Telecommuters not exempt from New York tax

Source: Michael Cooper, New York Times
Date: March 30, 2005

Commuters from out of state who take cars, trains and buses to jobs in New York have long grumbled about having to pay New York State income tax. A ruling handed down on Tuesday by the state's highest court found that the growing ranks of telecommuters from out of state must also pay. The Court of Appeals ruled 4 to 3 that a computer programmer for a group of trade unions in Queens who works mostly out of his home in Nashville must pay New York State tax on all his income, not just on part. State officials were pleased because the decision upheld their rule governing the taxation of people who live outside the state.

Jury awards $7.5 million in Wal-Mart discrimination case

Source: Associated Press, Newsday
Date: February 24, 2005

A federal jury has ordered Wal-Mart Stores to pay a Long Island man $7.5 million after ruling that the retail behemoth discriminated against the man because he has cerebral palsy. The jury in U.S. District Court in Central Islip deliberated one day before ruling on Wednesday that Brady was discriminated against when he was transferred. It also found that Brady was asked impermissible pre-employment questions about his disability, said his lawyer, Douglas H. Wigdor. The jury award includes $5 million in punitive damages, which Wigdor said was likely to be reduced to $600,000 since federal law limits the amount that can be awarded for punitive damages. The jury also awarded Mr. Brady $2.5 million in compensatory damages, Wigdor said.

US law firm caught up in race storm

Source: Katherine Griffiths, The Independent
Date: January 23, 2005

One of New York's longest-established law firms helped a corporate client fend off discrimination suits from "nigs, spicks and Jews", according to that client. Proskauer Rose was allegedly "masterful" in its blocking of complaints from black, Jewish and Hispanic workers at Marubeni America (MA). The [allegations came] to light in a separate discrimination case brought against MA by Kevin Long and Ludvic Presto. In documents filed in a Manhattan court last week, the two claim MA discriminated against blacks, non-Oriental minorities and women.

Partner of flight attendant killed in jet crash seeks benefits

Source: Michael Virtanen (AP), Newsday
Date: January 19, 2005

The same-sex partner of a flight attendant killed in a jetliner crash more than three years ago in New York has asked a state appeals court to award him workers' compensation benefits similar to those lawmakers approved for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Attorney Adam Aronson argued before the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court on Wednesday that William Valentine and Joe Lopes had done everything they could to legalize their 21-year relationship before Lopes died in the Nov. 12, 2001, crash of American Airlines Flight 587.

Grasso lawsuit sent to state court

Source: Michael J. Martinez, FindLaw
Date: December 10, 2004

Richard Grasso will have his day in state court, not federal. The former New York Stock Exchange chairman lost his bid to have the lawsuit over his controversial $187.5 million pay package moved from the New York court where it was filed by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. District Court Judge Gerard Lynch ruled Thursday the case was best suited for state court, since Spitzer's case alleges violations of New York law. Spitzer is seeking to take back at least $100 million from Grasso and another $18 million in damages from former NYSE board member Kenneth Langone.

Spitzer sues broker used for workplace insurance

Source: Jenny Anderson, New York Times
Date: November 13, 2004

The New York attorney general's investigation into abuses in the insurance industry escalated yesterday with a lawsuit accusing a California broker of fraudulent practices that led to higher premiums for employees at some of the nation's leading companies. The attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, sued Universal Life Resources, accusing the firm of steering business to insurers like MetLife, Prudential and Unum Provident in exchange for millions of dollars in payments, which were not properly disclosed. The complaint also contends that Universal Life inflated certain fees relating to benefit enrollment materials, ultimately passing that cost onto the client's employees.

MTA bias suit

Source: Jeane MacIntosh, New York Post
Date: November 1, 2004

The MTA allegedly yanked a job offer from an Orthodox Jewish man who wouldn't work on the Sabbath--a move he claims is discriminatory. Brooklynite Harvey Silver, 55, filed a religious-discrimination suit in June, contending he had a new job as an MTA Bridge and Tunnel cop all sewn up--until he refused to sign a waiver agreeing to work shifts during the Jewish Sabbath, which runs from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. The MTA requirement, said Silver's lawyer, Robert Tulchin, "essentially says, 'Religious Jews need not apply.'" Silver's action comes amid a flurry of federal discrimination suits against public agencies.

Emerging bias: 'your family or your career'

Source: Stacy A. Teicher, Christian Science Monitor
Date: October 25, 2004

Elana Back took three months off for the birth of her first child. A few months later, as her tenure review approached, she says [her] supervisor[s] started questioning her commitment to the job. Their reason: She was a new mother. [She filed a] lawsuit after she lost her job. The case hasn't been presented to a jury yet, but a decision in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the suit to go forward has already given it landmark status. By acknowledging that stereotyping about mothers is a form of gender discrimination, it opened a new door for such claims. After decades of legal challenges to the "glass ceiling" in the workplace, this case highlights a more recent battle against what some have dubbed the "maternal wall."

Ex-New York Rangers cheerleader accuses management of sexual harassment

Source: Associated Press, New York Lawyer
Date: October 19, 2004

A former captain of the New York Rangers skating cheerleading squad sued the owner of Madison Square Garden on Monday, saying she was fired after she told fellow cheerleaders she was sexually harassed by an MSG staff member. According to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, MSG managers and supervisors met or took some of the dozen cheerleaders to bars and restaurants and bought alcohol for some underage cheerleaders. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommended in August that MSG have its employees undergo sexual harassment discrimination training and pay [the former cheerleader] $800,000 in damages.

Spitzer in effort to get wages for valets

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
Date: October 8, 2004

There is a secret behind the restroom doors at many of [New York]'s high-end restaurants and clubs: many attendants are not paid any wages--a violation of federal and state law--and often their employers illegally take a sizable share of their tips. Eliot Spitzer, the New York State attorney general, announced that he was suing the city's largest supplier of bathroom attendants. The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, seeks $2.9 million in back pay for about 75 employees, and $1.1 million in damages.

Nonprofit is sued by EEOC

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newday
Date: September 30, 2004

A Queens woman who is an evangelical Christian has sued a West Harlem nonprofit agency, claiming the group denied her a job because of her religion. The Manhattan office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit yesterday on the woman's behalf against Pathways to Housing, which works with the homeless. Should plaintiff Rachel Gordon prevail, she could receive up to $142,000 in back pay and damages, a sizable award against a nonprofit.

Victim of domestic abuse gets city job back

Source: Jennifer Medina, New York Times
Date: September 29, 2004

A State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan has ruled that a woman who was fired from her job as a probation officer with the City Department of Correction must be reinstated. The decision came in the first case using a city law passed in 2000 that protects domestic violence victims from discrimination at work. Although the department "may not have intentionally acted in bad faith" in firing the employee, the result was "exactly the kind of fallout" that the law was intended to prevent, Justice Louis B. York wrote in his decision.

Bias against minority cops costs city $20M

Source: Carl Campanile, New York Post
Date: September 23, 2004

The city has agreed to pay up to $20 million to settle a class-action suit charging that the NYPD discriminated against minority officers in its hiring and employment practices. Under the deal, 1,199 Latino and black officers who filed discrimination claims through last year are eligible for compensation. The federal suit--initiated in 1999 by the Latino Officers Association--alleged that the NYPD subjected Latino and African-American officers to "disparate" disciplinary treatment, a "hostile work environment" and retaliation for filing complaints of discrimination.

Former FBI liaison alleges discrimination

Source: Larry Neumeister, Associated Press, Miami Herald
Date: August 19, 2004

An FBI agent who served as a liaison to seven countries, including Saudi Arabia, before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks filed a lawsuit Thursday saying the agency discriminated against him and undermined his work on the investigation into the attacks. The agent, Wilfred Samuel Rattigan, said the FBI violated his constitutional and civil rights because of his race, national origin and religious beliefs. He is seeking unspecified damages. "This reflects the ongoing legacy of racial discrimination that has roiled the bureau in the past 10 to 15 years," according to the federal lawsuit against the Department of Justice.

'Caregiver' lawsuit tested

Source: Chicago Tribune, Star-Telegram [Texas]
Date: August 16, 2004

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has ruled that a lawsuit should be heard in which an employee claims that she was discriminated against for having children. Elana Back, a school psychologist in New York, is the plaintiff. She says she was denied tenure--despite having "high" performance reviews both before and after having children. She claims that her bosses questioned her "ability to do her job and be a mother." Such accusations are old. But winning the right to be heard on the subject is fairly new. And it has a new name. Joan Williams, a law professor and director of the Program on WorkLife Law [at American University Washington College of Law], calls it "caregiver discrimination."

Eastman Kodak defends diversity record

Source: Associated Press, New York Times
Date: August 2, 2004

A lawsuit claims Eastman Kodak Co.--lauded as a top company for minorities--unfairly distributed raises to women and black workers and required them to waive their right to sue as a condition of receiving pay hikes and promotions. According to the federal discrimination lawsuit filed Friday, Eastman Kodak was more concerned about protecting itself from employee lawsuits than helping about 2,000 workers when it awarded around $13 million in raises to blacks and women in 1999. Executives awarded the pay increases after an internal study found blacks and women had been underpaid for years. But the lawsuit claims that the way Kodak went about awarding the money reflected a pattern of bias and inequality toward blacks.

Melville firm faces sex-harass lawsuit

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday
Date: July 22, 2004

A Melville [New York] benefits-administration company was hit with a federal sexual-harassment lawsuit yesterday alleging that some of its female employees had to endure obscene remarks and inappropriate touching from the company's owner and his son. The New York district office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit against Comprehensive Benefits Consultants in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on behalf of Jean Marie Addeo, a former Comprehensive employee, and Laura Hart, who still works for the company. But EEOC trial lawyer Monique Roberts said the class-action lawsuit could cover up to 10 current and former female employees.

Bias against mothers, then and now

Source: Carol Kleiman, Chicago Tribune
Date: July 20, 2004

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has ruled that a lawsuit should be heard in which an employee claims that she was discriminated against for having children. What's so important about this "maternal discrimination case," as described by Mary Still, program director for the Program on WorkLife Law at American University Washington College of Law, is that the appeals court has ruled that "employers who assume that mothers of young children aren't committed to their jobs are discriminating." The plaintiff says she was denied tenure--despite having "high" performance reviews both before and after having children. She claims that her bosses questioned her "ability to do her job and be a mother."

2 wins for working women

Source: Gail Gibson, Baltimore Sun, Journal Gazette [Indiana]
Date: July 19, 2004

The female workers of Wall Street and Wal-Mart would appear worlds apart. Their shared experience became apparent last week, however, as securities giant Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $54 million to settle a sex-discrimination case. That move came less than a month after a judge ruled a lawsuit against Wal-Mart can proceed as a class action covering about 1.6 million women. The claims in each case are strikingly similar. Both groups contend a pattern existed in which women were paid far less than their male counterparts. They also have recounted tales of bad behavior by male co-workers with a startling sameness.

Morgan Stanley: big bucks for bias

Source: Dan Ackman, Forbes.com
Date: July 13, 2004

Yesterday in New York, Morgan Stanley agreed to pay women in its institutional equity division a total of $54 million, including $12 million to Allison Schieffelin, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit brought by the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging discrimination in promotion and compensation. While $54 million is nothing to Morgan Stanley--it amounts to four days of profit and less than one day's revenue for the bank--it's huge for the EEOC, to say nothing of Schieffelin. The sum in this single case is more than the EEOC has collected in litigation damages in three out of the last four years. In 2002, for instance, the EEOC won a total of $52.8 million, while filing 364 court actions.

Gender, work, and Wall Street

Source: Ron Scherer, Alexandra MacRae, Christian Science Monitor
Date: July 14, 2004

The battle for gender equity in the workplace has moved powerfully into the courtroom. When Morgan Stanley settled a sex discrimination suit Monday, on behalf of 340 women for $54 million, it was the second-largest payment ever in a case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. No women head any major brokerage or investment banking firms. But, despite this image as a male bastion, there are some signs of progress. A survey conducted last fall by Catalyst, a nonprofit that focuses on diversity issues, found that 92 percent of all mid-sized firms incorporate diversity training, compared with 43 percent in 2001. Despite these increases there are still plenty of Wall Street women who feel slighted.

Equality on the Street still an uphill fight

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday
Date: July 14, 2004

Though the $54 million Morgan Stanley sexual-discrimination settlement announced Monday was lauded as a "watershed in safeguarding and promoting the rights of women on Wall Street," experts warn that women will still face an uphill battle in that predominately male culture. But they said the settlement will make that battle easier. Indeed the latest statistics from the Securities Industry Association show that the percentage of women in management positions fall well below their overall representation on Wall Street. Though women accounted for 37 percent of employees in the securities industry in 2003, at the highest management level--executive management--their numbers dropped to 17 percent in 2003 from 21 percent in 2001.

Discrimination on Wall St.? The numbers tell the story

Source: Patrick McGeehan, New York Times
Date: July 14, 2004

During several years of drawn-out litigation over how they treat the women they employ, Wall Street firms have adamantly disputed all contentions that they discriminate--until the time has come to do the math. In a sex discrimination lawsuit that Morgan Stanley settled on Monday, as in those that Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney settled in the late 1990's, executives decided not to go public with their track records of hiring, paying and promoting women. In each case, labor lawyers said, the numbers painted a picture that would have been hard to defend. Data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show that men made up more than two-thirds of the officials and managers in the securities industry in 2002, even higher than the ratio in other industries.

Morgan Stanley settles bias suit with $54 million

Source: Patrick McGeehan, New York Times
Date: July 13, 2004

Morgan Stanley agreed yesterday to pay $54 million to settle a sex discrimination case rather than stand trial on the federal government's accusation that it denied equal pay and promotions to women in a division of its investment bank. The settlement, which could cover as many as 340 women, is the second largest the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached with a company it sued and is the first with a major securities firm. The settlement came after a weekend of negotiating that involved Morgan Stanley's chairman and chief executive, Philip J. Purcell, and the chairwoman of the commission, Cari M. Dominguez.

Wall Street sex-bias case settled

Source: Brooke A. Masters, Washington Post
Date: July 13, 2004

Morgan Stanley agreed Monday to pay $54 million to settle the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's claim that the Wall Street giant systematically underpaid and failed to promote women. The settlement prevented a trial that would have spotlighted Wall Street's continuing difficulties with integrating women into a sometimes crude and overwhelmingly male environment. "We hope this sends a message to other employers on Wall Street to take discrimination complaints very seriously," said Elizabeth Grossman, the EEOC supervising trial attorney in charge of the case. "Discrimination is very much a problem on Wall Street."

Morgan Stanley settles bias case for $54M

Source: Erin McClam, Associated Press, Washington Post
Date: July 12, 2004

Wall Street brokerage Morgan Stanley on Monday settled a sex discrimination suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $54 million. In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged a pattern of discrimination that denied scores of women promotions and gave higher salaries to less productive men. Morgan Stanley is to implement "far-reaching" measures--including agreeing to oversight by an outside monitor--to enhance the role of women in its work force. In addition, a retired federal judge is to oversee a $40 million claims fund for women alleging discrimination at the firm. The settlement also provides $2 million for gender diversity programs.

Broker bias case opening postponed

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday.com
Date: July 7, 2004

A sex discrimination trial against Wall Street brokerage Morgan Stanley was postponed Wednesday just before jury selection was to begin in federal court. A note posted outside the courtroom said the judge delayed the trial so he could "consider and resolve legal objections" related to witnesses in the case. There was no indication that last-minute settlement talks were under way. Other high-profile bias complaints against brokerages have been settled out of court, but talks in the Morgan Stanley case collapsed last year. The EEOC sued Morgan Stanley three years ago, charging it with discriminating against women in pay and promotions. The class action lawsuit covers up to 340 women.

WorldCom, executives settle employees' suit

Source: Christopher Stern, Washington Post
Date: July 7, 2004

Former WorldCom Inc. chief executive Bernard J. Ebbers joined 18 other executives and the company itself in agreeing to a lawsuit settlement that could pay the telecommunications giant's workers as much as $51 million. The preliminary agreement, filed with a New York federal court yesterday, is designed to partly compensate approximately 50,000 employees who lost billions of dollars in their 401(k) retirement plans after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

Wall Street women take suit to court

Source: Brooke A. Masters, Amy Joyce, Washington Post
Date: July 7, 2004

The 340 women who held top positions in Morgan Stanley's institutional equities division include some of Wall Street's highest flyers. Some made millions of dollars a year as executives, saleswomen and administrators. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission goes to court Wednesday to contend that as a class, they were paid less and promoted less often than their male counterparts. And as part of their efforts to prove "a pattern and practice" of discrimination, EEOC lawyers plan to introduce evidence of lewd behavior and sexist comments that could provide a new black eye for an industry struggling to regain investor trust after allegations of biased research and predatory mutual fund trading.

Suit claims racial bias in WSJ ouster

Source: Robert Gearty, Daily News [New York]
Date: July 2, 2004

The Wall Street Journal's first black assistant managing editor sued the newspaper yesterday, charging she was marginalized, then laid off due to race. Carolyn Phillips, 47, is suing the paper for $5 million in Manhattan Federal Court, alleging that her life became a nightmare after she became an editor.

A shy bladder can be a job liability

Source: Samantha Murphy, Court TV, CNN.com
Date: July 5, 2004

After consuming gallons of water to foster a drug test, Captain Joseph Kinneary's 29 years of service in the Merchant Marines ended when he couldn't produce a urine sample under pressure. The 51-year-old Long Islander, who has been out of work since March 4, 2002, filed two lawsuits Thursday against the State of New York and the U.S. Coast Guard claiming discrimination against his uncontrollable social anxiety disorder called paruresis, also known as Shy Bladder Syndrome. Recent studies show that about seven percent of the public--about 17 million people--suffer from the inability to urinate in public or under pressure, according to the International Paruresis Association.

No benefits for woman who left job after claiming harassment

Source: John Caher, New York Law Journal, Law.com
Date: June 15, 2004

A woman who fled her job to escape what she characterized as sexual harassment is not entitled to unemployment benefits because she left on her own volition, an appellate panel in Albany has found. Records show that [the employee] repeatedly complained that someone was intentionally leaving pubic hair on or near the toilet seat in the bathroom near her work space. The employer discussed the issue with co-workers, directed the cleaning staff to be particularly diligent and asked two co-workers to check the rest room before [the employee] arrived at work. However, after [the employee] apparently instigated a public outburst over the issue, the employer gave her written notice that her behavior was inappropriate and that another incident could result in her termination. [The employee], alleging sexual harassment, stopped going to work and filed for unemployment benefits, claiming that she had been fired.

Lawsuit puts spotlight on caregiver discrimination

Source: Sharon Lindstedt, Buffalo News
Date: June 7, 2004

When Elana Back heads to federal court later this year to press her workplace discrimination case, she'll be carrying the banner for working moms who know that being a great employee and a great parent are not mutually exclusive. Back, a Hastings-on-Hudson elementary school psychologist, claims she was derailed from the tenure track and put on the "mommy track" by school officials who feared her dual role of mother and school district employee would conflict. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April that she can sue a school principal and a now-retired personnel director. In its ruling, the Court of Appeals panel said Back's case "strikes at the persistent fault line between work and family ... precisely where sex-based over-generalization has been, and remains strongest."

Buying silence alleged

Source: Bloomberg News, New York Newsday
Date: June 2, 2004

Morgan Stanley may be trying to buy the silence of witnesses in a sex bias case, federal regulators said, citing a $475,000 settlement the firm reached with a woman who filed a discrimination claim. In a letter to the judge, a lawyer for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Morgan Stanley may be using monetary settlements to keep women from testifying. The agency, which enforces U.S. laws against job discrimination, noted a May 12 agreement between Morgan Stanley and an unidentified woman and asked to see if there are others.

Discrimination suit filed vs. Home Depot

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday.com
Date: June 2, 2004

Six black women, mostly from Long Island and Queens, filed a $12-million lawsuit against Home Depot Inc. yesterday, alleging racial and gender discrimination and harassment at the home-improvement chain. The women worked in human resources at various Home Depot stores. Among the wide-ranging allegations in their federal complaint, the women contend that they earned thousands of dollars less than their white and black male counterparts. The women also said that they were rebuffed by upper management after they complained about managers who allegedly made discriminatory and sexually explicit remarks.

City attorney files sex discrimination suit

Source: Curtis L. Taylor, New York Newsday
Date: May 27, 2004

A female staff attorney filed a federal employment discrimination suit Thursday against the City Council, alleging she was denied a raise because she complained about Speaker Gifford Miller's handling of a sexual harassment complaint. The lawyer, whose name is being withheld by Newsday because of the nature of the allegations, accused Councilman Allan Jennings (D-Jamaica) of grabbing her and making unwelcome sexual advances in an August 2002 complaint. The woman later said she took her case to Miller and his top aide, Thomas McMahon, but they forced her to work with Jennings.

Court Rules for N.Y. Over Families of Slain Cops

Source: John Caher, New York Law Journal
Date: May 12, 2004

The families of three New York City police officers killed in the line of duty may not recover against the municipality under a provision creating a right of action when a law enforcement officer is injured due to a defendant's violation of a rule or law, the Court of Appeals held Tuesday. But in upholding a mid-level court and dismissing the survivors' claims, the Court of Appeals made new law. It said for the first time that liability under General Municipal Law ? 205-e can be predicated on a violation of the penal law -- even if there was no conviction. Still, in opening a new avenue for plaintiffs, the court in a ruling by Judge Susan Phillips Read, also erected numerous hurdles that will make it difficult for plaintiffs to prevail.

Retirees Sue to Ensure They'll Get Benefits Out of Solutia Bankruptcy

Source: Jim Suhr (AP), The State
Date: May 7, 2004

Monsanto Co. and Pharmacia Corp. should be forced to cover the estimated $1.3 billion cost of benefits for all Solutia Inc. and some Monsanto retirees and dependents if bankrupt Solutia can't do so, a panel for the retirees argues. Attorneys for the court-appointed retirees' committee planned to protectively sue over the benefits Friday with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Prudence Carter Beatty of New York, who is overseeing St. Louis-based Solutia's legal bid to reach profitability. In seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, Solutia cited its struggles under heavy financial obligations assigned to it when it was spun off by Monsanto as a separate company in 1997. Since then, Solutia was on the hook for retiree benefits, as well as environmental and litigation costs accrued by Monsanto and Pharmacia over a century of manufacturing.

Retirees Sue Monsanto, Pharmacia Over Benefits

Source: Carey Gillam (Reuters), Forbes.com
Date: May 7, 2004

A group of former Monsanto Co. employees filed a lawsuit on Friday against the St. Louis-based agrichemical company, seeking to ensure coverage of an estimated $1.3 billion in benefits to 24,000 retired employees and their families. The suit was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York where Monsanto's former affiliate, chemicals maker Solutia Inc., is attempting to sort through a mountain of debt. The lawsuit also names Solutia as a defendant, as well as Pharmacia Corp., a former Monsanto affiliate that is now a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drug maker. "We believe Monsanto is liable and the concern is the long term... to make sure their benefits stay in place," said David Brown, an attorney with Spencer Fane Britt & Brown, one of the 55 firms representing the plaintiffs.

New York's Damages Limited Under Human Rights Law

Source: John Caher, New York Law Journal
Date: May 5, 2004

New York City cannot be held liable under its Human Rights Law for punitive damages in a sexual harassment lawsuit, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. By unanimous vote, the court said that absent a clear, expressed and specific waiver of sovereign immunity, a plaintiff may not recover punitive damages from the city via the anti-discrimination statute. It remains unclear whether even a clear, expressed and specific waiver would have been constitutional. The court declined to reach a question of whether the city, had it executed such a waiver, could expose itself to punitive damages without violating the state Constitution's ban on gifts of public funds. What is clear is that New York City taxpayers saved $1 million in a case involving a civilian employee of the police department. Krohn v. New York City Police Department involves a woman who sued over sexual harassment in the early 1990s.

Court: No Punitive Damages for Sexual Harassment

Source: Joel Stashenko (AP), Ithaca Journal
Date: May 5, 2004

New York City's human rights law does not allow courts to award punitive damages in sexual harassment cases against the city, the state's highest court ruled Tuesday. The Court of Appeals unanimously said the city is shielded from paying punitive awards, which can sometimes be many times the size of compensatory damages, when courts determine people have been victimized by on-the-job sexual harassment. Punitive damages are intended to deter violators from repeating similar conduct. The state's human rights law also provides immunity for state agencies from punitive damages in sexual harassment and other discrimination cases. Tuesday's ruling came in response to a U.S. Court of Appeals' request that the state's top court interpret whether New York City statutes allowed punitive damages for human rights law violations.

Appeals Court Restores Case Of Mom Who Says She Was Told 'Little Ones' Were Liability

Source: Associated Press, WNBC.com
Date: April 8, 2004

A federal appeals court concluded Wednesday that stereotyping about mothers can qualify as gender discrimination as it ruled in a case in which a school employee says she was told that her job and her "little ones" were incompatible. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in answering what it called an "important question," found that a lawsuit against two administrators responsible for the Hillside Elementary School, in Westchester County's Hastings-on-Hudson Union Free School District, can go to trial. It dismissed the case against the school district and its superintendent, saying evidence seemed insufficient to support liability. The court in Manhattan wrote that the appeal, brought after a lower-court judge had thrown out the case, "strikes at the persistent fault line between work and family -- precisely where sex-based overgeneralization has been and remains strongest."

A Decision Pregnant With Meaning

Source: Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal
Date: April 9, 2004

Stereotyping about the qualities of mothers and their ability to balance work and home is a form of gender discrimination, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. The court said that gender discrimination based on attitudes toward motherhood can be alleged "in the absence of evidence about how an employer treats fathers," in Back v. Hastings on Hudson Free School District, 03-7058. The decision concerned alleged discrimination against Elana Back, a school psychologist at the Hillside Elementary School in New York's Westchester County. She claimed that her superiors launched a campaign to deny her tenure after making several comments about her commitment to the job when she returned to work after having a baby.

Judge Rebukes N.Y. for Denying Whistleblower Ex-Cop's Claim

Source: Tom Perrotta, New York Law Journal
Date: April 2, 2004

A Manhattan judge has rebuked New York City for its challenge to the disability benefits of a former police officer who helped uncover corruption and became a pariah within the New York Police Department. Supreme Court Justice Louis York described the city's arguments as "pitiful." He said it had failed even to consider whether the officer, who was repeatedly harassed for his role in a corruption investigation, deserved a more generous disability package. The ex-officer, Jeffrey W. Baird, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He claims he is eligible for accident disability retirement owing to "an intense campaign of harassment" against him. The Police Department claims his depressive disorder makes him eligible for ordinary disability benefits, but not the "accident" disability benefits he claims since the cause of his disability was not an accident.

Vermont Torts to Govern Suit Against IBM

Source: Tom Perrotta, New York Law Journal
Date: March 31, 2004

A Westchester judge has ruled that a teenager with birth defects can sue IBM in New York under the laws of Vermont, where the young woman's father worked in an IBM factory and allegedly contaminated his pregnant wife with chemicals. The ruling by Supreme Court Justice Joan B. Lefkowitz establishes tort rights for Vermont plaintiffs among those suing IBM in New York over chemicals at its plants in East Fishkill, N.Y., and Burlington, Vt. A New York appeals court ruled earlier that children of fathers who worked in IBM's New York plant cannot sue IBM alleging that they were subjected to toxic chemicals in utero. The children had claimed they came in contact with the chemicals when their fathers had sex with their pregnant mothers. Justice Lefkowitz said that the Vermont plaintiffs will be able to bring such claims because Vermont tort law differs from New York's. More than 200 plaintiffs in New York, California and Minnesota have sued IBM, Union Carbide and other chemical companies over workplace safety in IBM's plants, alleging that they or their unborn children were exposed to harmful chemicals.

Jury in Turmoil in Tyco Case

Source: Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times
Date: March 26, 2004

The jurors in the trial of L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive of Tyco International, and his top lieutenant told the judge in the case yesterday that they may have reached an impasse, saying "the atmosphere in the jury room has turned poisonous." The wording of two scrawled notes the jury sent to the judge at 4 p.m. indicated that one juror may be holding out for acquittal while the 11 others favor conviction on at least some of the 32 charges against the two defendants. The disclosure creates the possibility that the judge could be forced to declare a mistrial if the jurors are not able to reach a consensus. The trial has lasted for six months, and the judge indicated that he would instruct the jury to continue deliberations and try to overcome their differences, as is typical in such cases. In the first note, the jury wrote "that one member has stopped deliberating in good faith," adding, "Said juror believes they are being persecuted." The note continued, "Many incendiary accusations have been exchanged that we believe have compromised the fairness of the process."

Sega, Spherion Settle U.S. Ethnic Bias Case

Source: Reuters, Forbes
Date: March 25, 2004

Video game giant Sega of America Inc. and job placement agency Spherion Corp. agreed on Thursday to pay a total of $600,000 to settle an ethnic bias complaint sparked by the firing of 13 temporary workers of Filipino descent. The lawsuit, filed in 2002 by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, said Sega directed Spherion to dismiss those employees on the basis of their national origin two weeks after another worker complained that Filipinos were receiving preferential treatment in Sega's game-testing department. The EEOC also charged that five friends of the non-Filipino worker who lodged the complaint but was not part of the settlement were fired in retaliation.

Class Status Granted in Bias Suit Against Xerox

Source: Leigh Jones, New York Law Journal
Date: March 24, 2004

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Xerox sales employees alleging that the company assigned them to unprofitable territories and failed to promote them because they are black has received class action status. Eastern District Judge John Gleeson has affirmed a report written by a magistrate judge recommending class action certification to six plaintiffs who claim Xerox discriminated against black sales workers. Judge Gleeson's order advised the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals not to consider Xerox's interlocutory appeal of the class certification should it seek to file one. The ruling in Warren v. Xerox Corp., 01 CV 2909, means that all black Xerox sales employees who worked for the company in the United States from Feb. 1, 1997, to the present or to the date of a judgment are included in the class. While the decision allows the plaintiffs to go forward as a class on injunctive and declaratory claims, it requires them to proceed individually in the damages and remediation phase.

IBM Takes Issue With Employee Pensions

Source: Associated Press, Miami Herald
Date: March 23, 2004

International Business Machines Corp. has told a federal court it would be forced to pay exorbitantly rich benefits under a proposal by employees who are suing the company in a landmark pension case. In a filing Tuesday, IBM urged the court not to approve a formula the employees put forward for making back payments to workers covered by a 1999 retirement plan. "Those formulas would have cost billions of dollars more than IBM was prepared to spend, and they would have severely undercut the company's human resources strategy," IBM said in the filing.

A Lawyer in Tyco Case Sees a Lack of Evidence

Source: Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times
Date: March 9, 2004

Nursing a hoarse voice with sips of water during a closing argument that lasted six hours, the lawyer for the top lieutenant of L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive of Tyco International, challenged the jury to find "even one thimbleful of evidence" that his client helped loot the company of hundreds of millions of dollars. The daylong presentation on behalf of Mark H. Swartz, Tyco's former chief financial officer, repeatedly questioned the prosecution's case and the truth of testimony from many leading witnesses, including Tyco directors and the lawyer David Boies. Mr. Swartz's lawyer, Charles Stillman, sought to portray the prosecutors as overzealous, calling the 34 counts against his client and Mr. Kozlowski "second-guessing, cherry-picking and overreaching." "They threw a lot of charges against the wall, hoping some would stick," he asserted. "Well, it didn't work. A 10-pound slab of clay is just that, a 10-pound slab of clay. Don't confuse volume with substance." Prosecutors at State Supreme Court in Manhattan have charged Mr. Swartz and Mr. Kozlowski with stealing $170 million from the company by hiding details of their pay packages from the board. They are also accused of stealing $430 million by selling Tyco stock after artificially pumping up its price.

Ex-CEO Charged in $11B WorldCom Accounting Scandal

Source: Tom Perrotta, New York Law Journal
Date: March 3, 2004

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft flew to New York Tuesday to announce criminal charges against former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers, one of several company executives accused of presiding over an $11 billion accounting scandal that sent the telecommunications giant into bankruptcy. The afternoon press conference came hours after WorldCom's former chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, pleaded guilty to securities fraud and filing false documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission in an effort to hide WorldCom's enormous expenses and declining profits from investors and the public over a period of almost two years, ending in 2002. Sullivan, 42, who could face 25 years in prison, has agreed to cooperate with the government in its prosecution of Ebbers. As he pleaded guilty before Southern District Judge Barbara S. Jones, Sullivan said he knew what he was doing was wrong and apologized for his actions.

Salvation Army Accused of Discrimination

Source: Larry Neumeister (AP), The Ledger (FL)
Date: February 25, 2004

Current and former Salvation Army employees sued the organization famous for its red Christmas kettles Tuesday, alleging the government-funded group preached religious and sexual intolerance to its staff. The workers accused the Salvation Army of creating a hostile work environment for about 600 employees who provide social services for more than 2,000 children in New York state. The charitable organization required employees to pledge to preach the Gospel, to identify their church affiliation and to authorize their religious leaders to reveal private information to the Salvation Army, according to the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union's New York chapter.

IBM Vows to Appeal Key Pension Ruling

Source: Reuters, MSNBC
Date: February 20, 2004

IBM said on Thursday it would appeal a federal court ruling that it must compensate workers and retirees who were judged to have lost out when it abandoned its traditional pension plan, a ruling that could cost IBM billions of dollars. In the ruling released on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy said 140,000 IBM employees and retirees were entitled to compensation for retirement benefits they lost when IBM shifted to a cash-balance plan from its traditional pension. International Business Machines Corp. and lawyers for the plaintiffs will meet in a hearing on Monday to begin discussions about how to determine the prospective payments to the employees and retirees who were affected by the changes in the pension funds. The amount of that potential compensation is still undecided, IBM spokesman Kendra Collins said. But in court documents filed in December, IBM had said that based on one scenario proposed by the plaintiffs, it could be forced to pay up to $6 billion.

ILR Sued for Alleged Bias, Labor Practices

Source: Brian Tsao, Cornell Daily Sun
Date: February 11, 2004

Two former ILR extension employees filed discrimination complaints with the District Court of the Southern District of New York early last December, sparking a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the University. The complaints accuse Cornell, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and individuals within the state-endowed school for making personnel decisions on the basis of age and gender. In her complaint to the court, former Senior Extension Associate II Peggy Leibowitz '73 claims that the University demoted, and then terminated her from a tenured-position because of her age and gender. Leibowitz is seeking more than $1.9 million due to the full value of her contract and other damages, including pay for months which she worked. Charging the University in a separate claim, former senior extension associate II and director of the ILR extension office in Long Island, Thomas Germano said that members of the University administration harassed him for two and a half years to retire because of his age.

The Martha Trial's Workplace Primer

Source: Kate Hazelwood, Business Week
Date: February 9, 2004

Try as they might, defense attorneys for Martha Stewart and her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, are having a tough time shaking the testimony of the prosecution's star witness, Douglas Faneuil, who was Bacanovic's assistant at Merrill Lynch. The grueling cross-examination is scheduled to resume on Feb. 9 in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where Stewart and Bacanovic are being tried on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Sitting in the courtroom, though, I see another drama unfolding: The testimony at times comes across as almost a primer on what not to do in the modern-day workplace. Chief among the lessons? It's amazing how e-mail gives indiscretions, off-color remarks, and asides -- even those that might seem benign at the moment when written -- a disturbingly long shelf life.

Judge Dismisses Teamsters' Suit Against Carey

Source: Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal
Date: February 4, 2004

A federal judge in Manhattan has thrown out a suit by the Teamsters union against former boss Ronald Carey and several others, ruling that the defendants' embezzlement of union funds did not constitute a "pattern of racketeering activity" under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Southern District Judge Laura Taylor Swain wrote in a decision dated Jan. 30 that the embezzlement and other fraudulent activities at issue were all designed to benefit Carey's 1996 campaign to be re-elected president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and were not "inherently unlawful" in a manner that posed a threat of future criminal activity. The defendants undertook their actions for "purposes of self enrichment, protection of ongoing relationships with the Plaintiff, and depriving IBT and its members of money, the honest services of its officers and employees and the right to have elections conducted fairly," Swain wrote in IBT v. Carey, 2952-00.

City to Pay $26.8 Million to Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Source: Associated Press, Newsday
Date: January 31, 2004

[New York City] has agreed to pay a $26.8 million settlement that puts an end to a federal class-action lawsuit filed by Hispanic police officers in 1999 alleging they faced discrimination on the job. The agreement also calls for the city to implement initiatives aimed at eradicating discrimination in the workplace. The settlement means that the approximately 12,000 black and Hispanic members of the department could be eligible for monetary damages ranging from $3,500 to $400,000, depending on the nature and severity of the discrimination they faced.

N.Y. Panel Certifies Fee Question to State Court

Source: Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal
Date: January 30, 2004

Disparaging remarks by Toys "R" Us employees toward transsexual customers have raised the issue of how New York City's Administrative Code treats attorney fee awards in cases where the jury grants only nominal damages. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has certified several questions for the New York Court of Appeals to decide concerning the standard for determining a reasonable fee award under the code, including whether the prevailing attorneys "served a significant public purpose" in pressing the case. The questions were raised after fees were awarded by Eastern District Judge Charles P. Sifton in McGrath v. Toys "R" Us Inc., 02-9308, a case where three transsexuals prevailed at trial on a claim of discrimination in a public accommodation based on gender or sexual orientation in violation of local law. Although the plaintiffs were awarded $1 in nominal damages, Sifton awarded fees of $193,551 to their attorneys as prevailing parties. He reasoned that the award was justified because the attorneys had been the first to succeed at trial on a public accommodation claim for transsexuals.

Laid-Off Programmers Sue for Aid

Source: Dow Jones/Associated Press, Los Angeles Times
Date: January 29, 2004

Laid-off programmers have filed a lawsuit accusing the Labor Department of illegally denying them job-training benefits available to workers in industries in which jobs have moved overseas. The suit, which seeks class-action status, was filed this month in the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York, said Michael G. Smith, attorney for the plaintiffs. They want a judge to order the department to make laid-off software workers eligible for weekly cash payments and other benefits under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

Employment Agency, Clients Accused of Discrimination

Source: Carolyn Thompson (AP), Newsday
Date: January 27, 2004

An employment agency and two of its business clients were accused in a class-action lawsuit Tuesday of discriminating against black, female, disabled and older employees. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Buffalo-based SPS Temporaries Inc. used code words to supply Jamestown Container Cos. and Whiting Door Manufacturing Corp. with the white and male employees they requested, denying placements to minorities and women in the process. The temp agency also was accused of failing to place pregnant and older workers with employers, as well as those who did not speak English as their primary language, and of illegally screening employees to weed out those with potential medical issues.

Former Head, United Way Face Discrimination Suit

Source: Anthony Farmer, Poughkeepsie Journal
Date: January 28, 2004

The United Way of Dutchess County and its former president are facing a federal discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee who said she was fired because she was pregnant. The suit names James Williamson, the United Way of Dutchess County and the United Way of America as defendants. Saugerties resident Sandra Woodell seeks an unspecified amount of damages for lost income, severe mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, as well as an unspecified amount of punitive damages. The local United Way announced Monday that Williamson stepped down Jan. 16 as its president and chief executive officer. Also Jan. 16, Williamson was served with a copy of the lawsuit. Williamson and United Way officials on Tuesday declined to comment on the suit, other than to deny it had anything to do with his resignation. ''There was no connection at all,'' Williamson said.

New Trial Ordered for Psychiatrist Who Claimed Discrimination

Source: Robin Topping, Newsday
Date: January 19, 2004

A federal judge -- reversing his own ruling -- has scrapped a $2-million jury award and ordered a new trial for a former top psychiatrist who claimed in a suit that he had been fired by Nassau County because he was an Indian immigrant. Dr. Krishna S. Gujavarty, 57, the former acting head of psychiatry and psychology at what was then-Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow, sued the hospital and county in 1999, saying he was passed over for the job of permanent department head because he was an immigrant. A federal jury in 2002 rejected his claim that he was not promoted for discriminatory reasons but found that he was fired in retaliation for a complaint of discrimination he filed with the state and the Nassau Human Rights Commission. But U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis -- in an unusual order responding to the county's effort to set aside the verdict -- ruled on Jan. 13 that he should have permitted that jury to hear testimony from Dr. Anthony Angelo, the center's medical director at the time, about other reasons Gujavarty wasn't promoted.

Garment Workers to Receive $410,000 in Back Wages

Source: HRNext
Date: December 22, 2003

Garment workers in New York will share $410,000 in back wages and damages as part of a settlement of lawsuits brought by the U.S. Department of Labor against garment contractors and manufacturers. In 2002, the department sued Danmar Finishing Corp. and Mario Sweater Contracting Corp., along with Joseph Cartolano, owner of the manufacturers America's Sweater Sport Corp and American Knitwear, Inc., and Danmar and Mario principals, Dragisa Dimitraskovic, Mica Jankovic and Jelena Dimitraskovic. The department alleged alleging numerous violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Ex-Cop Loses Bias Lawsuit

Source: Robert E. Kessler, Newsday
Date: December 23, 2003

A federal jury has thrown out a civil-rights suit brought by a now-retired Suffolk County police deputy inspector alleging that the department and outgoing Commissioner John Gallagher discriminated against him both because he was Jewish and a whistle-blower. After a two-week trial, the seven-member jury in U.S. District Court in Central Islip found last week that there was no merit in retired Deputy Insp. Howard Mandell's claims. He alleged he had been repeatedly passed over for promotion and transferred to less desirable posts because the department's old-boy network was anti-Semitic and resented his talking to news media about departmental problems. Mandell alleged that Gallagher had continued that tradition. The verdict came after eight hours of deliberation in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley.

Yanks Win Dismissal of Gay-Bashing Suit

Source: Associated Press, New York Times
Date: December 23, 2003

The state's highest court ended a case Monday in which a Yankees clubhouse worker accused the team and some of its players of gay bashing and playing cruel practical jokes. The Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal sought by Paul Priore, who sued the Yankees in state Supreme Court in the Bronx in 1998 for $50 million. Priore contended that after he began working for the team as an assistant equipment manager in 1996, several players made anti-gay remarks and played cruel pranks on him because of his sexual orientation. He also claimed he was fired in August 1997 because he was H.I.V. positive.

Harassment Suit Against Professor Can Go Forward

Source: Tamara Loomis, New York Law Journal
Date: December 23, 2003

A professor who repeatedly referred to one of his students as Monica Lewinsky may be liable for sexual harassment, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. In Hayut v. State University of New York, the court found that a political science professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz could be held liable under the civil rights provisions of 42 U.S.C. ?1983 for nicknaming his student "Monica" and making scandalous references to Ms. Lewinsky's affair with then-President Bill Clinton. However, because school administrators acted appropriately in addressing the plaintiff's complaints about the professor's conduct, Circuit Judges Guido Calabresi and Robert Sack ruled that her claims against the school were properly dismissed.

2 Ex-Nassau Officials Sue County

Source: Celeste Hadrick, Newsday
Date: December 19, 2003

Two former high-ranking Nassau officials Thursday filed a $70-million federal whistle-blower lawsuit against County Executive Thomas Suozzi and other top aides, charging they were fired for objecting to the illegal use of federal grant funds. Thomas Williams, Nassau's former civil service director, and Robin Pellegrini, former director of the county's Office of Housing and Intergovernmental Affairs, both contend they were terminated for reporting "mismanagement and illegal practices," including a "sham" bidding process to justify the hiring of politically connected consultants. Instead of ending the illegal practices, Suozzi and his aides fired the two to make it clear to other county employees "that 'whistle-blowing' would not be tolerated and would be met with swift retribution and retaliation," according to the civil rights lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Central Islip. The suit seeks $70 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

English-Only Work Rules on the Rise

Source: Catherine Valenti (ABC News), HispanicBusiness
Date: December 11, 2003

While she was working at cosmetics store Sephora in New York City's Rockefeller Center, Leydis Rodriguez says she was prohibited from speaking Spanish at all times. "We were not allowed to speak our native language on the floor ? and on our lunch break," she says. Rodriguez and four other women all say they were told to speak English on the job, including during their breaks, and that managers frequently mimicked their speech and accents. "I would feel really bad, angry at them, and discriminated [against]," says Mariela Del Rosario, one of the women filing the suit. When the store closed in August of 2002, Rodriguez and two of the women who spoke out about the English-only rule say they were not offered positions anywhere else in the company, and lost their jobs.

Former Professor Loses Discrimination Lawsuit

Source: Anne K. Walters, The Ithacan
Date: December 11, 2003

A judge has ruled in favor of [Ithaca College] in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Carolyn Byerly, a former professor of television-radio. Frederick J. Scullin Jr., chief United States district judge for the Northern district of New York, ruled in favor of the college Nov. 11. Byerly, who primarily taught journalism courses, filed the suit in December 2001 after being denied tenure the previous spring. In her lawsuit, she alleged sex discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination in the tenure process.

Burger King Workers Sue, Claim Racial Discrimination

Source: WBAL Channel
Date: December 3, 2003

More than a dozen fast-food employees in New York are suing Burger King, accusing the chain of racial discrimination. Fourteen Burger King employees filed a lawsuit last week against the fast-food giant for $100 million. A manager of one of the restaurants claims her regional director ordered her to fire all non-Hispanic workers. She said she was told Hispanics were better employees. The manager, Kathleen Mindlin, refused to fire all non-Hispanic workers and said she was fired herself.

Columbia Sued for Discrimination

Source: Melissa Korn, Cornell Daily Sun
Date: November 20, 2003

Randy Raghavendra, a senior management analyst at Columbia University's Office of Institutional Real Estate, filed a class-action lawsuit in July alleging racial discrimination in the second such lawsuit the university has faced in less than nine months. Raghavendra said that he hopes his case helps to publicize "the blatant racial discrimination I and other racial minorities may have suffered or continue to suffer at Columbia University." Raghavendra sent an e-mail to all Ivy League student newspapers on Nov. 12, after an article about the case was published in the Columbia Spectator. The e-mail included a press release and an additional statement to the press outlining the details of his alleged victimization and the pending lawsuit.

Columbia Faces Race Bias Lawsuit

Source: Jay Solomon, Daily Pennsylvanian
Date: November 12, 2003

Columbia University is currently facing its second case for discriminatory hiring and promotion policies in the last nine months. Randy Raghavendra, a senior management analyst in the university's Office of Institutional Real Estate, filed suit against the school this July in New York's Supreme Court. Raghavendra, who describes himself as a "dark-skinned Indian-American man," has accused William Scott, the office's deputy vice president, and Karen Fry, the office's assistant vice president, of not fairly considering him for a promotion because he is not white.

Cosmetics Retailer Is Accused of Discrimination

Source: Susan Saulny, New York Times
Date: November 8, 2003

Even on their breaks and during lunch, the women say, they were told not to speak Spanish, their first language. Their supervisors mimicked their accents and derided their culture, they say, and if they complained about it, they suffered even more. Five women who worked at a Manhattan branch of the national cosmetics retailer Sephora have filed a class action lawsuit in Federal District Court in Manhattan charging the company with violating their civil rights by enforcing an "English only" rule. The women sued for discrimination on the basis of national origin with the help of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and on behalf of Hispanic workers at Sephora, which is based in San Francisco.

Loyalty Rule Pops Up in Options Dispute

Source: Stacey Stowe, New York Times
Date: November 9, 2003

Executives assigned to serve on the boards of outside companies often receive options or other compensation for their work. It is a tidy arrangement that usually receives little scrutiny. The terms of one such arrangement, however, have become the central issue in a dispute between a former executive at a small merchant bank and its partners over his compensation. The case, which has worked its way through the federal courts, has also brought into focus a 19th-century legal principle, the faithless-servant doctrine, that could give employers an important weapon in disputes with their executives. In a ruling in September, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan relied on the doctrine when it ordered the executive at the merchant bank, who received options in exchange for service on two outside boards, to forfeit $4.5 million in salary, benefits and stock.

CU Staffer Files Suit Alleging Race Bias

Source: Telis Demos, Columbia Spectator
Date: October 31, 2003

A Columbia University employee has filed a complaint against the University alleging racial discrimination and unfair employment practices. Randy Raghavendra, a senior management analyst in the University's Office of Institutional Real Estate, filed suit in the New York Supreme Court in July, alleging that two supervisors did not fairly consider him for a promotion because of his "race, color, and national-origin." Raghavendra and the law firm representing him--Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, PC--have characterized their suit as a broader critique of the University's track record in hiring and promoting racial minorities in its administrative departments.

Bank Negligent for Allowing Destruction of E-Mail Evidence

Source: Tamara Loomis, New York Law Journal
Date: October 24, 2003

An investment bank defending against a multimillion-dollar gender discrimination lawsuit was grossly negligent in allowing electronic evidence to be destroyed, but that evidence will not be construed against it, a Manhattan federal judge ruled Wednesday. Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin declined to issue an adverse inference instruction as a sanction against UBS Warburg for the destruction of backup e-mail tapes. If the instruction had been issued, the jury would have been told that it could infer that had the destroyed evidence been available, it would have helped the plaintiff's case. Such an instruction often ends litigation, since it becomes too difficult a hurdle for the party that destroyed the evidence to overcome. The decision, Zubulake v. UBS Warburg, 02 Civ. 1243, is the fourth opinion resolving discovery disputes in the case.

Court Bars Ex-Jet From Suing Team Doctors

Source: Ken Berger, Greenwich Times
Date: October 22, 2003

In a decision that could have far-ranging influence on the way professional athletes seek medical care, a state appeals court yesterday barred former Jets offensive lineman Greg Lotysz from pursuing a malpractice lawsuit against two team doctors. Five justices of the New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division in Manhattan voted unanimously to affirm a lower court's decision that Lotysz is barred from suing the doctors under state workers' compensation law. The law forbids employees from suing their bosses or co-workers over a workplace injury. The three-paragraph decision, filed yesterday and obtained by Newsday, is the latest setback for Lotysz, 29, who tore ligaments in his left knee in a training-camp practice with the Jets in July 2000. He sued team doctors Elliott Hershman and Ken Montgomery, claiming that they failed to properly diagnose and treat post-operative infections in the knee.

Baseball Suit Alleges Anti-Asian Bias

Source: Associated Press, Atlanta Journal Constitution
Date: October 16, 2003

A former Major League Baseball employee accused the sport's business arm of fostering an environment in which anti-Asian hostility thrived. Juri Morioka said in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that the hostilities were evident while she worked for one year as an administrative assistant in baseball's Broadcasting Department. Morioka, a Japanese citizen, said she was told when she was hired in February 2002 that her Japanese language skills and familiarity with the Japanese culture would help baseball's International Department deal with Japanese clients.

Trio Testifies Against Ex-Tyco Bosses

Source: Samuel Maull (Bloomberg News), Salt Lake Tribune
Date: October 9, 2003

Three Tyco employees were the first witnesses Wednesday in the trial of former executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, who are accused of looting the company of $600 million through theft and stock fraud. The employees, Patricia Travis, Tracy Katigbak and Rosalyn Johnson, were asked to describe their duties as custodians of Tyco corporate records. They were also asked to read excerpts from some of those records. Opening statements by attorneys in the case were delivered Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. Prosecutors also questioned the three women about their salaries and bonuses at Tyco, in an apparent effort to contrast the compensation of lower-level company employees with the high pay Kozlowski and Swartz got. From 1998 to 2002, Kozlowski earned more than $300 million as one of the highest-paid chief executives in the United States.

EEOC Sues LI Cell Phone Firm

Source: Associated Press, Newsday
Date: October 1, 2003

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued a Long Island cellular phone company Wednesday on behalf of 21 Hispanic employees who said they were paid far less than Asian workers at the company and then fired for complaining about it. The federal lawsuit against First Wireless Group Inc. of Ronkonkoma says the company dismissed three employees in April 2001, then 17 others in February 2002 for signing a petition protesting the wage differences.

More Than 100 Sign Up for IBM Age Bias Suit

Source: Craig Wolf, Poughkeepsie Journal
Date: October 2, 2003

More than 100 ex-IBMers have signed on with attorneys ready to sue the company over alleged age bias in layoffs, organizers said Wednesday. At least 50 were needed to pay the costs of starting a suit against IBM, lawyers for the group said. No suit has been filed yet, but James Leas, an ex-IBMer, attorney and activist in Vermont, said a filing was expected ''in the very near future."

2nd Circuit Clarifies Attorney Fees Award Standard

Source: Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal
Date: October 2, 2003

The standard for when attorney fees should be awarded to a prevailing party in a civil rights lawsuit has been clarified by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Interpreting U.S. Supreme Court case law on the issue, the 2nd Circuit said a consent decree or judgment on the merits are not the only situations that carry the necessary "judicial imprimatur" in determining whether a party has "prevailed," which is the key to a fee award. The circuit found that fees can be awarded where a court retains jurisdiction over a private settlement agreement. Judge Wilfred Feinberg's decision in Roberson v. Giuliani, 02-7306, involved a lawsuit that challenged how city and state agencies handled applications for food stamps, Medicaid and public assistance benefits.

Plaza Hit With Discrimination Suit

Source: Tania Padgett, New York Newsday
Date: October 1, 2003

A federal discrimination suit announced yesterday accuses managers at the swanky Plaza hotel of cursing its Muslim staff members, calling them "terrorists," blaming them for the Sept. 11 attacks and physically assaulting some of them. The class action lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which said it sees a trend of discrimination against Muslims and Arabs since the attacks. A second suit yesterday was brought against Newsweek and a graphics company used by the magazine. The suit on behalf of 10 Muslim, Arab and South Asian employees at the landmark Fifth Avenue hotel said managers called them "al-Qaida," "Taliban" and "Dumb Muslims. " The employees also were allegedly accused of destroying the World Trade Center.

Home Depot Is Sued Over Firing

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday
Date: September 26, 2003

A federal agency has sued Home Depot, accusing the giant retailer of illegally firing a developmentally disabled worker from its South Setauket store. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Manhattan office announced yesterday that it sued under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The agency alleges that the Atlanta-based retailer failed to accommodate Carolyn Pisani, violating the ADA. The EEOC maintains that Home Depot failed to involve her job coach before it fired her for allegedly not showing up for work.

Woman Can Sue Over 'Lie' to Mother

Source: Tom Perrotta, New York Law Journal
Date: September 25, 2003

A woman born with birth defects can sue IBM and chemical manufacturers for fraud even though she was not even born when the semiconductor manufacturer allegedly lied to her mother about workplace safety, a divided appeals court has found. The majority of a 3-2 panel of the New York Appellate Division, 2nd Department, said it did not matter that the woman herself could not, as a fetus, have possibly relied on allegedly deceptive statements made by IBM. The court said in Ruffing v. Union Carbide Corp., 2001-07927, that under numerous holdings in New York, fraud could exist where a false representation was made to a third party, resulting in an injury to a plaintiff. In this case, the court said, allegations that IBM told the mother that her unborn child would not be harmed by chemicals in its East Fishkill, N.Y., plant was enough to sustain a fraud claim by the child, who is now 22 years old.

Women Sue Huntington Alleging Discrimination

Source: Alfonso A. Castillo, Newsday
Date: September 19, 2003

Six Huntington Parks Department employees filed a $10 million federal lawsuit yesterday, alleging the town discriminated against them because of their gender, according to court documents. The women -- some of whom have worked as administrators for the town for more than 20 years -- said they have been repeatedly passed over for promotions for which they were well qualified and have seen their wages barely budge while five less-qualified male co-workers have been hired at senior positions and higher pay. "It's just outrageous that women who've loyally worked for the town for over 20 years are repeatedly denied raises and denied promotions while men who have less experience are being given higher-paying jobs," said Carle Place attorney Rick Ostrove of the firm of Leeds, Morelli and Brown, which represents the women.

Harassed Hotel Staff Settle Suit

Source: Ben Rand, Democrat and Chronicle (NY)
Date: September 17, 2003

Ten female housekeepers who alleged they were touched against their will and subjected to explicit sexual comments and other harassment while working at a local hotel will receive $625,000. Interstate Hotels & Resorts, the parent company of the Radisson Hotel at 175 Jefferson Road, Henrietta, agreed to pay the fine and make other changes to settle a federal discrimination lawsuit involving the 10 women and girls, some of whom were high school students. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued InterState on behalf of the housekeepers in U.S. District Court in Rochester. The agency, which enforces federal antidiscrimination law, alleged that the harassment made working conditions ?intolerable?? and that the women?s complaints were ignored.

Failure to Preserve E-Mails Brings Criticism From Judge

Source: Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal
Date: August 27, 2003

A Manhattan federal judge has castigated the nation's largest provider of disability insurance, accused in a class action suit of plotting to deny high-cost claims, for failing to take adequate steps to prevent the erasure of e-mails ordered preserved by a Dec. 27 agreement. Policyholders sued Chattanooga, Tenn.-based disability insurer UnumProvident in November for allegedly providing incentives to employees to deny claims. In discovery, the plaintiffs had sought records of the e-mails sent in the three days following the airing of each of two television reports on UnumProvident's alleged plot: a Oct. 13, 2002, broadcast of NBC's "Dateline" and a Nov. 17, 2002, episode of CBS's "60 Minutes." UnumProvident agreed to preserve the e-mails but limited its efforts to taking a "snapshot" of the company's e-mail system between Dec. 20 and Dec. 23, 2002, failing to prevent the erasure of earlier e-mails stored on backup tapes. Southern District Judge Denise Cote found that the company's actions were unintentional but criticized its poor compliance with the Dec. 27 preservation order.

'Mrs. Osama' Taunt Puts Biz in Hot Water

Source: Robert Gearty, NY Daily News
Date: August 20, 2003

Pricey international kitchen designer Poggenpohl cooked up a hostile work environment for its Manhattan showroom manager, who was tormented by a co-worker who tagged her "Mrs. Osama Bin Laden," the feds charged yesterday. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of Azza Elmostehi, a Muslim of Egyptian origin, against the design firm, which has built gleaming steel and wood kitchens at some of the city's ritziest addresses. The suit in Manhattan Federal Court says the top saleswoman in Poggenpohl's E. 58th St. showroom taunted Elmostehi mercilessly, and the company fired the manager in April 2002 after she complained.

EEOC Files Lawsuit Against Monsey Company

Source: Jane Lerner, The Journal News [NY]
Date: August 17, 2003

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a federal lawsuit against American Tack and Hardware, claiming that the Monsey company subjected female workers to "repeated and egregious sexual harassment and retaliation." The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan alleged that two women who filed a complaint with the EEOC ? and other women who stepped forward since ? were sexually harassed by the company's chief financial officer, Richard Frant, and vice president for information technology, John DiStefano. The lawsuit named American Tack and Hardware, which makes home hardware, and its parent company, AmerTac Holdings. "Despite the women's repeated complaints, the harassment not only continued, but the company retaliated against female employees for complaining," the lawsuit alleges.

Supercuts Agrees to Settle Racial Bias Case for $3.5 Million

Source: D.E. L?Ger, Miami Herald
Date: August 14, 2003

A former Supercuts manager, who complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about a plan to reduce the number of black employees at the hair salon chain, paved the way for a $3.5 million settlement announced Wednesday. Richard Quick, of Melbourne, was a regional manager in charge of 76 Supercuts stores in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Puerto Rico when he balked at a Supercuts directive ''to balance the platform'' by trimming the number of black workers employed by the Minneapolis-based chain and was fired, the EEOC said.

Former Editor Drops Discrimination Suit Against New York Post

Source: Erin McClam (AP), Newsday
Date: August 6, 2003

A former editor who claimed New York Post brass forced her out of a job because they wanted a leadership team of Australian and British men has dropped her $8 million discrimination suit against the newspaper. Maralyn Matlick, who rose to Sunday editor in 25 years at the tabloid, said Wednesday she had accepted an undisclosed amount of severance pay in exchange for dropping the suit. "It is now my belief that at no time while I was employed by the Post did the newspaper make any decision concerning my employment that was based on my being a woman or being an American," she said in a statement.

Expecting Mother Forced to Choose Between Parenthood and Livelihood, EEOC Lawsuit Says

Source: EEOC.gov
Date: August 6, 2003

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit in federal district court against John Harvard's Brew House, a restaurant and brewery business operating in nine states with a local branch in Lake Grove, Long Island.

EEOC Obtains a $4.5 Million Settlement With Local 580 Ornamental Iron Workers

Source: EEOC.gov
Date: July 31, 2003

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of $4.5 million with Local 580, Ornamental Iron Workers, regarding an alleged violation of a court order concerning the ratio of apprentices to journeypersons on job sites. Local 580 is the ornamental iron worker construction trade union located in New York City that has jurisdiction of all ornamental iron work performed within the five boroughs of New York City and Westchester County. The EEOC's contempt action, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that, from January 1, 1991, Local 580 failed to adhere to the apprentice to journeyperson ratio required by the court's order. The $4.5 million settlement represents an increase of $3,300,000 to a budget previously allocated for the expansion of Local 580's Apprentice Training Facility.

Market Bagged in Bias Suit

Source: Helen Peterson, NY Daily News
Date: August 1, 2003

The Fairway supermarket in Manhattan failed to live up to its egalitarian name when an Israeli-born woman complained of anti-Semitic harassment from co-workers, according to a lawsuit. "You [expletive] Jew. Go back to your country," one employee allegedly yelled at the woman, Carmit Kaspi, according to the suit filed Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court. Kaspi is suing the upper West Side market for $21 million, charging she was a victim of religious and ethnic discrimination.

Former Employee Files $1.2M Lawsuit Against Westbury Library

Source: Victoria A. Caruso, Westbury Times
Date: July 25, 2003

A notice of claim filed against the Westbury Memorial Public Library last year has since become a full-blown lawsuit. In April, Joan Boes, a resident of Westbury Village and a former library employee, moved forward with a $1.2 million lawsuit against the library, its director, current and past board members, and three employees who were officers of the library's staff association. In February 2002, the Westbury Library changed the part-time cultural program position, which was held by Boes, to full-time in order to meet the growing population and programming needs of the Westbury community. Civil service law required the library to hire from a certified civil service list of people who had passed a test to be eligible for the full-time position. According to library officials, Boes had been asked repeatedly by library administration to take the test so she would be qualified for the full-time job. Boes did not take the exam. Therefore, when the part-time position was abolished, Boes was not eligible for the full-time position. In her lawsuit, obtained by The Westbury Times through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), Boes alleges that the library did not permanently replace her with a full-time cultural program specialist certified by the Nassau County Civil Service Commission.

Judge Orders UBS to Pay to Retrieve E-Mail

Source: New York Times
Date: July 25, 2003

A federal judge ordered UBS yesterday to pay the majority of the costs involved in restoring e-mail evidence sought by a former employee who is accusing the bank of sex discrimination. The decision, from Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, said that as long as plaintiffs could prove the relevance of the e-mail to their case and that the costs involved in restoring them were reasonable, banks could be obliged not only to provide the messages but also assume the expense. She then ordered UBS to produce and pay for a limited portion of the e-mail messages requested by the plaintiff, Laura Zubulake, a former equities trader.

Deficient Benefit Plan Not Enough to Overcome Denial of Benefits

Source: Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal
Date: July 21, 2003

The standard for evaluating the consequences of a deficient benefits plan description under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act has been clarified by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Resolving a split in its district courts, the 2nd Circuit said that a person who is denied benefits must show only that he or she is "likely prejudiced" by a Summary Plan Description (SPD) that inaccurately describes requirements for receiving benefits. "The consequences of an inaccurate SPD must be placed on the employer," Judge Joseph M. McLaughlin said in Burke v. Kodak Retirement Income Plan, 02-9051. "The individual employee is powerless to affect the drafting and less equipped to absorb the financial hardship of the employer's errors."

Union Use of Political Posters in Federal Office Is Ruled Illegal

Source: Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal
Date: July 16, 2003

The federal law barring political activity in government offices also prohibits the display of political posters on designated union bulletin boards, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The appellate court's decision Monday reverses Southern District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein's ruling last October that the hanging of such a poster by New York-based U.S. Postal Service employees during the 2000 presidential election campaign did not constitute political activity and was in any case protected speech under the First Amendment.

Ruling: Let Pregnant Cops Stay on Job

Source: Rick Brand, Newsday
Date: July 11, 2003

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found discriminatory a Suffolk Police Department policy barring pregnant officers from receiving light duty assignments and forcing them to go on leave if they cannot work on patrol. EEOC district director Spencer H. Lewis Jr. ruled in favor of six female officers, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, saying they suffered a "disparate impact" and were "disproportionately affected" by a departmental policy. Adopted in April 2000, the policy banned light duty assignments except for those with line-of-duty injuries.

U.S. Postal Service Sued; Bias Alleged

Source: Gary Craig, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (NY)
Date: July 11, 2003

The Palmyra postmaster is suing the U.S. Postal Service, saying he was discriminated against because he is black. Jerome A. Johnson alleges in a suit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Rochester that he was treated unfairly when he applied last year for the postmaster jobs in Geneva and East Rochester. In fact, the lawsuit notes, Johnson had already been serving in a temporary assignment as the ?officer in charge? of the Geneva post office since September 2001. Johnson?s attorney, Donna Marianetti, says in the lawsuit that he ?was singled out and treated differently than the white individuals?? who applied for the postmaster jobs.

A Pretty Ugly Bias Allegation

Source: Kieran Crowley, New York Post
Date: July 10, 2003

Three former workers at Est?e Lauder on Long Island have filed a $70 million lawsuit against the beauty firm, claiming they were victims of race, disability and gender discrimination - and backed it up with an audio tape they say was an Est?e Lauder supervisor using racist and obscene terms about the workers. Lawyer Frederick Brewington filed the federal discrimination lawsuit on behalf of Dan Russo, an ex-manager who says he wasn't promoted because he has cancer. Brewington also said his clients Yolonda Smith and Wayne Rogers were denied promotions by white supervisors because they are black.

Former Cosmetics Workers File $70 Million Discrimation Suit

Source: Associated Press, Newsday
Date: July 9, 2003

Three former workers for Estee Lauder Corp. have filed a $70 million lawsuit accusing the cosmetics maker of racial, disability and gender discrimination. One of the plaintiffs, a former credit manager for the company in Melville, claims he was denied promotions and later fired because he has advanced cancer and company officials thought he would die. The other two plaintiffs, a black woman and a black man, claim they were denied promotions because of their race. They also claim workers at the Melville office were subjected to pornography.

Judge Rules Parks Department Employees in Bias Suit Qualify for Class Action

Source: Newsday
Date: July 9, 2003

A group of Parks and Recreation Department employees who have accused the agency of bias qualify for class-action status, a federal judge has ruled. Judge Denny Chin, of Manhattan federal court, ruled Monday that the allegations were common to all of the employees "regardless of civil service rank, title, provisional status, or collective bargaining agreement." A group of 11 black and Hispanic Parks Department employees flied the lawsuit in 2001, charging that the agency denied minorities raises and promotions and failed to enforce laws designed to promote equal employment opportunity.

N.Y. Court First to Rule on Telecommuting

Source: John Caher, New York Law Journal
Date: July 3, 2003

In a groundbreaking decision on telecommuting, the New York Court of Appeals Wednesday held that physical -- not virtual -- presence governs eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. The court's 6-0 decision in Allen v. Commissioner of Labor apparently marks the first time any state or federal court has applied to telecommuting the uniform definition of "employment" as it relates to unemployment benefits.

Telecommuter in Florida Loses Case for Benefits

Source: Al Baker, New York Times
Date: July 3, 2003

A woman who used a laptop computer and a phone line to work in Florida for a financial information company on Long Island is ineligible for New York's unemployment benefits, the state's highest court ruled today. In issuing a 6-to-0 decision, the Court of Appeals weighed in on the new legal front of telecommuting. The judges delivered what they called the nation's first interpretation of where employees in the virtual workplace should turn when they lose their jobs. The court ruled that people should seek unemployment benefits from the state where they work, not from the state where their employer is.

Telecommuting Decision

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday
Date: July 3, 2003

Telecommuters beware. New York State's highest court ruled Wednesday that a former Long Island woman who telecommuted from Florida for a New York employer is ineligible for unemployment benefits in this state. The Court of Appeals ruled that Maxine E. Allen had to apply for unemployment benefits from Florida, where she worked as a computer specialist out of her home for Reuters America's Hauppauge office. Reuters is a British news service.

Fla. Telecommuter Can't Get Unemployment

Source: Michael Hill (AP), FindLaw Legal News
Date: July 2, 2003

A telecommuter who worked from Florida for an office in Long Island is ineligible for New York unemployment benefits, the state's highest court ruled Wednesday. In an unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals found that eligibility for benefits depends on where the worker is, not where the employer is. The ruling said no other state or federal court appeared to have tackled the question of who should pay such benefits for interstate telecommuters, whose numbers have soared with improvements in computer technology. In this case, the court said, New York should not pay because Maxine Allen did her work in Florida. Florida already turned her down for benefits.

N.Y. Court Upholds Verdict Reversal After Jury Bias Alleged

Source: Tom Perrotta, New York Law Journal
Date: June 26, 2003

A divided New York appellate panel has reluctantly upheld a rare reversal of a civil verdict for jury misconduct, saying the trial court's judgment should be honored despite its failure to investigate the matter. Ruling 2-1, the Appellate Term, First Department, Tuesday said plaintiff Wing Shung Lam should receive another chance to bring his defamation suit against the owners of Jing Fong Restaurant, Chinatown's largest eatery. Two years ago, a split jury said Lam deserved no compensation despite having been defamed, but a trial judge vacated that verdict after finding that four jurors harassed two others with racial slurs.

Participation in Racist Float Ruled to Be Protected Speech

Source: Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal
Date: June 25, 2003

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the heads of the police and fire department violated the First Amendment when they fired three employees for participating in a racist float during a 1998 Labor Day parade in Broad Channel, Queens, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. Judge John E. Sprizzo said Police Officer Joseph Locurto and firefighters Robert Steiner and Jonathan Walters were punished "in retaliation for engaging in protected speech" after they were fired for being part of the "Black to the Future: Broad Channel 2098" float, an alleged parody of African-American integration into the predominantly white community.

Judge Rules NYC Violated Workers' Rights

Source: Larry Neumeister (AP), FindLaw Legal News
Date: June 25, 2003

The city violated the constitutional rights of two firefighters and a police officer when it fired them for riding on a parade float in blackface in 1998, a judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Judge John E. Sprizzo said the government "may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because a segment of society finds it offensive." Those on the Labor Day float threw watermelon and fried chicken to paradegoers, the city contended. They also made it appear as if one of the men in blackface was being dragged - not long after the highly publicized case of James Byrd Jr., a black man in Texas who was dragged to his death from a pickup truck, city officials said.

Woman Files Suit Against the Wings Club

Source: Brad Foss (AP), Austin American Statesman
Date: June 19, 2003

A former president of Continental Airlines and the current president of North American Airlines are accused of sexually harassing a woman who worked for both men over a two-year period at the Wings Club, a New York-based social organization for aviation professionals. Alison Minton, 37, the former general manager of the Wings Club, alleges in a complaint filed Monday with the Supreme Court of the State of New York that between April 2000 and March 2002 she was pressured to have sex, subjected to sexist comments and ultimately forced out of her job for rebuffing the sexual advances and complaining about discriminatory treatment to superiors. The defendants named in the complaint are the Wings Club, its former vice president, Phil Bakes, 57, and its former president, Dan McKinnon, 69.

WorldCom Suit Will Involve Ex-Exec and Merrill Lynch

Source: David Rovella (Bloomberg News), Arizona Republic
Date: June 19, 2003

Merrill Lynch & Co. and WorldCom's former chief executive, Bernard Ebbers, failed in a bid to dismiss a suit filed last year by employees of the second-largest long-distance company who lost money on pension-plan stock. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York ruled that Merrill, the world's largest securities firm, and Ebbers must stand trial in the suit. The judge said that both may have violated their fiduciary duty to employees who had company pension plans that included WorldCom stock. Merrill and WorldCom, which changed its name to MCI Inc., administered the pension plan.

Former RCC Employee Wins lawsuit

Source: Kari Neering , New York Journal News
Date: June 18, 2003

A former Rockland Community College employee who said she was fired for warning school officials that federal funds were being misused in its Judaic studies program was awarded $1.35 million by a federal jury, 14 years after filing her lawsuit. The jury found last week that Sarah Schmidt, who served as the college's Judaic Studies director in Israel from 1985 until she was terminated in 1987, was wrongly fired as a whistleblower after she shared her concerns about potential academic and financial problems in the now-defunct overseas program.

EEOC Sues LI Pizzeria

Source: Carrie Mason-Draffen, Newsday
Date: June 13, 2003

Several "extremely egregious" complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination leveled by four female employees against a Plainview pizzeria restaurant prompted a federal human-rights agency to sue their former employer yesterday. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on behalf of Barbara Marion, Susan Mullagan, Natalia Puteri and Kim Rico, who all worked as servers at La Piazza. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court in Central Islip. The suit came more than a year and a half after the women filed a complaint with the EEOC, alleging that some male employees, including a manager, made repeated sexual remarks and grabbed and touched them without their permission. One woman said a busboy grabbed her breast. Another said a manager slammed her on the table and pretended to have sex.

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