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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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Toshiba Faces $100 Million Gender Bias Lawsuit

Source: Jonathan Stempel, Reuters
Date: February 1, 2011

A senior human resources manager at Toshiba Corp has filed a $100 million lawsuit accusing a U.S. unit of the Japanese technology company of gender bias against women in pay and promotions.

Foreigners Victims of Abuse in Workplace

Source: Mark Morris, Kansas City Star
Date: November 5, 2010

Foreign workers in the United States on temporary work visas have been targets of fraud and abuse, a federal report concluded this week.

Judge rules against lesbian VA employee

Source: Matthew S. Bajko, Bay Area Reporter
Date: July 12, 2010

The lawsuit highlights what little legal recourse LGBT federal employees have in terms of fighting on-the-job harassment based on their sexual orientation due to Congress' inability, to date, to extend non-discrimination statutes to cover LGBT workers.

Obama's Health Plan Getting Tested In Court

Source: Carrie Johnson, NPR
Date: July 6, 2010

On Thursday, lawyers argued the first case to hit the courts, filed by the attorney general of Virginia, which doesn't want to participate in the new federal health care plan. More than a dozen other state challenges are in the pipeline.

On-the-job blogger awarded back pay

Source: Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle
Date: September 13, 2006

A state employee who was suspended from his job for making unfavorable comments online about a struggling community in rural Virginia has been awarded back pay. While at work in April, he had contributed to an online contest in which bloggers write their own captions for photos. State mediator David J. Latham reviewed Vehrs' suspension and determined that the agency had not shown that Vehrs' blogging affected either his or any other employee's work performance or that it violated any other policy, regulation or guideline.

Labor Dept. alleges hiring bias against women at Goodyear plant

Source: Sue Lindsey, Associated Press, Union-Tribune
Date: June 14, 2006

The U.S. Labor Department has sued Goodyear, alleging hiring discrimination against hundreds of women who sought jobs at [a] plant in the late 1990s. The lawsuit seeks to have Goodyear hire and provide back wages, retroactive seniority and all other employment benefits to the female applicants who were denied employment. The complaint was initiated following a routine review by the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. As a federal contractor, Goodyear is prohibited from employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

Hotel settles language suit with EEOC

Source: Amy Joyce, Washington Post
Date: November 10, 2005

The Sheraton Hotel in Arlington [Virginia] will pay $80,000 to settle a lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a dishwasher who was fired because of [an] English-only rule at the hotel. The case is one of several in which the EEOC has intervened on behalf of Spanish-speaking workers over English fluency policies, which the agency says have become an emerging issue with a growing immigrant population in the United States. Discrimination filings by Hispanics with the EEOC have increased almost 23%, from 6,250 in 1999 to 7,687 in 2004. In the same period, national-origin discrimination filings rose 18%, from 7,108 to 8,361.

Court rejects Gandhi relative's job-discrimination case

Source: Tim McGlone, Virginian-Pilot
Date: January 19, 2005

A federal appeals court has rejected the case of Kanu R. Gandhi, a former Army employee who claimed that his relation to Mahatma Gandhi formed the basis for his dismissal as a research scientist. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Norfolk federal court's ruling that Gandhi's discrimination case was baseless. He claimed that his immediate supervisor criticized his heritage and forced him to resign to make room for a younger scientist. The Army claimed that Gandhi had been failing at his work and that he had been missing deadlines and behaving erratically. Gandhi is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, the famed Indian political and spiritual leader. He worked for the Army for nearly 30 years developing safer, more effective weaponry.

EEOC sues Virginia hotel over English fluency policy

Source: Amy Joyce, Washington Post
Date: October 6, 2004

A federal agency filed a lawsuit against the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington yesterday, claiming the hotel discriminated against a former dishwasher by failing to rehire him because he does not speak fluent English. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled a similar national-origin-discrimination lawsuit last year with Colorado Central Station Casino Inc. for $1.5 million. According to EEOC policy, a fluency requirement is permissible in workplaces only if needed "for the effective performance of the position for which it is imposed." Charges filed with the EEOC by Hispanic employees nationwide are up 23 percent since 1999.

Employee accuses Kmart of age discrimination

Source: Chris Kahn, Associated Press, Free Lance-Star [Virginia]
Date: July 9, 2004

A Kmart employee [in Virginia] is suing the retail giant for age discrimination, alleging that mostly older female workers were demoted in her store as the company downsized and forced the manager to trim staff hours. Doris Andrezyski, 53, contends that she is one of 12 women who lost medical benefits and vacation time when the store reduced her to part-time status in February, according to a lawsuit filed this week in federal court.

Lockheed Martin bias suit gets Supreme Court inquiry

Source: Bloomberg News, Dallas Morning News
Date: June 28, 2004

A fired worker is trying to revive her claim that Lockheed Martin dismissed her because of age and sex discrimination. The woman isn't accusing the officials who fired her of bias. Instead, she says their decision was based on negative reports from a safety inspector who called her a "damn woman" who needed "to go home and retire." A federal appeals court said the company can't be sued over a firing initiated by a non-supervisor who had a "substantial influence" but didn't make the actual firing decision. The appeals court ruling "effectively legalizes intentional discrimination" in all but "the very last stage" of firing decisions that involve more than one company official, lawyers for Ethel Louise Hill said in court papers filed in Washington.

Worker files discrimination lawsuit

Source: Jen McCaffery, Roanoke Times [Virginia]
Date: June 3, 2004

Former Roanoke City Council candidate Angela Norman has sued Roanoke for discrimination and retaliation. Norman, who has worked for the city for almost 28 years, claims in a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday that she was twice passed over for promotions. She also claims that she was transferred from the human resources department after she complained publicly about the city's hiring practices.

Girl Scouts, Ex-Employee Settle Suit Alleging Age Discrimination

Source: Associated Press, Daily Press (VA)
Date: April 20, 2004

The Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council has reached a settlement with a former employee who claimed she was fired because of her age. Barbara Smith had worked for the Girl Scouts for more than 21 years when she was replaced by a younger employee, according to a lawsuit she filed in federal court in 2002 when she was in her mid-50s. The parties in the case settled for $175,000, said attorney Terry Grimes, who represented Smith. While the Girl Scouts settled the case, the organization maintained that Smith was not discriminated against, according to a statement released by Jennifer Pfister, director of communications for the Girl Scout council.

Whistle-Blower Wins Protection Under Sarbanes-Oxley

Source: AccountingWEB.com
Date: February 3, 2004

An administrative law judge has ordered that a former CFO be rehired, with back pay, in a decision that is considered the first related to whistle-blower protections promised by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The case did not play out on Wall Street or in tony corporate boardrooms, but in Floyd, Virginia, home to 432 residents and the headquarters of Cardinal Bankshares Corp. The whistle-blower, David Welch, was fired as chief financial officer of Cardinal Bankshares Corp. in October 2002 after he expressed concerns about its financial reporting, alleged insider trading and internal controls. He then filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Bias Alleged at Capital One

Source: Carol Hazard, Times Dispatch
Date: December 4, 2003

Capital One Financial Corp. is under fire again for age discrimination. A second lawsuit alleging unfair treatment of people age 40 and older has been filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond. Five former employees, ranging in age from 40 to 62, contend the company favored young employees in an effort to reduce staff by as much as 10 percent. They say a disproportionately high number of older employees were fired. The plaintiffs were terminated for purported poor performance, although they had met or exceeded expectations in previous job appraisals, according to the lawsuit.

Can Cooley Godward Avoid Blame in Girl's Death?

Source: Siobhan Roth, Legal Times
Date: September 10, 2003

A girl is dead. And the civil trial against Jane Wagner, the driver who hit her, has come down to this: Was Wagner a lawyer or a client at the moment her car struck 15-year-old Naeun Yoon? Next week, a Loudoun County, Va., jury will be asked to answer that question. And if the jurors find that Wagner was acting as a lawyer -- speaking to a client on her cell phone -- they'll have to decide whether her law firm shares the blame. Wagner and her former firm, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cooley Godward, face the prospect of sharing liability for the teen's death and for the $25 million Naeun's father, Young Ki Yoon, has demanded in compensation.

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.

Hidden Video Camera in Restroom Leads to Sexual-Harassment Suit

Source: Matthew Roy, The Virginian-Pilot
Date: July 23, 2003

A woman claims she was secretly videotaped in a workplace restroom and faced on-the-job repercussions after she reported the hidden camera to police. Angela M. Sanderson filed a sexual-harassment suit in U.S. District Court last week. She said she spotted a camera in the ceiling of a restroom at Domes Audio Video Environments, an audio-and-video store on Volvo Parkway, in June 2002. She reported the camera to Jeff Whedbee, identified in her suit as Domes' vice president and principal stockholder. He said Sanderson was ``pulling his leg'' and took no action, the suit says. She called police. Police found a camera in the ceiling. A videotape in it showed Sanderson and other employees "while they were taking care of their personal needs'' in the restroom, the suit states.

Judge Drops Discrimination Suit Against Norfolk State

Source: Pilot Online
Date: July 11, 2003

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a discrimination lawsuit against Norfolk State University that was brought by a former professor who claims he was fired because of his Muslim beliefs. The judge upheld the school's findings that the professor was fired for sexually harassing at least one student. The former math professor, Jamshid Farshidi, sued the school earlier this year for $17.6 million. He taught mathematics at Norfolk State from Aug. 17, 1999, until he was terminated on June 7, 2002.

Alcoa Settles Lawsuit with Former Employee of Richmond, Va., Division

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, Chemistry.org
Date: June 17, 2003

A lawsuit filed by the federal government's job-discrimination watchdog agency three years ago against Reynolds Metals Co. and a local union has been settled. An attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said yesterday that Reynolds Metals agreed to pay $75,000 to a former employee to settle the discrimination suit without admitting wrongdoing.

Agreement Reached in Age-Discrimination Suit Against Capital One

Source: Associated Press, Daily Press (VA)
Date: June 12, 2003

Capital One Financial Corp. and a group of its former employees said Thursday they had reached an out-of-court settlement in an age-discrimination lawsuit filed by the employees against the credit card company. As many as 60 former Capital One employes age 40 and older alleged that the McLean-based company instituted a plan of forced separations that was unfair to older employees. The plaintiffs alleged they were fired because they were considered too old for the company and the youth culture it promoted.

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