an update for the week of march 14, 2005
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
For Once, An ADA Case That Inspires Instead of Depresses: Following employment trends, and especially court cases, can be mighty depressing work. More often than not, the law's limitations in helping ordinary citizens are all too apparent, especially when coupled with an increasingly conservative judiciary that favors employers at seemingly every turn. And if you follow developments under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you know that the news is even more depressing when compared to other employment developments. Once in a while, however, a case comes along that, to employ a perhaps trite cliche, makes your heart sing. Emory v. AstraZeneca, recently decided by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, is one of those cases that should remind everyone who fights for the rights of employees, as a worker or an advocate, why they do what they do.
Is Corporate America Finally Starting to Get It? Or Will They Miss the Point?: There were a lot of people stunned by this week's announcement by Boeing that its CEO, Harry Stonecipher, was being given the boot in response to the disclosure of his affair with a fellow Boeing employee. Those used to the usual paradigm, where the less powerful subordinate (generally a woman) is considered more expendable, may be shocked that Boeing would sacrifice the CEO specifically brought in to turn the company around and overcome its recent public missteps.
this week in the courts
Emory v. AstraZeneca Pharm.  (Third Circuit; No. 03-4751)
Decision Date: March 11, 2005
In a disability discrimination suit, summary judgment against plaintiff is reversed where he has established a genuine issue of fact as to whether he is disabled in the major life activities of performing manual tasks and learning.
Clark v. UPS  (Sixth Circuit; No. 03-6393)
Decision Date: March 9, 2005
In a sexual harassment suit, summary judgment in favor of defendant-employer is reversed where plaintiff's allegations present a close case of whether her work environment was hostile.
Walker v. Ryan's Family Steak Houses, Inc.  (Seventh Circuit; No. 03-6438)
Decision Date: March 9, 2005
In an employment dispute, the district court properly determined that plaintiffs' arbitration agreements are unenforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act since they do not allow effective vindication of their Fair Labor Standards Act claims.
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