an update for the week of march 28, 2005
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
Here's a Court That Gets It: Those whose lives are considered to be out of the mainstream, which seems to be more homogeneous by the minute these days, can find it as much of a challenge to educate the judicial system as it is to educate everyone else around them. They may not have much positive to say about the supposed qualities of judges to be learned, objective and fair. Every once in a while, however, a case comes along that demonstrates just how far we've traveled, when you can read the opinion and say that the court "gets it." In Barnes v. City of Cincinnati, a case involving a transgendered cop suing her employer, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals demonstrates an understanding of gender stereotyping and transgendered issues that is unfortunately all too uncommon in the judicial system.
Gone Today, and Yesterday Never Was: We all know of so many ways that employers can stack the deck against employees, but now employers have a new tool in their arsenal, courtesy of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Now, unless an employee is a member of a union, he or she must face an employer alone, rather than being allowed to have a co-worker present as a witness during a meeting with the employer which could lead to disciplinary action. Given that it is proving increasingly difficult to make any dent in the number of American workers, 106 million, who are not members of a union, this decision makes it even more likely that employers will exercise their ability to terminate employees at will.
this week in the courts
Barnes v. City of Cincinnati  (Sixth Circuit; No. 03-4110, 04-3320)
Decision Date: March 22, 2005
In a sexual discrimination suit, a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff is affirmed where he produced sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that defendant-City intentionally discriminated against him because of his failure to conform to sex stereotypes.
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