an update for the week of september 25, 2006
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
What Message is Your Employer Sending?: Talk about work-life balance! It was recently reported that when Chinese schools announced that single-parent teachers would be allowed to keep their jobs in the face of widespread layoffs, 41 teachers at a single school filed for divorce in a week. Could that happen here? Maybe not as blatantly, but it's clear that workers every day make the choice to respond to their employers' cues about what's important to keep your job and get ahead. What messages are being sent in your workplace?
this week in the courts
Chamber of Commerce of the US v. Lockyer  (Ninth Circuit; No. 03-55166, 03-55169)
Decision Date: September 21, 2006
Provisions in a California statute which forbid employers who receive state grant or program funds in excess of $10,000 from using those funds to assist, promote or deter union organizing, do not undermine federal labor policy, are not preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and do not violate the First Amendment.
Decision Date: September 19, 2006
Summary judgment for employer in a suit under Title VII for national origin discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and retaliation is reversed where the plaintiff was able to offer enough direct evidence of discriminatory motivation to create a triable issue.
Phelan v. Cook County  (Seventh Circuit; No. 04-3991)
Decision Date: September 18, 2006
Summary judgment for defendants in a Title VII and 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit alleging sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation is affirmed as to the 1983 claims and the Title VII racial discrimination claim, but reversed for the remaining Title VII claims where: 1) plaintiff provided sufficient circumstantial evidence of discrimination; 2) plaintiff produced sufficient evidence to defeat summary judgment for a hostile work environment claim under a negligence theory for sexual harassment; and 3) a reasonable fact-finder could conclude that plaintiff's termination was an act of retaliation.
Lomack v. City of Newark  (Third Circuit; No. 05-4126)
Decision Date: September 18, 2006
In a challenge to a city's diversity policy under which plaintiffs-firefighters were involuntarily transferred or denied requests to transfer between fire companies, judgment for defendants, a city and officials, is reversed where the city could not constitutionally employ a race-based transfer and assignment policy when any racial imbalance in the companies was not the result of past intentional discrimination by the city.

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