an update for the week of february 5, 2007
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
The Underrated Importance of Fraternizing: This past week, the DC Court of Appeals upheld the ability of workers to fraternize. It's a rather quaint word -- fraternize -- and you might even be forgiven for thinking it has something to do with the rowdy behavior in which some college-age men engage. But actually, it's something that can -- and should -- be engaged in by everyone old enough to work: talking to your fellow employees about your workplace conditions, and how they can be made better. Some employers might be threatened by that, but perhaps they should be, if the possibility of employees sharing information has the potential to scare them so much. And the ability to have a tasty beverage and develop stronger social relationships with your coworkers while you're doing it isn't half bad either.
this week in the courts
Dukes v. Wal-Mart, Inc. ?(Ninth Circuit; No. 04-16688, 04-16720)
Decision Date: February 6, 2007
In a class action suit by women employees against Wal-Mart alleging sexual discrimination under Title VII, certification of plaintiffs' class with minor modifications is affirmed where there was no abuse of discretion in a conclusion that it would be better to handle this case as a class action instead of clogging the federal courts with innumerable individual suits litigating the same issues repeatedly. [Sign-in required.]
Allen v. Tobacco Superstore, Inc. ?(Eighth Circuit; No. 05-3414/3884)
Decision Date: February 2, 2007
In an action brought under Title VII and other civil rights statutes alleging plaintiff's employer failed to promote her based on race and in retaliation for filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, rulings and awards in her favor are affirmed in part, but reversed in part where the district court erred in granting punitive damages and it made mathematical errors in calculating plaintiff's back pay. [Sign-in required.]
Renner v. Harsco ?(Tenth Circuit; No. 05-4201, 05-4216)
Decision Date: January 31, 2007
An award pursuant to a jury verdict for plaintiff in a Title VII action against her employer, and a decision vacating the punitive portion of her award, are affirmed where: 1) denial of defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law on Title VII liability was proper as plaintiff set forth ample evidence to establish the elements of her hostile work environment claim; 2) plaintiff did not submit sufficient evidence that the company, as opposed to its managerial employees, failed to make good-faith efforts to comply with Title VII; and 3) a ruling excluding evidence of plaintiff's alleged fraud was proper. [Sign-in required.]
The Good, the Bad, and Wal-Mart
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