an update for the week of august 11, 2003
Each week, Workplace Week brings you news and commentary on critical issues affecting employees and advocates.

In this edition: some overweight employees face discrimination while others praised for losing weight; age discrimination
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
Overweight Employees: Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement: Two New York Times articles which appeared in the past week covered two employers' radically different solutions to the problem of workplace obesity. One employer refused to hire an obese candidate when his special uniform failed to arrive, while another gives its employees bonuses and extra vacation days for successfully losing weight. Guess which is the best (and non-discriminatory) solution for employers seeking to reduce health care costs?
California Becomes Fourth State to Ban Gender Identity Discrimination: California became the fourth U.S. state to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity this past weekend when Governor Gray Davis signed AB 196. While the move was not unexpected, it will nonetheless be controversial, especially given Gov. Davis' current political predicament.
this week in the courts
Wood v. Crown Redi-Mix, Inc.  (Eighth Circuit; No. 02-3506)
Decision Date: August 7, 2003
Plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie ADA case where there was no causal connection between the major life activity that is limited, (procreation) and the accommodation sought (changes in his duties as a cement truck driver).
Zhang v. Am. Gem Seafoods, Inc.  (Ninth Circuit; No. 01-36130)
Decision Date: August 7, 2003
Jury verdict in an action alleging employment discrimination and breach of contract by corporate defendants was not irreconcilably inconsistent to necessitate vacating judgment for plaintiff; compensatory and punitive damages award on discrimination claim were justified.
Alvarez v. IBP, Inc.  (Ninth Circuit; No. 02-35042/35110)
Decision Date: August 5, 2003
Under the circumstances, an employer is required to compensate meat packing plant employees for time it takes to change into required specialized protective clothing and safety gear.
Morales-Vallellanes v. Potter  (First Circuit; No. 02-2190)
Decision Date: August 4, 2003
The legislative history of Title VII reflects Congress's intent to provide employees victimized by retaliation or discrimination with an additional statutory right of action wholly independent of a collective bargaining agreement. The district court thus erred in concluding that the CBA at issue furnished plaintiff's sole avenue of recourse for his retaliation and discrimination claims.
this week's headlines
what's new at wf
Your Rights: Harassment   New content and links have been added to make this page a comprehensive resource on sexual harassment law.
Say What?  Our "Say What?" feature includes quotations, from both past and present, about workplace issues and current events.
One Percent For Justice
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Protect Your Right to Overtime
Demand Fair Judges!
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