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Following are a few reminders from the Massachusetts Appeals Court in an employment discrimination case, Scarlett v. City of Boston, out last week on how a case should be analyzed at summary judgment, particularly where the employer's reasons given for the termination are demonstrated to be false. 

Summary judgment is a critical stage in any civil case. If a judge grants an employer's motion for s...

February 23, 2018

This is a quick post about today's article in Bloomberg Law in which I'm quoted. 

The article seems to have arisen from news that the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) has sought an increase in state funding as a result of the substantial increase in sexual harassment complaints since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. 

I have written about the wave of the #MeToo movement...

July 20, 2017

A new case out of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), the highest state court, looks at whether a woman who had a valid prescription for medical marijuana, but failed her employer's drug test due to it and was fired as a result, could sustain a claim for handicap discrimination. The SJC held she could.

As explained by the SJC: 

[T]he plaintiff, Cristina Barbuto, was offered an entry-level po...

December 22, 2016

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) -- the federal agency responsible for enforcing employment discrimination laws -- recently resolved a case in which a manager said the above to Cassandra Crawford, as the reason she was not promoted and instead her less-qualified male colleague was. 

According to the EEOC -- 

Cassandra Crawford worked in Dimension's patient financial services...

December 20, 2016

"The federal employment discrimination laws depend on the willingness of employees and applicants to challenge discrimination without fear of punishment. Individuals rely on the statutory prohibitions against retaliation, also known as "reprisal," when they complain to an employer about an alleged equal employment opportunity (EEO) violation, provide information as a witness in a company or agency inv...

November 16, 2016

First, it is not uncommon for individuals to develop or sustain a mental health disability over the course of their career. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) notes that "mental illnesses are common in the United States" and that as of 2014, 18.1% of the adult population suffered from a mental illness.

It could be depression, generalized anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder,...

September 28, 2016

Established in 1946, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is tasked with investigating, 

prosecuting, adjudicating 

and resolving cases of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. If you are an individual seeking help from the state about discrimination in the workplace, then the MCAD is the place to turn. 

Below, I will first explain...

August 30, 2016

The Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings, has issued a 2016 "Family Responsibilities Discrimination Litigation Update" regarding employment cases brought by caregivers. The report analyzed 4,400 cases of family responsibilities discrimination to determine recent trends. 

First, an excerpt from the report about what constitutes family responsibilities or caregiver...

August 10, 2016

A recent study published in Harvard Business Review found that "neutral" layoff policies can disproportionately affect women and people of color.

Sociology professors Alexandra Kalev and Frank Dobbin studied 800 U.S. companies. They found that when organizations needed to layoff workers and did so by cutting positions -- as opposed to by evaluating individual workers -- the result was "...

August 1, 2016

Tom Spiggle, author of “You’re Pregnant? You’re Fired: Protecting Mothers, Fathers, and Other Caregivers in the Workplace” and an employment lawyer in Virginia and Tennessee does a nice job reviewing two recent cases on postpartum depression under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in which individuals alleged wrongful termination. He summarizes his takeaways as follows:

The lesson of these two...

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