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 25, 2016

The highest court in Massachusetts decided a sexual harassment case yesterday of some importance. I will review the case focusing on what opened the door to punitive damages here. 

In Gyulakian v. Lexus of Watertown, Inc., after a trial, a jury concluded that that the defendants -- Lexus of Watertown, Inc., and Post Motors, Inc. -- were liable for $40,000 in compensatory damages for emotional...

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...

July 18, 2016

While at one time overt discrimination may have been more common in workplaces -- outright racially hostile or sexually hostile comments -- now discrimination at work often can be more underground and subtle. A recent article in Harvard Business Review reviews some of the social science research on the effects of subtle bias at work.

The authors looked to test the relative effects of subtle a...

February 29, 2016

Courts and lawyers try to grapple with employment discrimination law through a series of frameworks and analytical tools. This leap-day caseBulwer v. Mount Auburn Hospital, 473 Mass. 672 (2016), provides me the opportunity to get into the weeds a little bit as to these frameworks.  

I will try to use as much non-legalese as possible, though invariably, I may lapse into it. Please forgive me in a...

December 16, 2014

Since the drafting of the US Constitution, the intersection of religion, constitutional rights and civil legal obligations has been a source of tension. These issues recently came to a head in an employment case out of Fontbonne Academy in Milton.

Fontbonne, a Catholic high school for girls, unwittingly agreed to hire a gay man, Mr. Barrett, as its food service director. Mr. Barrett was married, and wh...

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