Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

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    HR professionals are all too familiar with the McDonnell-Douglas burden-shifting standard for establishing discrimination from circumstantial evidence. Under the standard, an employee presents a prima facie (minimally sufficient) case that he belongs to a protected class and suffered an adverse action. The employer then presents a legitimate...
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    While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) doesn't list sexual orientation as a protected class, an increasing number of local and state governments are passing laws and ordinances that protect applicants and employees from workplace discrimination and harassment that's based on sexual orientation. So, even though Title VII...

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    Legislative Background Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have already passed legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Over the past several years, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been introduced in nearly every session of Congress in an attempt to broaden federal employment...

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    Retaliation includes any adverse action taken against an employee for filing a complaint, supporting another employee’s complaint, or engagin in other protected actvity under a variety of laws. The most common type of retaliation claim involves an employee who alleges that she was first harassed or discriminated against and later punished...

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    When an employee is harassed because of his religious beliefs, it usually takes one of two forms: hostility or proselytizing. With either scenario, an employer must determine whether the employee is being harassed because of his “sincerely held religious belief.” The question isn't whether the employee’s religion is...

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    Title VII, the federal law that prohibits most workplace harassment and discrimination, covers all private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions that employ 15 or more individuals. In addition to prohibiting discrimination against individuals because of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex, those...

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    Globalization, immigration patterns, and a focus on workplace diversity have combined to create a more religiously diverse workforce. As a result, employers may receive more requests for religious accommodation and must also manage issues like proselytizing by employees in the workplace. Religious accommodation requests and...

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    Title VII also requires employers to "reasonably accommodate" religious beliefs, practices, and observances unless "undue hardship" would result. The Supreme Court has defined the "undue hardship" standard as "more than de minimis" cost or disruption to an employer's business. This is a much lower standard than the undue hardship standard under...

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    In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act (EPA) as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to “prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers.” In general, the EPA applies to most employees for work done for most employers, although there are certain exceptions. The Act prohibits pay...

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    Shortly after becoming pregnant, an employee receives an unwanted transfer to another location. After an extended FMLA leave due to complications with her pregnancy, she is fired. Sounds like an open- and-shut case of discrimination or retaliation, right? Not necessarily. Although the timing was suspicious, courts will always look at the...
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