Gibbs v. Caswell-Massey, et al., Docket No. A-2996-10T4 (App. Div. Oct. 20, 2011) – The Appellate Division held that a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Appeals Tribunal – that the plaintiff was not fired for cause and was eligible for benefits – was a basis to deny summary judgment to the employer on the employee’s disability discrimination claim. Although holding that the Appeal Tribunal decision was not conclusive on the issue of why the employee was terminated, the Appellate Division referred to the Appeals Tribunal as “an exemplar of a rational decision-maker akin to – but obviously not the equivalent of – a reasonable juror” and thus there was a triable question of fact regarding the employer’s motive. The ruling thus raises some concern for employers that opt to challenge unemployment benefits determinations, as an unsuccessful challenge could now potentially impact a subsequent civil action by the employee.
Adverse Employment Action Based on Gender-Related Non-Conforming Behavior and Appearance is Impermissible
Under Title VII, an unlawful employment practice is established when an employee demonstrates that gender is a motivating factor for an adverse employment action. Under that analysis, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Title VII claims of a female hotel desk clerk who was fired after a company decision-maker complained that the employee lacked the pretty and “Midwestern girl” look desirable in a front desk employee.
The California wildfire smoke regulation, an emergency regulation that took effect on July 30, 2019, is scheduled to become permanent on January 28, 2020. In the wake of the wildfires that have emerged throughout California, employers may want to become familiar with the regulation’s requirements.
The District of Columbia may soon join Massachusetts in prohibiting employers from asking job candidates about their prior salary histories. On September 20, 2016, legislation known as the “Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2016” (FWAA), B21-0878, was introduced in the Council of the District of Columbia by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At-Large) and six other councilmembers, and was cosponsored by four other members. (In total, the Council of the District of Columbia consists of 13 members.) According to Grosso, the measure is aimed at preventing new employers from perpetuating the lower levels of pay experienced historically by women and minorities in the District of Columbia.