Articles Posted in Race


When employees allege discrimination, they must prove an employer’s discriminatory motive and connect it to a particular adverse employment decision. An adverse action requires evidence of a significant change in employment status, benefits, or pay. Usually, the proof comes in the form of failure to hire, a firing, failure to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or lost pay or benefits.

But, from a federal court decision I read last night, I’ve got a list of eight items that are not adverse enough on which to base a disparate treatment claim. Continue reading


A client embroiled in an employment dispute with a former employee once asked me if we could force the employee into arbitration. So, I asked the client for a copy of the arbitration agreement that the individual had signed.

After an uncomfortably long pause, I went back to drafting the complaint to be filed in court. Continue reading


Last week, the National Labor Relations Board made headlines when it concluded that nondisparagement and confidentiality provisions in severance agreements that businesses give to rank-and-file employees are unlawful.

Yesterday, the Board made headlines again by releasing this Advice Memo in which it concluded that employees who engage in group discussions about issues of race that black employees face at work, including perceived implicit bias work, are protected from retaliation by employers. Continue reading

After completing a 90-day orientation program for newly licensed nurses, a woman was denied a full-time position as a Registered Nurse (RN) at a hospital and, instead, transferred into a lower-paying position at another facility that the same employer operated.

The woman — we’ll call her “Plaintiff” as we usually do here — alleged race discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

A plaintiff asserting a Title VII claim for race discrimination must present a convincing mosaic to the factfinder that race motivated the adverse employment action — in this case, the denial of the full-time RN position.

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Yesterday, I wrote about a man who claimed that his employer retaliated against him by forcing him to resign after he objected to attending workplace training on anti-racism and gender identity.

It was a good story. We employment lawyers have plenty of them. But, perhaps, it wasn’t great.

But what if I told you that the man’s son also worked for the same employer, objected to attending the same training modules, and eventually sued the same employer for race and religious discrimination? Continue reading


Sometimes, when deciding whether to blog about a recent federal court decision, I skip the “Factual Background” section and go right to the “Discussion.” That’s where I usually find the most concise, “meat-and-bones” explanation of what the case is about. Continue reading


During Thanksgiving week, I blogged about a Seventh Circuit decision and what makes a plaintiff alleging discrimination “similarly situated” to another employee outside of the plaintiff’s protected class whom the employer allegedly treated more favorably.

The Seventh Circuit concluded that a white man who was fired for effectively stealing from his employer was comparable to a black man with attendance issues. I told folks outside the Seventh Circuit to disregard this decision because I thought they got it wrong. But I never gave you any examples of cases upon which to rely instead. Well, let’s fix that today. Continue reading

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