Articles Posted in Sex


Imagine a business that gives its employees two days off each week. There’s nothing abnormal about that.

However, the company uses a sex-based policy to determine which two days an employee can pick. Only men can select full weekends off—women cannot. Instead, female employees can pick either two weekdays off or one weekend day plus one weekday; they never get an entire weekend off.

Is that discriminatory? Yes, But does this system violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it unlawful to discriminate at work based on sex? Continue reading


When most people think of federal anti-discrimination laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, they associate them with employees suing employers for things like discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environments.

But Title VII covers more than just employers.

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For every unicorn $25.6 million jury verdict you may read about online, thousands of discrimination cases fall well short of that mark. Way more never have a shot at making it to trial. And some don’t even have sufficient facts on the face of the complaint, which, if true, would establish a cause of action. They get dismissed right away.

Just like the case I have for you today.

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Last week, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires an employer that denies a religious accommodation to show that the burden of granting an accommodation would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business. The next day, the Supreme Court concluded in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis that the First Amendment superseded a state’s anti-discrimination law which would have forced a website designer who does not believe in same-sex marriage to create wedding websites for gay couples.

Since then, I’ve seen folks asking whether employees with sincerely-held religious beliefs about same-sex marriage can get a religious accommodation from their employer to refuse to work with a gay coworker? Continue reading


Last week, the Supreme Court made it more difficult for employers to establish that an employee’s request for a religious accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 creates an undue hardship.

But there’s much more to Title VII than just religious accommodations. And the Supreme Court isn’t done with the statute yet. Last week, it agreed to determine whether Title VII prohibits discrimination in transfer decisions absent a separate court determination that the transfer decision caused a significant disadvantage. Continue reading


At a workplace in Nevada, “sexually graphic, violently misogynistic” music from artists like Eminem and Too $hort “blasted from commercial-strength speakers placed throughout the warehouse, the music overpowered operational background noise and was nearly impossible to escape.” Employees complained about it “almost daily.” But management brushed those complaints aside and defended the music as motivational. This went on for almost two years.

Then eight former employees sued. They claimed that routinely playing “sexually graphic, violently misogynistic” music throughout its warehouse created a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Continue reading


So when the plaintiff in this federal court decision I read last night cited as evidence of her employer’s heterosexual animus that her gay coworker received a cake and party by gay supervisors on his 30th work anniversary, whereas she did not receive cake or party for the same occasion, my Spidey senses were really tingling. Continue reading

noun-rubber-band-15286-1024x1024I’ve seen weaker lawsuits. But let me explain why the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed that asking a female colleague to babysit, once hitting her posterior with a rubber band, and even failing to use her proper title is not enough to create a hostile work environment based on gender. Continue reading


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

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