Thursday, March 26, 2015

Racial Preference of Patient Not a Defense to Discrimination

Plaintiff, an African-American female, filed a claim against Pals of Pasadena Hospital alleging violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 for intentional racial discrimination. In August 2013, an elderly Hispanic female was admitted to the hospital after being mugged by an African-American male. At the request of patient’s family, the hospital directed Plaintiff that she could not care for the patient because of Plaintiff’s race. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida Tampa Division ruled in favor of the Plaintiff, and concluded that the hospital prevented the Plaintiff from performing her job because she is an African-American. The hospital argued that the Plaintiff was not prevented to do her job on the basis of any “racial animus or hostility.” The court refused to accept this argument and explained that the hospital still discriminated against the Plaintiff based on her race. Dysart v. Palms of Pasadena Hospital, LP, 2015.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Protection of Religious Beliefs in Workplace

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against any individual because of such individual’s religion in the workplace. Under Title VII, “religion” encompasses all aspects of religious observance, practice and belief. 42 U.S.C. §2000e(j). An employer is required to accommodate an employee based on religion unless the employer can show that it cannot reasonably accommodate the employee’s practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the business. For example, Courts have held that an employer’s refusal to allow an employee to wear a khimar is not discriminatory under Title VII. A khimar could be safety hazard to other employees because it could be used to smuggle weapons and contraband, thus placing an undue hardship on the employer. EEOC v. The Geo Group, 616 F.3d 265 (3d Cir. 2010).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Disciplinary Action including False Statements was not Adverse Action

Patricia Wagner left her job after receiving a written reprimand, including false statements, from the sheriff. Wagner sued the sheriff under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging she suffered an adverse employment action in retaliation of her protected speech. On appeal, The United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit concluded that Wagner could not prove her prima facie case of retaliation. Further, the Eight Circuit explained “a reprimand is an adverse employment action only when the employer uses it as a basis for changing the terms or conditions of the employee’s job for the worse.” Wagner left her job on her own and thus, did not suffer a termination, cut in pay or benefits, or change in job duties or responsibilities. Wagner v. Campbell, 2015.