Tag Archives: Title VII

NESTLE Corporation Faces Title VII Lawsuit for Harassment of Gay Employee

NESTLE Corporation Faces Title VII Lawsuit for Harassment of Gay Employee

Nestle Waters, a division of the Nestle Global Corporation is the latest employer to face a sexual harassment lawsuit in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to a complaint filed in the matter of Mateo v. Nestle Waters North America, Inc., a gay employee of the bottled water company alleges he was the victim of a hostile work environment, discrimination, retaliation, and the threat of physical harm at a Nestle Waters distribution facility.

The employee, states that shortly after beginning work at the distribution facility, a supervisor and co-workers engaged in harassing behavior that included making anti-gay comments in his presence, touching his nipples, threatening physical violence with a knife, inviting the employee to engage in sexual relations, and calling him offensive names in the presence of a least one supervisor. The employee reported the alleged harassment to Nestle Human Resources in the summer of 2012 but no investigation took place.

claimed that the physical altercations was instigated by the plaintiff (although it was documented that the co-worker used anti-gay language), Nestle terminated the gay employee while his co-worker retained his position. Nestle alleges that following the termination, they discovered that the employee had omitted or misrepresented pertinent information on his employment application, including that he was let go by previous employers on the basis of poor performance or conduct. The employee subsequently filed a federal lawsuit claiming violations of Title VII and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, based on sexual orientation discrimination, sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, and retaliation.

he New Jersey federal district court recently denied Nestle’s motion for summary judgment on the hostile work environment, sex discrimination, and retaliation counts, allowing the employee to go forward with these claims. With respect to the hostile work environment claims, the court held that a reasonable jury could conclude the employee suffered “severe and pervasive” harassment.

Nestle’s argues that the employee was unable to demonstrate discrimination and that his termination resulted from his physical altercation with his co-workers was also rejected by the court. The court suggested Nestle’s stated reason for firing the employee could be a pretext as other non-gay employees were not fired for similar behavior.

The lawsiut will move forward and be heard possibly later this year.

To read the opinion in Mateo v. Nestle Waters North America, Inc., click here.

 

Jeff Sessions and the DOJ Set To Reject LGBT Workplace Protections Under Title VII

 

According to sources from the Washington Blade, Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department intends to file a friend-of-the-court brief that would affirm the view of the three-judge panel on the Second Circuit who  in April determined Title VII doesn’t prohibit anti-gay discrimination in the case of Zarda v. Altitude Express which alleges  Donald Zarda, who has since passed away  was fired from his job in 2010 for being gay.

Such a brief would reverse a position under former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder asserting discrimination on the basis of gender identity is prohibited under Title VII. In a 2014 memo, Holder wrote the Justice Department will no longer assert Title VII’s prohibition on gender discrimination “does not encompass gender identity per se (including transgender discrimination).”

The current case is under review at the request of Lambda Legal has agreed to reconsider the ruling “en banc,” or before the full court.

James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, states that filing such a brief would be going out of its way to undermine LGBT rights.

“This would be a gratuitous and extraordinary attack on LGBT people’s civil rights,” Esseks said. “DOJ would be reaching out to offer its opinion on these issues, since they are not a party to this case. That’s not championing LGBT people, it’s working affirmatively to expose us to discrimination. But fortunately, whether the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT people is ultimately a question for the courts to resolve, and not for the attorney general. We are confident that the courts will come to the right decision here.”

Even though the Justice Department brief would be restricted to an interpretation of law related to employment, it could have implications for other federal laws barring sex discrimination in housing and education and seems to be at odds with the position of the Education Department.

If you think this is not an all out war against the LGBT community.  Think again.

Federal Judge Rules That Gay Discrimination Violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Federal Judge Rules That LGB Discrimination Violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

 

A federal judge has ruled that discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of illegal gender stereotyping, rejecting a Pennsylvania medical clinic’s bid to dismiss one of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s first lawsuits on behalf of a gay worker.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon in Pittsburgh on Friday said shifting social norms, including the legalization of gay marriage nationwide, had made it increasingly difficult to justify depriving gay employees of the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The employer, Scott Medical Health Center, argued that Dale Baxley’s case, taken up by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, should be thrown out because sexual orientation isn’t protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

However, Bissoon wrote in her ­opinion that discrimination based on one’s ­sexual orientation and sexual stereotyping quintessentially implicates sex, and is ­therefore protected by civil rights law.

“There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality,” Bissoon said. “As the EEOC states, ‘[d]iscriminating against a person because of the sex of that person’s romantic partner necessarily involves stereotypes about ‘proper’ roles in sexual relationships—that men are and should only be sexually ­attracted to women, not men.'”

Bissoon called such discrimination “evil” and added, “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is, at its very core, sex stereotyping plain and simple; there is no line separating the two.”

Baxley claimed he was subject to homophobic slurs from his boss several times a week. Baxley’s boss allegedly called him a “‘fucking faggot,'” “‘queer,'” and upon learning that Baxley had a partner, told him that he didn’t understand how homosexual intercourse worked.

In March, the EEOC took up the case on Baxley’s behalf after investigating discrimination claims from five of Baxley’s female co-workers.

Bissoon pointed to the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling to illustrate the broadening definition of discrimination.

“That someone can be subjected to a barrage of insults, humiliation, hostility and/or changes to the terms and conditions of their employment, based upon nothing more than the aggressor’s view of what it means to be a man or a woman, is exactly the evil Title VII was designed to eradicate,” she added.

Scott Medical’s attorney, Charles Saul of Margolis Edelstein, said he was ­”exploring the possibility of special appeal.”

Good News: ENDA Passes Senate Committee – Bad News: Dangerous Religious Exemptions Attached

Good News, Bad News

Today in  just a little over 15 minutes, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee voted 15-7 to report the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to the full Senate. The 12 Democrats on the committee were joined by three Republicans — Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), a co-sponsor of the bill, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) (both a shock) — in voting to advance the bill.

Speaking to reporters, Murkowski said the outpouring of support for ENDA from her constituents helped influence her vote.

“When I was home over the break, I think it was 1,174 postcards were delivered to my office from Alaskans from around the state in support of ENDA,” Murkowski said. “If you listen to your folks back home this is important to them.”

The only GOP senator present who voted against sending the bill t was the ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. Lamar Alexander. The other six “no” votes were cast by proxy. Even Alexander, though, said nothing against the bill. To the contrary, he praised changes and compromises made to the bill already, suggested more that he would like to see, and praised the bill’s sole Republican sponsor on the committee and said that he will put forth three more amendments when the bill finally hits the floor.

One of the compromises made were the very broad religious exemptions written into the bill that if pass unchanged will actually write LGBT discrimination into law by exempting religious businesses, organizations and institutions from obeying it.

It was a big, bipartisan win, and we’re going this ride momentum to 60 votes by September,” Tico Almeida of Freedom to Work who helped write the exemptions said. “We think we can get to 60 votes in the Senate in September — possibly October if it takes that long.

The question is though at what cost.

The exemptions in ENDA mirror those of TitleVII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

This Act shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution or institution of learning, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 pursuant (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.) to section 702(a) or 703(e)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a), 2000e-2(e)(2)).

The troubling thing is that the exemptions written for Title VII were for differences of faith.  Not to discriminate against an entire subset of people.  It did not allow religious institutions to discriminate against women or blacks.  It only gave hiring preferences to members of the same faith.

In a recent editorial in the New York Times it was made clear that ENDA’s religious exemption “is far too broad and needs to be scaled back.” To quote the New York Times editorial:

…the exemption – extending well beyond just houses of worship to hospitals and universities, for example, and encompassing medical personnel, billing clerks and others in jobs that are not directly involved in any religious function – amounts to a license to engage in the discrimination that ENDA is meant to remedy.

And while Congress did not include a definition of the § 702(a) term “religious corporation” in Title VII, at least one judge has argued that the legislative history indicates that Congress intended “the § 703(e)(2) exemption to require a lesser degree of association between an entity and a religious sect than what would be required under § 702(a).”  See LeBoon v. Lancaster Jewish Cmty. Ctr., 503 F.3d 217, 237 (3d Cir. 2007) (Rendell, J., dissenting).

Another dangerous aspect of ENDA’s religious exemptions is that it legitimatizes the statements made by those in the extreme right against the LGBT community that being gay is wrong and sets a precedent for all further LGBT legislation.

And there are other problems.

In 2001 ,President Bush’s Executive Orders 13198 and 13199 created and set out organizational guidelines for a White House Office of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives.

In 2002, the most controversial Executive Order was issued – Executive Order 13279 – made it easier for churches and other faith-based organizations to receive federal money by letting them circumvent certain anti-discrimination laws.  Under the umbrella of the Faith-Based Initiative, the Bush administration began allowing discrimination with federal money for the first time since the 1960s.  Executive Order 13279, Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations,  issued on December 12, 2002, provides that certain faith-based organizations that provide social programs can deliver those services and make hiring decisions on the basis of their religious beliefs even if they receive federal funding.

But none of this you are hearing from either Freedom to Work or the Human Rights Campaign who both 100 percent support the religious exemptions so that ENDA passes using the “Its better to pass something rather than nothing at all” mentality.

Id this reallt the ENDA that we have fought over 30 years for?

I’ll be on The Becky Juro Show, July 11th at 8:00 p.m. to discuss the religious exemption problems as well as others that are not being reported by our gay media.

PLEASE TUNE IN

LIVELINK – http://q1.fm