To help employers prepare for the new year, this Alert addresses certain legislative developments in 2015 that are likely to affect employers this year under federal law as well as in Illinois, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., Georgia, Michigan and Texas.
Continue Reading 2015 Legislative Developments

In a victory for franchisors, the California Supreme Court has ruled that Domino’s Pizza (Domino’s) was not liable as an employer or as a principal in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by an employee of a Domino’s franchisee. Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza LLC, No. S204543, 2014 WL 4236175 (Cal. Aug. 28, 2014). The plaintiff worked in a Domino’s Pizza franchise store operated by Sui Juris, LLC. She claimed that shortly after she began working, her supervisor sexually harassed her whenever they worked the same shift. She complained to the franchisee, who suspended the supervisor pending an investigation. Despite the supervisor never returning to work, the plaintiff resigned and filed a lawsuit, bringing multiple claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for sexual harassment, failure to prevent discrimination, retaliation, and constructive discharge, among others.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Rules Franchisor Not Liable in Sexual Harassment Claim Against Franchisee

This Alert highlights certain federal law developments as well as those occurring in Illinois, California, New York and Georgia that will affect employers in 2014. No significant employment-related statutory developments are to take effect in 2014 in Michigan or Washington, DC.
Continue Reading 2014 Legislative Developments

In the second of two recent Title VII harassment cases, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided that a supervisor need not have hiring or firing authority in order to create liability for failing to respond properly to a harassment complaint. Lambert v. Peri Formworks Sys., Inc., Case No. 12-2502 (7th Cir., 7/24/13). The decision comes on the heels of last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that clarified that a supervisor must have authority to make tangible employment decisions, such as hiring, firing and discipline, in order for that supervisor to create strict liability for the employer for his or her own harassing conduct. See [U.S. Supreme Court Defines “Supervisor” Status for Purposes of Assessing Harassment Liability Under Title VII]
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Sexual Harassment Decision Highlights Importance of Employee Training

In a Title VII harassment case, an important preliminary question is whether the individual accused of harassment is the employee’s supervisor, in which case the employer is strictly liable for any harassing conduct that results in a negative employment action, or whether the accused is a non-supervisory co-worker, in which case the employer can avail itself of certain defenses such as implementation of an effective anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure. On June 24, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Vance v. Ball State University, No. 11-556, 570 U. S. __ (2013), which answers the important question of when an employee will be considered a “supervisor” for purposes of assessing Title VII liability for harassment.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Defines “Supervisor” Status for Purposes of Assessing Harassment Liability Under Title VII