Health Employment And Labor labor and employment law for the healthcare industry

Tag Archives: Nathaniel M. Glasser

Seventh Circuit is First Federal Appeals Court to Hold Sexual Orientation Discrimination Covered by Title VII

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc, held that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act’s protections against discrimination on the basis of sex.

In Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Kimberly Hively, a lesbian part-time professor at Ivy Tech, applied for but was denied several full-time positions with the college. After her employment was later terminated, she filed a lawsuit alleging that she was denied promotion and then terminated because of her sexual orientation. The lower courts … Continue Reading

Texas District Court Upholds Hospital’s Policy That Disabled Employees Compete for Vacant Positions

Dallas, TexasIn a decision impacting the interactive process, the Northern District of Texas held in EEOC v. Methodist Hospitals of Dallas, No. 3:2015-cv-03104 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 9, 2017), that employers do not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) by requiring individuals with disabilities that need reassignment as a reasonable accommodation to compete for vacant positions.

Plaintiff, a former patient care technician, requested an accommodation after an on-the-job injury precluded her from performing the required duties of lifting and transporting patients. Though she met the minimum qualifications for two vacant positions, she was not chosen for the positions and was … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Holds Medical Residents May Bring Title IX Claims

In a decision with significant implications for private hospitals, on March 7, 2017, the Third Circuit held in Doe v. Mercy Catholic Medical Center that medical residents may bring private causes of action for sex discrimination under Title IX against private teaching hospitals operating residency programs, and are not limited to claims under Title VII.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681, et seq., prohibits sex discrimination in any “education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). A former resident alleged the director of her program repeatedly sexually harassed … Continue Reading

Implications of the Trump Administration for Transgender Workers

How will the Trump administration handle discrimination cases involving transgender employees? The EEOC’s pursuit of a sex discrimination claim on behalf of Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who was terminated by a Michigan funeral home for expressing her intention to dress in conformance with her gender identity, will be an early indicator.

In a brief filed with the Sixth Circuit on January 26, 2017, Stephens argues that the interests of transgender individuals will not be adequately represented under the new administration. Under the Obama administration, the EEOC sued Stephens’ former employer, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, for sex discrimination … Continue Reading

Texas Court Dismisses Section 1557 Transgender Discrimination Claim

In a notable recent court decision highlighting transgender issues and employer sponsored benefit plans, on January 13, 2017, in Baker v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5665, 2017 WL 131658 (N.D. Tex.), Aetna Life Insurance Co. (“Aetna”) defeated a claim by a transgender employee of L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP (“L-3”) who alleged that Aetna’s denial of her disability benefits constituted discrimination based on her gender identity. The plaintiff, Charlize Marie Baker (“Baker”), is a participant in L-3’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) covered group health plan and short term disability benefits plan (“STD Plan”). … Continue Reading

Will Requiring Flu Vaccinations Leave Employers Feeling Under the Weather?

With flu season quickly approaching, health care employers may be considering mandatory influenza vaccinations for their workforce. Mandatory vaccination policies may dramatically increase patient safety, but they may also cause friction within the workforce when employees object on religious grounds to being vaccinated.

While no federal and few state statutes address the legality of enforcing mandatory vaccination policies, the EEOC and private litigants recently have moved this issue forward in the courts. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), employees with sincerely held religious beliefs are entitled to a reasonable accommodation of those beliefs, provided … Continue Reading

What Does It Mean to Be a Recipient of Federal Financial Assistance for Purposes of Section 1557 Compliance?

In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) published a final rule implementing Section 1557 of the ACA. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination in the health programs and activities of “Covered Entities” on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Section 1557 also imposes detailed and specific notice and disclosure requirements on Covered Entities, including, among other things, the requirement to provide information about the use of auxiliary aids and services, the adoption of grievance procedures, and access for individuals with limited English proficiency. Covered Entities are also required to include specific nondiscrimination … Continue Reading

Growing Acceptance Nationwide: More States Approve Marijuana Use

Marijuana LegalizationWhile the presidential election has attracted extreme attention, marijuana legalization initiatives were on the ballots in nine states on November 8, 2016. Four states – Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota – approved measures providing for the medical use of marijuana, and three states – California, Massachusetts, and Nevada – approved initiatives allowing for recreational use.  The results in Maine are still close to call, but, if that measure is approved, it will be the fourth measure permitting recreational use.  Only one state (Arizona) defeated a marijuana legalization initiative.

The following chart summarizes the approved … Continue Reading

Western District of Pennsylvania Bucks Recent Trend and Permits Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim to Proceed

On November 4, 2016, the Western District of Pennsylvania held that the “because of sex” provision in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In doing so, the court broke from the recent trend of federal courts that have felt compelled by prior precedent to dismiss sexual orientation discrimination claims.

In EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center, P.C., the plaintiff (a gay male) alleged that he was subjected to repeated and unwelcome offensive comments regarding his sexual orientation and his relationship with a male partner, creating a hostile and offensive work … Continue Reading

ACA Section 1557: Are You Prepared to Meet the October 16 Deadlines?

In less than three weeks, health care providers covered by the Affordable Care Act must meet various posting obligations required by the recently issued Section 1557 regulations. Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. has written extensively about the Final Rule, including the expansive nondiscrimination standards and the upcoming October 16 deadlines. While we encourage you to review these publications for more detail, covered entities urgently need to prepare by October 16, 2016, nondiscrimination notices and taglines to be posted (1) in significant publications or communications; (2) in conspicuous physical locations where they interact with the public; and (3) in a … Continue Reading

Rule Implementing ACA’s Nondiscrimination Provisions Goes Into Effect

Nathaniel M. Glasser

Nathaniel M. Glasser

On July 18, 2016, the final rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) went into effect.   Section 1557 prohibits health care providers and other covered entities from refusing to treat individuals or otherwise discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in any health program or activity that receives federal financial assistance or is administered by an executive agency.

While the rule does not apply to employment, it derives many of its standards from existing federal civil rights laws and the federal government’s current interpretations of those laws.  Covered … Continue Reading

DC OHR Publishes Best Practices Guide Regarding Transgender Workers

The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights recently partnered with the National LGBTQ Task Force to publish a resource guide, “Valuing Transgender Applicants & Employees: A Best Practices Guide for Employers” (the “Guide”), designed to support employers in creating workplace and hiring policies that prevent discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. The guide is meant to lay the framework for building a culture of inclusion in the workplace that goes beyond legal obligations.

The suggested best practices include ensuring managers and coworkers use the names and pronouns preferred by transgender employees, maintaining the confidentiality of employees’ gender … Continue Reading

Recent Federal Decisions Support Viability of Transgender Discrimination Claims

Nathaniel M. Glasser

Nathaniel M. Glasser

North Carolina made waves last week by enacting legislation prohibiting cities from allowing transgender individuals to use public restrooms that match their gender identity and further restricting cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances that would give protected status to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Employers in North Carolina and across the country, however, should be aware of the trend in the federal courts and agencies to grant protections to transgender workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  Last week two federal courts allowed transgender plaintiffs to proceed with their gender discrimination claims, representative of the growing … Continue Reading

DOL Sets Its Sights on Misclassification of Home Care Workers

Nathaniel M. Glasser

Nathaniel M. Glasser

In case you missed it, last week the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) blogged about the misclassification of workers in the home care industry.  As a reminder, on October 1, 2013, the DOL issued its home care final rule, which (1) more narrowly defines the tasks that comprise exempt “companionship service” and (2) limits the exemptions for companionship services and live-in domestic service employees to individuals, families, or households using the service, and no longer extends such exemptions to third-party employers such as home health care agencies.  As of January 1, 2016, the DOL began to … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Holds that FCA’s Retaliation Provision Requires “But-for” Causation

Daniel and Nathaniel

Nathaniel M. Glasser and Daniel C. Fundakowski

Last month, in United States ex rel. Helfer v. Associated Anesthesiologists of Springfield, Ltd., No. 3:10-cv-03076 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 14, 2016), the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois held that the retaliation provision of the False Claims Act (“FCA”) requires a whistleblower to show that protected activity was the “but-for” cause of the alleged adverse action.

The FCA’s retaliation provision entitles an employee to relief if he is “discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against . . . because of lawful acts done … Continue Reading

Hospital’s Neutral Hiring Policy Sinks Nurses’ ADA Claims

Nathaniel M. Glasser

In a matter emphasizing the importance of neutral hiring policies, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed summary judgment in favor of a Kentucky hospital system that refused to hire two nurses who had restrictions on their professional licenses after they participated in a state-approved drug rehabilitation program.  The nurses alleged the refusal to hire decisions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the Sixth Circuit held that the evidence showed the hospital had a neutral practice of denying employment to nurses with current or previous restrictions on their licenses, regardless of whether the restriction was … Continue Reading

EEOC Releases New Guidance on the Rights of HIV-Positive Employees Applicable to Health Care Providers and Employers

In December 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new guidance for job applicants and employees with HIV infection that is particularly applicable to employers in the health care industry.  This guidance is applicable not only to applicants and current employees with HIV infection, but also to physicians and other health care providers who treat individuals with HIV infection to the extent their assistance is requested in obtaining workplace accommodations.

The first publication, “Living with HIV Infection: Your Legal Rights in the Workplace Under the ADA,” discusses rights provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Although … Continue Reading

No Duty to Accommodate Medical Marijuana Use in New Mexico

The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by an employee who was fired after testing positive for marijuana despite using medical marijuana as permitted by New Mexico state law.  In finding that the employer did not violate New Mexico law or public policy, the court’s decision mirrors the holdings in similar cases from California, Colorado, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, and Washington holding that employers have no duty to accommodate medical marijuana use by employees.

In the New Mexico case, the employee applied for a position with Tractor Supply Company and disclosed his … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Pregnancy Discrimination Guidance

My colleagues Nathaniel M. Glasser and Kristie-Ann M. Yamane (a Summer Associate) at Epstein Becker Green have published a Financial Services Employment Law blog post concerning recent modifications to pregnancy discrimination that will be of interest to many of our readers: “EEOC Updates Pregnancy Discrimination Guidance.”

Following is an excerpt:

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Young v. UPS, [1]  the EEOC has modified those aspects of its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues (“Guidance”) that deal with disparate treatment and light duty.

Under the prior guidance, issued in 2014, … Continue Reading

Five EEOC Initiatives to Monitor on the Agency’s Golden Anniversary

My colleague Nathaniel M. Glasser recently authored Epstein Becker Green’s Take 5 newsletter.   In this edition of Take 5, Nathaniel highlights five areas of enforcement that U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) continues to tout publicly and aggressively pursue.

  1. Religious Discrimination and Accommodation—EEOC Is Victorious in New U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
  2. Transgender Protections Under Title VII—EEOC Relies on Expanded Sex Discrimination Theories
  3. Systemic Investigations and Litigation—EEOC Gives Priority to Enforcement Initiative
  4. Narrowing the “Gender Pay Gap”—EEOC Files Suits Under the Equal Pay Act
  5. Background Checks—EEOC Seeks to Eliminate Barriers to Recruitment and Hiring

Read the Full Take 5Continue Reading