Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, 555 U.S. 271 (2009)

Petitioner Vicky Crawford reported that her manager made sexually explicit remarks and gestures towards her; she was later terminated. At issue was whether Title VII protections against retaliation extended to an employee who spoke out about discrimination not on her own initiative, but in answering questions during an employer's internal investigation.

Lewis v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 2191 (2010)

The petitioners, unsuccessful applicants for firefighter positions, filed suit alleging that the City of Chicago’s practice of selecting only applicants who scored 89 or above on a written examination had a disparate impact on African-Americans in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Nassar v. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 570 U.S. ____, 133 S. Ct. 2517 (2013).

In this case the Supreme Court limited the standard of proof in retaliation cases under Title VII (the nation’s primary anti-discrimination law) to the narrower “but for” causation standard.  While this ruling benefits employers and was contrary to the position argued by the AAUP in an amicus brief it is a relatively modest change in the burden of proof in such cases.

Buchanan v. Alexander, No. 18-30148 (5th Cir. March 22, 2019)

On March 22, 2019, the Fifth Circuit issued a decision finding that professor Teresa Buchanan’s termination for her classroom use of profanity and discussion of sex did not violate her First Amendment right to freedom of speech. While the court acknowledged that certain classroom speech is protected by the First Amendment, the court held that Buchanan’s speech was not protected as it did not serve an academic purpose.

Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, et al.; R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC, et al.; Altitude Express, Inc., et al. v. Zarda, Nos. 17-1618, 17-1623, 18-107 (2019)

AAUP joined an amicus brief prepared primarily by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (and joined by other civil rights organizations) that was filed in the Supreme Court of the United States arguing that LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  The brief involves three separate cases that have been consolidated by the court arising from the termination of employees based on their LGBTQ status. The amicus brief argues that workplace discrimination against LGBTQ people is discrimination “because of … sex” and therefore is prohibited by Title VII.  A decision from the court is expected by June 2020.

Freyd v. University of Oregon, No. 19-35428 (9th Cir. 2019)(appeal pending)

On September 30, 2019, the AAUP filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Professor Jennifer Freyd, who sued the University of Oregon (UO) for pay discrimination based on significant pay disparities with male faculty members. The district court had dismissed the suit based, in part, on findings that Dr. Freyd and her male colleagues did not perform equal work, and that the reasons for the pay differentials did not have a disparate impact on women. AAUP’s amicus brief provides an overview of gender-based wage discrimination in academia, explains that the common core of faculty job duties of teaching, research, and service are comparable, and rebuts the finding of the district court that the pay differentials were justified.

Pages

Subscribe to Discrimination and Sexual Harassment