Employment law

New issue for Supreme Court: Can private businesses claim religious exemptions?

August 16, 2013

It now seems almost certain that something I predicted in December will occur: within the coming year, the Supreme Court will decide whether private, for-profit businesses can claim a religious opt-out from a generally applicable law based on the religious beliefs of the owners. If the Court rules that such a claim is permissible, there will […]

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ENDA: All marked up and headed for the floor

July 10, 2013

In an almost perfunctory proceeding, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee voted today to send S. 815  - aka the Employment NonDiscrimination Act –  to the Senate floor for a vote by the full body. It was the first meaningful Congressional action on ENDA since 2007, when a version passed the Houe that, […]

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Supreme Court report: Affirmative action survives, but the knives are out for Title VII

June 24, 2013

The Supreme Court finally ruled today in the affirmative action case that it heard last October, producing a 7-1 opinion (Kagan recused) that reads like a compromise, and probably one that was drafted and re-drafted multiple times over the last eight months. Civil rights advocates feared that the Court would overrule its 2003 decision in Grutter v. […]

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Almost 60 religious exemption claims fill federal courts

June 3, 2013

The question of whether religiously affiliated nonprofit organizations and commercial businesses owned by conservative religious individuals must comply with the mandate in the health reform law that requires health insurance plans to cover contraception without a co-pay is playing out in 59 pending federal court lawsuits. In each, the plaintiff employers are arguing that the […]

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Puerto Rico bans employment discrimination

May 30, 2013

  Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla has signed legislation that bars workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and that extends protection from domestic violence to same-sex couples. This puts Puerto Rico ahead of Congress and almost half the states in enacting laws to prevent employment discrimination. The action came after strong opposition […]

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State employee partner benefits in Michigan still viable

May 6, 2013

By not accepting review in a case, the Michigan Supreme Court has in effect allowed public employee partner benefits to remain in force, despite the decision by voters in 2004 to adopt a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and “similar unions.” Earlier this year, an intermediate appellate court ruled that state employee eligibility for […]

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