Tag Archives: Discrimination

Seventh Circuit Rejects EEOC’s Argument That All Employee Medical Information Revealed Through “Job-Related” Inquiries Are Protected by the ADA’s Confidentiality Provisions

In EEOC v. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (2012), a former employee alleged that his former employer revealed his medical information to prospective employers in violation of the medical record confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12111 et seq.  The key issue for the Seventh Circuit was whether the medical information alleged to have been revealed by the former employer was obtained from “medical examinations and inquiries” of the former employee as set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d).  In holding that the information was not obtained from “medical examinations and inquiries,” the Court found that the former employer had no duty to treat its knowledge of such information as a confidential medical record and affirmed the district court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the former employer.

In reaching its conclusion, the Court found that the word “inquiries” did not refer to generalized inquiries, but instead only to medical inquiries.  The Court also explained that other courts have required – at a minimum, that the employer already know something was wrong with the employee before initiating the interaction in order for that interaction to constitute a 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(4)(B) inquiry.  Because the former employer did not have any such knowledge in this case, its communication with the former employee was not an inquiry for purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(4)(B).

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at (301) 864-6070,www.jmlaw.net, or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.

Race Discrimination and National Origin Discrimination

Plaintiff sued his employer under Section 1981, Title VII and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act (DCHRA), alleging race discrimination, national origin discrimination, and retaliation.   In dismissing Plaintiff’s race discrimination claims, the Court held that Plaintiff had failed to establish that the alleged discrimination because he was from Angola (national origin) also meant that he had been discriminated against because of his race.

The Court reasoned that race and national origin are “ideologically distinct categories” of employment discrimination law.  Race discrimination, according to the Court, has to do with an employee’s “ancestry or ethnic characteristics.”  Conversely, national origin discrimination, according to the Court, relates to where an individual was born. For example, there are a number of people of Caucasian origin residing in South Africa. Therefore,  simply stating that one is “South African” does not define the race of an individual in question.  Furthermore, a Caucasian South African could not claim that other people of Caucasian decent from other nations discriminated him against on the basis of his race.

The Court highlighted that Plaintiff never classified himself as a “Black Angolan.” Furthermore, Plaintiff did not explain why labeling himself as “Angolan” should be considered a “very distinct” ancestral or ethnic characteristic.  The Court also found it relevant that Plaintiff did not identify the race of those who allegedly discriminated against him or the race of employees who were treated more favorably.

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at (301) 864-6070 or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.

EEOC Settles Severe Obesity Case Under the ADA

A nonprofit organization has agreed to pay a severely obese woman $125,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The nonprofit fired the woman, and the EEOC alleged that she was fired because of her severe obesity although she could perform her job.  The EEOC asserted that severe obesity was a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In addition to the financial payment, as part of the settlement, the nonprofit organization will be required will provide annual training on federal disability law to all human resources personnel and corporate directors of its organization.   The nonprofit organization also will report to the EEOC for three years on all complaints of disability discrimination and all denials of a request for reasonable accommodation of a disability.

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at (301) 864-6070 or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.

United States Has Not Consented to Being Sued in State Court Under Title VII

The United States Court of Appeals has concluded (2-1) that the United States and the Secretary of Homeland Security, a federal agency, did not consent to be sued in state court in a Title VII discrimination action.  The majority opinion reached its conclusion despite the unanimous Supreme Court decision in Yellow Freight Sys., Inc. v. Donnelly, 494 U.S.  820 (1990), that state courts have concurrent jurisdiction with federal courts over Title VII actions.  Stay tuned.  If not now, the Supreme Court may have to weigh in on this issue.

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at (301) 864-6070 or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.

Title VII Retaliation Claims

A recent decision from the United States District of Columbia addressed a number of legal related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Retaliation was among the matters discussed.  The court noted that Title VII prohibits two types of statutorily protected activity:  (1) opposition activity:  opposing any practice that Title VII makes an “unlawful employment practice” and (2) participation activity:  making a charge of discrimination, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII.

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at
(301) 864-6070 or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.