McNamee Hosea News & Press


US Supreme Court to Hear Cases Regarding Harassment on the Job

To people who are unfamiliar with employment laws, the line between what you can and cannot do at work can seem quite simple to identify. For instance, readers may know that an employer cannot sexually harass employees or make hiring decisions based on a candidate's race.

But the truth is this: Employment laws are constantly being challenged, changed or clarified because in many cases, that line between lawful and unlawful behavior is quite blurry. To illustrate this point, we can look at a couple cases that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming months. These cases are good examples of how complicated it can be to truly understand the rights and limitations of employees and employers.

The first case involves pregnant women in the workplace. Generally speaking, employers are prohibited from discriminating against pregnant workers and are required to make adequate accommodations for these women. But what if the accommodations violate a company's policies? In the case being heard by the Supreme Court, a pregnant woman claims that she was not given adequate accommodations at work because her company, UPS, enforced their policy to only offer light-duty work to permanently disabled or injured employees.

The second case in front of the Supreme Court centers on a dispute between a woman and Abercrombie & Fitch. The woman claims that the company violated her rights by not allowing her to wear a hijab, which is a head scarf, at work. The company argues that the employee never stated that the hijab had religious significance, which is required if an employee will be in violation of the company's dress code.

These two cases are just a couple examples of how complicated it can be to interpret and define the line between the rights of employees and employers. They also serve as a reminder that every case is unique and must be considered on the individual details of a claim. Whether an employment dispute is settled at a state level or ends up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, it can be crucial for people involved in similar situations to have legal representation protecting their interests and rights.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Supreme Court Poised to Decide Cases on Bias, Employment, and Outlaw Fish," Paul M. Barrett