Last month, a court in the N.D. of California denied class certification to a group of Chipotle workers who alleged that the burrito chain maintained unlawful English-only workplaces in the state of California.  Guzman v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Case No. 17-cv-02606 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 15, 2020).  The opinion is a textbook example of how a lack of uniform written policies can, in some instances, benefit employers defending pattern and practice lawsuits.  Separately, the case also provides occasion to review the EEOC’s stance on English-Only policies.
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The #MeToo movement has placed sexual harassment on the front pages of newspapers, has galvanized some states to reconsider their own sexual harassment laws, and has encouraged employers to take a closer look at their policies and procedures. With such heightened awareness of sexual harassment, employers may feel an inclination to resolve doubts in favor of the accuser.  A recent Second Circuit decision, however, illustrates a counterweight to this outlook.
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Earlier this year, a federal court in Illinois decertified a small class of Physicians who alleged gender-based pay discrimination under the Equal Pay Act.  Although not a groundbreaking appellate court decision, the opinion does provide a roadmap for employers facing EPA collective actions, which may gain traction in the wake of increasing media attention on pay disparities.
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In late January 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) does not allow outside job applicants to bring disparate impact claims.  The plaintiff in the case, Dale Kleber, an attorney, is now asking the Supreme Court to review that decision.
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