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Judge dismisses class action against Family Dollar   (access required)

A U.S. District Court judge in Charlotte has dismissed a class-action lawsuit that accuses the Family Dollar discount-store chain of discriminating against female employees. The plaintiffs in Scott v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc. failed to meet the standard for class claims set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. determined in a Jan. 13 order. Cogburn appears to be the first federal judge in the country to interpret the Dukes ruling in a potential nationwide class-action employment suit, according to the head of Family Dollar’s defense team, John R. Wester of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson in Charlotte. His colleagues David C. Wright III and Adam K. Doerr also represent the company.

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Labor & Employment – Discrimination – ADA – Partial Waiver of Immunity (access required)

Lee-Thomas v. Prince George’s County Public Schools A school board employee in Maryland can sue the board under the Americans with Disabilities Act for an alleged failure to accommodate her hearing disability, as the state has waived its 11th Amendment immunity for claims of $100,000 or less; the 4th Circuit upholds the district court decision allowing the claim to go forward.

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Labor & Employment – Civil Rights – Discrimination – Exempt Religious Organization — Religious Harassment – Brethren Dress Code (access required)

Kennedy v. St. Joseph’s Ministries Inc. A Catholic nursing-care facility is an exempt religious organization under Title VII. It cannot be sued by a geriatric nursing assistant who alleged religious harassment after she refused to abandon her Church of the Brethren dress code that called for long skirts and hair covering.

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Labor & Employment – Discrimination – Sexual Harassment – Municipal – Public Employees (access required)

Okoli v. City of Baltimore A woman whose boss, head of a Baltimore aging agency, “forcibly kissed her, fondled her leg, propositioned her, asked sexually explicit questions, described sexual activities he wished to perform and then, after she spurned the advances and filed a harassment complaint, fired her,” stated claims for hostile environment, quid pro quo harassment and retaliation, and the 4th Circuit vacates summary judgment for the employer and remands the harassment suit.

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Federal or state? Employment lawyers have strong preferences on venue (access required)

An attorney with an employment-discrimination case will most likely take the case to the nearest county courthouse to be heard by a state judge. But just as likely, the defense counsel for the employer will have it removed to federal ...

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Age claim that beat summary judgment gets noticed nationwide (access required)

A 46-year-old Alexander County emergency medical services supervisor who was demoted when his team failed to meet a targeted response time has a triable case of age discrimination, a federal judge ruled late last month. The case, Fox v. Alexander County, has drawn national attention among labor lawyers because the plaintiff survived a summary-judgment motion from the employer - an unusual event in federal court. "It's pretty noteworthy," said the plaintiff's attorney, Joshua Van Kampen (pictured). "The employer-discrimination firms are very adept at getting these cases dismissed."

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