Women and Justice: Topics: Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Legislation

Constitution of Belarus (2004)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Constitution provides for the general principles of equality and non-discrimination. Article 4 provides that democracy shall be exercised based on diversity of political institutions, ideologies and opinions. It also provides that the ideologies of different entities may not be made mandatory for citizens. Article 14 provides that the State shall regulate relations among social, ethnic and other communities on the basis of principles of equality before the law and respect of rights and interests. Article 16 states that religions and faiths shall have equality before the law. Article 22 provides that “all shall be equal before the law and have the right to equal protection of their rights and legitimate interest without any discrimination.” Further, Article 32 of the Constitution contains general protections with respect to marriage, family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood. In particular, it provides that “on reaching the age of consent, a woman and a man shall have the right to enter into marriage on a voluntary basis and found a family. Spouses shall have equal rights in family relationships” and women shall be guaranteed equal rights as men in their opportunities to receive education and vocational training, promotion in labor, social and political, cultural and other spheres of activity as well as in creating conditions safeguarding their occupational health and safety. Finally, Article 42 provides a right to equal pay. Unofficial English translation available here.



Employment Ordinance (1968)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Employment Ordinance regulates the general conditions of employment and related work matters. Part III of the Ordinance provides for maternity protection, including provisions for maternity leave.



Anti-Discrimination Act (1998)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 makes it unlawful to directly or indirectly discriminate on the basis of certain grounds (“attributes”) in connection to public life; including employment, education and training, and provision of facilities, goods and services. The various unlawful grounds of discrimination include: sexual orientation, lawful sexual activity, gender, gender identity, intersex variations of sex characteristics, martial status, relationship status, pregnancy, breastfeeding, parental status, family responsibilities, irrelevant medical record, association with a person who has, or is believed to have, any of these attributes. Additionally, the Act prohibits inciting hatred towards a person on the grounds of their race, disability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity, as well as harassment, sexual harassment, and victimization towards a  person based on protected attributes or their intent to file a claim under this Act. It also prohibits a person from promoting discrimination through a sign, notice, or advertisement. The Act also establishes the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to investigate and  resolve complaints. Complaints can be initiated by the person targeted by the discrimination, a trade union, or another representative for the targeted person. The Commission can also investigate any discrimination ex officio. If the Commissioner believes that the complaint cannot be resolved by conciliation or that the nature of the complaint is such that it should be referred to the Tribunal, the Commissioner can refer the complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal. If the Tribunal finds that a complaint is substantiated, it may, among other remedies, order the respondent to pay the complainant an amount the Tribunal thinks appropriate as compensation for any loss or injury suffered by the complainant and caused by the respondent's discrimination or prohibited conduct.



Act of Gender Equality in Employment Act (2016)

Employment discrimination, LGBTIQ, Sexual harassment

The Act of Gender Equality in Employment (the “AGEE”) was enacted to protect gender equality in the workplace and promote the spirit of gender equality as enshrined in Article 7 of the Constitution. Chapter II of the AGEE provides that employers shall not discriminate against employees because of their gender or sexual orientation when hiring, evaluating, promoting, providing education, training and welfare, paying wages and in the case of retirement, discharge, severance and termination. Employers must also implement measures for preventing and correcting sexual harassment and establish complaint procedures and disciplinary measures. Employers who are found to be in violation of the AGEE may be fined between N.T. $20,000 and $1,500,000, depending on the offence. The names and titles of offenders and their supervisors will also be put on public notice and they will have to make improvements within a specified period. Failure to do so will result in further punishment.



Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (2009)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (the “SHPA”) aims to prevent sexual harassment and protect the rights of victims. It empowers and places a positive obligation on governmental authorities to, among other things, draft and implement sexual harassment prevention policies and regulations, specify standards, investigate and mediate disputed sexual harassment cases, and promote education and awareness on sexual harassment prevention. In addition, organisations, troops, schools, institutions and employers have a responsibility to prevent sexual harassment and the foregoing organisations can discharge such responsibility by organising regular educational training, setting up appeal channels, and taking effective corrective measures. The SHPA also sets out a complaint and investigation procedure for victims of sexual harassment as well as a conciliation procedure for parties involved in a sexual harassment incident. Persons found guilty of sexual harassment may be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment, depending on the severity of the incident and the identity or position of such persons.



Labour Act (1990)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Under Section 55(1), women are prevented from working at night in any industrial or agricultural position. However, under 55(2) female nurses in either sector are allowed to work at night, as are women working in management positions not “ordinarily engaged in manual labour.”  Women who work at night because of unforeseeable and nonrecurring work interruptions or who work with materials that require night work because of rapid deterioration are provided with a possible defense to the law. Under Section 56, no woman may be employed in any work that requires time in any underground mine unless they hold positions of management and do not perform manual labor, are employed in health and welfare services, or are working as part of their courses of study. Under Section 57, the Minister, at any time, may prohibit or restrict women from employment in any particular industry or in any process or work carried out. Violations under any of sections 55-56 of the Act carry with them a fine, imprisonment for a term not to exceed one month, or both.



National Commission for Women Act (1992)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices, Property and inheritance rights

The National Commission for Women Act established the National Commission for Women to promote the general welfare of Nigerian women, “promote the full utilization of women in the development of human resources and bring about their acceptance as full participants in every phase of national development, with equal rights and corresponding obligations,” and “work towards total elimination of all social and cultural practices tending to discriminate against and de-humanise womanhood.” Some of the Commission’s objectives include “mobilizing women collectively in order to improve their general lot and ability to seek and achieve leadership roles in all spheres of society” and “raising consciousness about the rights of women, the availability of opportunities and facilities, their social, political, and economic responsibilities.”



Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Sections 15(2) and 42(1) prohibit sex-based discrimination.  Section 17 of the Constitution outlines the elimination of demographically derived disparities as a fundamental objective of state policy. Section 17(3)(e), focuses on gender-based disparity and states that the state shall direct its policy towards ensuring that “there is equal pay for equal work without discrimination on account of sex, or on any other ground whatsoever.” Section 26 of the Constitution, which relates to citizenship, specifically provides for extension of a Nigerian man’s citizenship to his foreign-born wife while making no reference to a similar path to citizenship for the foreign-born husband of a woman who is a Nigerian citizen. Section 26(2) provides that the president may confer Nigerian citizenship on “any woman who is or who has been married to a citizen of Nigeria.” By implication, this section limits the right of a Nigerian woman to transmit her nationality to a foreign husband.



Companies Act (2011)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Companies Act of 2011 enshrines in law the right of women to serve as directors of companies. According to the law, women are allowed to establish companies on their own, and the law removes the onus on women of securing spousal consent through Section 5(2), which establishes that “anything contained in the customary or common law” that pre­vents a married person from acting as promoter of a company “without his or her spouse’s con­sent” be disregarded and overridden.



Constitution of Lesotho (1993)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Section 18(1) of the Constitution makes any law with discriminatory provisions or effect presumptively invalid. Discriminatory is defined as “affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly” to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, and so on. However, Section 18(1) is limited in its scope by the exceptions enumerated in Section 18(4). Section 18(4)(a) exempts any analysis of discrimination for laws pertaining solely to non-citizens of Lesothol; Section 18(4)(b) allows for discriminatory laws related to “adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters which is the personal law of persons of that description”; and Section 18(4)(c) identifies customary law as exempt from evaluation according to Section 18(1). Section 26(1) calls for Lesotho to adopt “policies aimed at promoting a society based on equality and justice for all its citizens regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Section 30 of the Constitution provides for just and favorable conditions of work for women and calls for the creation of particular policies toward the completion of this end, including fair and equal pay, safe working conditions, equal promotion opportunities, and pregnancy and childbirth protections.



Employment (Amendment) Act of 2010 (2010)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Sections 113-118 of the Employment (Amendment) Act pertain to the rights of women to maternity leave from their employers. The amendment compels employers to pay employees on maternity leave not less than 50% of their salary, establishes the right to maternity allowance unaffected by notice of termination of contract of employment, and prohibits serving notice of termination of contract of employment during maternity leave. It establishes in Section 117 that female employees are entitled to only one maternity allowance per woman. Section 118 mandates that an employer permit a female employee for a half hour twice a day to “suckle her child or otherwise feed him herself” for “six months immediately after her return to work.”



Public Service (Amendment) Act 14 of 2000 (2000)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

In 2000, the Public Service Act was amended to recognize sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as “any unwanted, unsolicited or repeated sexual advance, sexually derogatory statement or sexually discriminatory remark made by an employee to another,” and it covers all offensive or objectionable remarks made in or outside the workplace that cause the recipient discomfort or humiliation or that “the recipient believes interferes with the performance of his or her job security or prospects” or that “create[s] a threatening or intimidating work environment.” The Act delineates the penalties for sexual harassment.



Constitution of Botswana (2006)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual violence and rape, Trafficking in persons

Section 6 of the Constitution of Botswana adopted in 1966, and amended in 2006, prohibits sexual slavery or trafficking. It includes the following provisions: 1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude. (2) No person shall be required to perform forced labour. Section 7 of the Constitution of Botswana adopted in 1966, and amended in 2006, prohibits sexual violence that constitutes torture. It includes the following provisions: (1) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment. (2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question authorizes the infliction of any description of punishment that was lawful in the country immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution. Section 15 of the Constitution of Botswana adopted in 1966, and amended in 2006, prohibits the making of discriminatory laws



Lei do Trabalho: Lei nº 27/2007 (Labor Act) (2007)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The law governs rights associated with labor. The law grants women the right to a 60-day paid maternity leave. In contrast, fathers receive a one-day paternity leave on the day immediately following the birth of the child. The law also provides that mothers have the right to up to 30 absences from work per year in order to care for minor children who are either sick or have suffered an accident.



Lei da Família: Lei nº 10/2004 (Family Code) (2004)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Employment discrimination, Forced and early marriage, Gender discrimination, Property and inheritance rights

The law defines family relationships and establishes certain “rights of the family.” The law prohibits various forms of discrimination against women, including through polygamy, inheritance, age at marriage and choice of children. The law defines marriage as a “voluntary union between a man and a woman”, which requires mutual consent. Coerced marriage is subject to annulment. The law provides that both husband and wife have the right to “represent the family”, to administer the family finances, and to work. The law also outlines provisions for divorce. Husbands are required to pay child support in case of divorce,



Mutterschutzgesetz (Maternity Protection Act) (1979)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Pregnant employees are prohibited from working during the eight-week period prior to giving birth and the eight-week period after giving birth. During this period, the mother is entitled to receive maternity pay, which is calculated as the employee’s average earnings during the 13 weeks prior to the prohibition of work. After the prohibition period, women may take an additional period of maternity leave, up to two years after the birth of the child. During this period, a mother (or father, if he has taken paternity leave, although both parents may not take leave concurrently) will not receive remuneration through her (or his) employer, although the parent taking leave may withdraw child allowance through social insurance during this time.  Pregnant employees and parents on maternity or paternity leave may not be terminated from employment during that time and for a period of four weeks after returning to work.  The Act also provides regulations for the type of work pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, and women who have recently given birth may do (i.e., prohibition of certain physical work and manual labor, handling of chemicals, work where the woman must sit or stand for long periods with no break) and regulations regarding the times pregnant and breastfeeding employees may work (i.e., must not work between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., nor Sundays or public holidays).



Lei Nº 12.705 (2012)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This law allowed women to serve in the Brazilian army. Article 7 allows women to enter into the military line of education within five years of the law being passed (therefore it allowed women to commence combat training in 2016).



Lei Nº 9.029 (1995)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This law prohibits any discrimination that is based upon gender, race, colour, marital status, family status or age. Article 1 prohibits any discriminatory and limiting practice for the effect of access to employment, or their maintenance, by reason of sex, origin, race, colour, marital status, family situation or age (except in the protection of the child). Article 2 prohibits any discriminatory practices such as i) requiring a test, examination, skill, award, attestation, declaration or any other procedure concerning sterilization or pregnancy, ii) the adoption of any measures, at the initiative of the employer that constitute induction, promotion of birth control. The Act provides for the detention of one to two years and a fine.



The Women (Employment of) Act (1942)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This Act prohibits the employment of women in night work save in certain circumstances. Night work is recognized in the Act as “work in an industrial undertaking during the night.” The total hours of employment of women for both day and night work shall not exceed 10 hours in a 24 hour period. To ensure compliance with the Act and that no exploitation of women occurs, the Act provides for powers of inspection in industrial undertakings, and where it is found that an industrial undertaking obstructs any inspection or is guilty of an offence under this Act, it will be liable to a fine for summary conviction and in a default of payment thereof, imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. If a proprietor or manager of an industrial undertaking is found to be in contravention of the provisions of the Act, such person will be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.



Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Section 5 prohibits sex discrimination. The Act specifies that a person has committed sex discrimination if they treat someone less favorably because of their sex. Section 6 further prohibits discrimination based on marital or relationship status and section 7 prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy or potential pregnancy. Further, section 7AA prohibits breastfeeding discrimination . Moreover, section 7B deals with indirect discrimination and specifies that if an imposition of a condition, requirement, or practice has or is likely to have the disadvantaged effect, it is only allowed if such condition, requirement or practice is reasonable. Finally, pursuant to section 7D a person may take special measures for the purpose of achieving substantive equality. Such measures are not discriminatory.



Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (2000)

Employment discrimination, Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Harmful traditional practices, Property and inheritance rights, Sexual violence and rape

The purpose of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act is to give effect to section 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, read in conjunction with item 23(1) of its sixth schedule. The effect of this is to prevent and prohibit unfair discrimination and harassment; to promote equality and eliminate unfair discrimination; to prevent and prohibit hate speech; and to provide for matters connected therewith. Section 8 expands on the provisions of Section 9 by setting out, without limitation, the following specific examples of such prohibited discrimination: (a) gender-based violence; (b) female genital mutilation; (c) the system of preventing women from inheriting family property; (d) any practice, including traditional, customary or religious practice, which impairs the dignity of women and undermines equality between women and men, including the undermining of the dignity and well-being of the girl child; (e) any policy or conduct that unfairly limits access of women to land rights, finance, and other resources; (f) discrimination on the ground of pregnancy; (g) limiting women’s access to social services or benefits, such as health education and social security; (h) the denial of access to opportunities, including access to services or contractual opportunities for rendering services for consideration, or failing to take steps to reasonably accommodate the needs of such persons; and (i) systemic inequality of access to opportunities by women as a result of the sexual division of labor.  The Act further regulates which party will bear the burden of proof in discrimination cases and further sets out which factors should be taken into account in determining whether discrimination is fair or unfair.

Wet op die Bevordering van Gelykheid en die Voorkoming van Onbillike Diskriminasie (2000)

Diskriminasie op werksgeleenthede, verminking van vroulike geslagsorgane of sny van vroulike geslagsdele, geslagsdiskriminasie, geslagsgebaseerde geweld in die algemeen, skadelike tradisionele praktyke, regte op erf en erfenis, seksuele geweld en verkragting​

Die doel van die Wet op die Bevordering van Gelykheid en die Voorkoming van Onbillike Diskriminasie is om uitvoering te gee aan artikel 9 van die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid Afrika, in samewerking met artikel 23(1) van die Grondwet se sesde skedule. Die effek hiervan is om onbillike diskriminasie en teistering te voorkom en te verbied; om gelykheid te bevorder en onbillike diskriminasie uit te skakel; om haat-spraak te voorkom en te verbied; en om voorsiening te maak vir aangeleenthede wat daarmee verband hou. Artikel 8 brei die bepalings van Artikel 9 uit, sonder beperking, deur die volgende spesifieke voorbeelde van sodanige verbode diskriminasie uiteen te sit: (a) geslagsbaseerde geweld; (b) geslagtelike verminking van vroulike geslag; (c) die stelsel wat voorkoom dat vrouens familie-eiendom erf; (d) enige praktyk, met inbegrip van tradisionele, gebruiklike of godsdienstige praktyk, wat die waardigheid van vrouens belemmer en die gelykheid tussen vrouens en mans ondermyn, insluitend die ondermyning van die waardigheid en welstand van die meisie-kind; (e) enige beleid of optrede wat vrouens se toegang to grondreg, finansies en ander hulpbronne beperk; (f) diskriminasie op grond van swangerskap; (g) beperking van vrouens se toegang tot maatskaplike dienste of voordele soos gesondheidsopvoeding en sosiale sekuriteit; (h)  die weierig van toegang tot geleenthede, insluitende toegang tot dienste of kontraktuele geleenthede vir die lewering van dienste vir oorweging, of versuim om stappe te neem om die behoeftes van sulke persone redelik te voorsien; en (i) sistematies ongelykheid van toegang tot geleenthede van vroue as gevolg van die seksuele verdeling van arbeid. Die Wet reguleer verder watter party die bewyslas in diskriminasiesake sal dra en lê verder uit watter faktore in ag geneem moet word by die bepaling of die diskriminasie billik of onbillik is.



中华人民共和国宪法(第四十八-四十九条)(The Constitution of the People's Republic of China (Articles 48-49)) (2004)

Employment discrimination, Forced and early marriage, Gender discrimination, Property and inheritance rights

The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China was adopted by the National People’s Congress and promulgated for implementation on December 4, 1982. It has been amended several times, with the most recent amendment occurring on March 14, 2004.  Article 48 provides that women and men have equal rights. It states that “[w]omen in the People’s Republic of China enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of life, in political, economic, cultural, social and family life. The State protects the rights and interests of women, applies the principle of equal pay for equal work to men and women alike and trains and selects cadres from among women.” Article 49, moreover, provides that “violation of the freedom of marriage is prohibited. Maltreatment of old people, women and children is prohibited.” English version available here. 

就业、包办婚姻与早婚、性别歧视、财产与继承权

第五届全国人民代表大会于1982年12月4日通过中华人民共和国宪法。宪法经过几次修正,其中最近一次修正发生于2004年3月14日。第四十八条规定妇女享有同男子平等的权利。第十四条规定“中华人民共和国妇女在政治的、经济的、文化的、社会的和家庭的生 活等各方面享有同男子平等的权利。国家保护妇女的权利和利益,实行男女同工同酬,培养和选拔妇女干部。” 第四十九条规定禁止破坏婚姻自由,禁止虐待老人、妇女和儿童。



Constitution of Zimbabwe (Amendment No. 20) (2013)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Domestic and intimate partner violence, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices, Property and inheritance rights

Zimbabwe’s new 2013 Constitution addressed women’s rights and gender equality, and its bill of rights addressed damaging cultural and discriminatory practices. A gender commission was also established to accelerate the implementation of provisions related to women. More specifically, the Constitution recognized gender equality and women’s rights among Zimbabwe’s founding values and principles. It mandated that the State and all its institutions consider gender equality in laws and policy, to implement measures that provide care and assistance to mothers, and to grant women opportunities to work. The State must also prevent domestic violence, ensure marriages are consensual, and that there are equal rights in marriages. In the event of dissolution of marriage, the State must provide for the rights of spouses and children. The state is also obliged to afford girls and boys equal educational opportunities. The bill of rights specifically stipulates that women are equal to men, including deserving equal opportunities in political, economic, and social activities. Provision was also made for legislative seats reserved for women in the National Assembly. Finally, gender equality must be considered in making judicial appointments.



Labor and Labor Relations: Wage Discrimination Based on Sex (General Laws of Rhode Island)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

To prevent wage discrimination, Rhode Island’s equal pay law provides that no employer shall discriminate between the sexes in the payment of wages. However, merit-based variations in pay including, but not limited to, those based on skill, experience, and number of hours worked are not prohibited. Any attempt to contract around the equal pay law will be void.



Code of Virginia: Equal Pay Irrespective of Sex (Va. Code Ann. § 40.1-28.6)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This Virginia law prohibits employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of sex by paying less wages to employees of a certain sex than employees of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to a seniority system, a merit system, a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a differential based on any other factor other than sex.



Virginia Human Rights Act (Va. Code Ann. §§ 2.2-3900-03) (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Property and inheritance rights

Virginia’s Human Rights Act outlines the policy of the Commonwealth to “[s]afeguard all individuals within the Commonwealth from unlawful discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability, in places of public accommodation,” including in education, real estate, and employment. The Act defines the “unlawful discriminatory practice” and “gender discrimination” as conduct that violates any Virginia or federal statute or regulation governing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability. The terms “because of sex or gender” or “on the basis of sex or gender” or similar terms in reference to discrimination in the Code and acts of the General Assembly include pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all purposes as persons not so affected but similar in their abilities or disabilities.



Social Security Act (1994)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Social Security Act provides maternity benefits to women through a compulsory combined scheme for sickness, maternity and death benefits through matching employer and employee contributions. The Act establishes the National Medical Benefit Fund to administer the payments for such benefits and the National Pension Fund for pension benefits for those who have retired. The Act also makes a provision for the funding of training programs for disadvantaged and unemployed persons through a Development Fund.



Affirmative Action (Employment) Act (1998)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The aim of this Act is to achieve equal employment opportunities through affirmative action plans to redress the conditions of designated persons in the Act who have been previously disadvantaged by past discriminatory laws and practices with the aim of eliminating discrimination in the workplace. The Act also establishes an Employment Equity Commission. Women are specifically mentioned as a designated group. An affirmative action plan achieves its purpose by obliging employers to make equitable efforts to accommodate and further the employment opportunities of those in designated groups. Employers must also fill positions of employment by giving priority and preferential treatment to those in designated groups. Where employers do not adhere to the Act, they may be referred to the Commission or to mediation, and may be placed under review. Furthermore, any person who discriminates against a person who has participated in the proceedings provided for in the Act, or obstructs or prevents compliance with the Act by any party, or fails to comply with certain provisions of the Act can be held criminally liable and on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding N$16,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 4 years or both.



Co-Operatives Act (1996)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This Act states that where a co-operative has more than five female members, or if more than one-third of its members are women (whichever is the lesser) and no woman has been elected as a member of its board, the board must appoint a woman as a board member within its first meeting to increase the representation of women in management positions. A similar provision is provided for sub-committees of boards.



Labour Act (2007)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The Labour Act (the “Act”) establishes protections for employees and regulates the employer/employee relationship. In particular, this Act prohibits any form of child labor, forced labor, or discrimination and/or sexual harassment in the workplace. The Act also provides for basic conditions of employment to which an employer must adhere, including maternity leave for female employees. An employer may not provide disadvantageous terms in an employment contract or promote unfair labor practices. Violations of this Act expose employers to various penalties. Employees may refer disputes to the Labour Commissioner or the Labour Court to obtain relief.



The Constitution of the Republic of Namibia (1990)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Employment discrimination, Forced and early marriage, Gender discrimination

The Constitution serves as the fundamental law of Namibia and establishes the Republic of Namibia as an independent, secular, democratic, and unitary state safeguarding the rights to justice, liberty, dignity, and equality. Chapter 3 of the Constitution protects fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to equality and freedom from discrimination, including on the grounds of sex. It also bans child marriages and mandates equal rights for men and women entering into marriage, during the marriage, and at the dissolution of the marriage. Additionally, Parliament may not make any laws that contravene the Constitution, nor can the Executive take any action that abolishes or contravenes Chapter 3 of the Constitution. Any such laws or actions would be invalid.



Decreto Legislativo 26 marzo 2001, n. 151 (Legislative Decree No. 151/2001) (2001)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This legislative decree protects maternity and paternity, and prohibits discrimination on the basis of either. It regulates parental leave, leave for the illness of a child, rest, and the treatment of pregnant workers to protect their health. (Note: PDF is the consolidated text only. Follow the external link for the entire text of the decree.)



Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana (Constitution of the Republic of Italy) (1947)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Constitution provides for equality before the law without consideration of sex, race, religion, political affiliation, language, and social conditions (art. 3). It also recognizes the moral and legal equality of spouses (art. 29). Finally, it mandates equal employment opportunity for men and women (art. 37).

(English translation available through RefWorld.)



Código do Trabalho (Lei n.º 7/2009) (2018)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Section 29 of the Portugese Labor Law ensures equal opportunity in labor and and prevents gender discrimination. The Code also guarantees maternity and paternity leave, bans harassment, establishes universal preschool for children until the age of five, and requires children to attend school.



Código de Trabajo (Labor Code - Law No. 116 of December 20, 2013) (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Chapter 1 of Cuba’s Labor Code sets forth the basic principles of the Labor Code, with specific reference to providing women with positions that are compatible with their physical and physiological characteristics and allowing women to incorporate themselves in the workforce, and entitlements to maternity leave for women, before and after childbirth, including medical services, free of cost, required by maternity. Additionally, Chapter 8 of the Labor Code is devoted to promoting policies conducive to women’s labor, including requirements that (1) the workplace create and maintain labor and sanitary conditions that are adequate for the participation of women in the labor process (Section 2); (2) labor conditions are consistent with the physical and physiological characteristics of women, taking into account, inter alia, women’s elevated functions as mothers (Section 4); and (3) single mothers be provided with stipends to help them care for their children until they return to work (Section 4).



Republic of Cuba Constitution of 1976 (amended 2002; English) (1976)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Article 44 of Cuba’s Constitution states that women and men enjoy equal economic, political, cultural, social and familial rights and that Cuba (the “State”) “guarantees that women will be offered the same opportunities and possibilities as men to achieve their full participation in the development of the country.” Article 44 further states that the State grants working women paid maternity leave before and after childbirth, and temporary work options compatible with their maternal function.



Law No. 13 of 2003 Concerning Manpower (2003)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The prevailing Indonesian labor laws reflect anti-discrimination principles. Each employee shall have equal opportunity without discrimination to obtain work and shall be entitled to equal treatment from the employer without discrimination (Articles 5 and 6 of the Labor Law). The Labor Law stipulates that termination of an employment relationship shall not be permitted if it is based on the ideology, religion, political inclination, ethnic group, race, social group, gender, physical condition or marital status of the employee (Article 153 (i) of the Labor Law).



Law on Employment and Work of Foreigners (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ

Article 4(6) of the Law on Employment and Work of Foreigners provides that when employing a foreigner, the employer must not put the job seeker in less favourable position due to race, color of skin, gender, age, health condition, that is, disability, religious, political or other convictions, trade union membership, national or social background, family status, property status, sexual orientation, or due to other personal circumstances. (English translation available from the ILO through the external link.)



Law on Prevention of and Protection from Discrimination (Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia nos. 50/2010, 44/2014, 150/2015, 31/2016 and 21/2018) (2010)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ, Sexual harassment

The Law on Prevention of and Protection from Discrimination (the “LPPD”), which entered into force in 2011, introduced the concepts of direct and indirect discrimination (Article 6), instruction to discriminate (Article 9) and harassment and sexual harassment (Article 7). The LPPD covers almost all grounds of discrimination as covered by EU law i.e. “ sex, race, colour, gender, belonging to a marginalized group, ethnic origin, language, nationality, social background, religion or religious beliefs, other types of beliefs, education, political affiliation, personal or social status, mental and physical impediment, age, family or marital status, property status, health condition or any other basis anticipated by a law or ratified international agreement." However,  the LPPD does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation. Article 9 of the LPPD also covers sexual harassment, which states that “sexual harassment shall be unwanted behavior of sexual nature, manifested physically, verbally or in any other manner, aimed at or resulting in violation of the dignity of a person, especially when creating a hostile, intimidating, degrading or humiliating environment." Article 4 of the LPPD covers a wide scope on the prohibition on harrassments, which includes: (a) labour and labour relations; (b) education, science and sport; (c) social security, including the area of social protection, pension and disability insurance, health insurance and health protection; (d) judiciary and administration; (e) housing; (f) public information and media; (g) access to goods and services; (h) membership and activity in unions, political parties, citizens’ associations and foundations or other membership-based organizations; (i) culture, and (j) other areas determined by law. (English translation available from the ILO through the external link.)



Anti-Discrimination Act of 1992 (Northern Territory) (2018)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ, Sexual harassment

The Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination in certain settings on the grounds of any designated attribute, including sex, sexuality, marital status, pregnancy, parenthood, and breastfeeding.  Unlike in other Australian jurisdictions, “gender identity” and “sex characteristics” are not included as designated attributes in the Northern Territory.  The settings in which discrimination based on a designated attribute is prohibited include: education, work, accommodation, provision of goods, services and facilities, clubs, and superannuation.  Discrimination includes any distinction, restriction, or preference made based on a designated attribute that has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity, and harassment based on a designated attribute.  Certain exceptions from the prohibition of discrimination exist, including: certain religious circumstances; provision of rights or privileges connected to childbirth; and discrimination aimed at reducing disadvantage.  Alleged victims of prohibited discrimination can lodge a complaint against the discriminating person or entity, which will trigger a conciliation.  If the matter is not resolved through conciliation, the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commissioner may assess the complaint.  If the Commissioner finds that the complaint is substantiated, the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal can order that the discriminator pay compensation to the victim, discontinue the discriminating behavior, or do any other act specified by the Tribunal.  



Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Harmful traditional practices, International law

Article 9 of the FDRE Constitution provides that all international treaties ratified by Ethiopia are integral parts of the law of the land. Similarly, Article 13.2 provides that fundamental rights and freedoms shall be interpreted in a manner conforming to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenants on Human Rights and International instruments adopted by Ethiopia. Ethiopia has ratified many of these treaties including ICCPR, ICESCR, and CEDAW. Article 35 of the FDRE Constitution pertains to the Rights of Women. The article provides for equal rights under the constitution, equal rights with men in marriage, entitlement to affirmative measures, protection from harmful traditional practices, the right to maternity pay, the right to consultation, property rights (including acquiring and controlling and transferring property), employment rights, and access to family planning education. It is worth noting that this article explicitly imposes an obligation and accountability on the state to protect women from violence at Article 35.4:  “The State shall enforce the right of women to eliminate the influences of harmful customs. Laws, customs and practices that oppress or cause bodily or mental harm to women are prohibited.”



Social and Economic Development Policy Act (2006)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Employment discrimination, Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, Forced and early marriage, Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices, Property and inheritance rights, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

Section 7 (Gender Equity, Equality and Empowerment) provides for: (a) gender equality through gender policy aimed at the elimination of structural gender biases and increased participation in education; (b) strengthening the activities of Ministry of Gender Development and women’s rights NGOs; (c) adequate protection from violence through penal and civil sanctions; (d) protection of female children, notably from female genital mutilation, early marriage, and teenage pregnancy; (e) increasing women’s participation in labour force and policy and economic institutions; (f) elimination of legal and customary practices which are barriers to ownership of land, capital and other property; and (g) establishing reproductive health services.



HIV Control of the Disease and Related Issues (Amending Title 33) (2010)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

HIV, Control of the Disease and Related Issues (Amending Title 33) (the “Law”), institutes various government initiatives and provides guidance in dealing with HIV-related issues specifically affecting women. For example, the Law provides that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and/or National AIDs Commission (the “Health Institutions”) must take into consideration differences in sex and gender when providing education about HIV. Additionally, the Law lists a number of key issues which the Health Institutions should address in their strategies and programs for protecting and fulfilling the human rights of women in the context of HIV. These include:

The equality of women in public and domestic life (Section 18.9(i));Sexual and reproductive rights, including the concept of consent and a woman’s right to refuse sex and her right to request safe sex (Section 18.9(ii));A woman’s right to independently utilise sexual health services (Section 18.9(ii));Increasing educational, economic, employment and leadership opportunities for women (Section 18.9(iii));Strategies for reducing differences in formal and customary law which prejudice women’s rights (Section 18.9(v)); andThe impact of harmful traditional practices on women (Section 18.9(vi)).

Furthermore, the Law directs the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Justice, and the Liberian National Police to implement educational programs for their personnel in relation to sexual assault perpetrated on women. These are designed to provide personnel working for these government agencies with a better understanding of sexual assault and protect the rights of sexual assault victims.



Federal Act on Gender Equality (1996)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Article 1 of this act states that it is intended to promote equality between men and women.  Article 3 prohibits discrimination against employees based on sex.  Article 4 prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.  Article 5 provides for relief, including injunctive relief and lost salary.  Article 10 protects against retaliation against complainants. 



Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation (1999)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Art. 8 of the Constitution provides that all people are equal and no person may be discriminated against because of gender.  The Constitution also states that men and women have equal rights and the law shall ensure their equality.  Art. 35 provides for protection of fundamental rights even in private relationships.



Lei Nº 11.770 (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

On September 9, 2008, Law No. 11.770 was enacted to create a tax incentive program for private companies that offer an additional sixty (60) days of maternity leave on top of the mandatory 120 days set forth in Decree No. 5.452/1943. The incentive also applies for adoptions.



On Ensuring the Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men (No. 2866-IV) (2005)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Sexual harassment

The Equal Opportunities Act of Ukraine (the “Act”) provides for the legal framework of men and women’s parity in all spheres of social life through providing legal support for equal rights and opportunities, removal of gender-based discrimination and prevention of misbalance between women’s and men’s opportunities in implementing the rights granted to each of them by the Constitution and other laws.  Pursuant to the Act, “equal rights” means absence of gender-based restrictions or privileges.  The Act provides that equal rights for men and women will be ensured in the election process, civil service, employment and career, social security, entrepreneurial activity and education, in each case, through the relevant government/regulatory bodies.  The Act prohibits gender-based violence (which is defined as “actions directed at persons through their sex, stereotyped widespread customs or traditions or actions that relate predominantly to persons of a determined sex and create physical, sexual, psychological or financial damage or suffering”) and sexual harassment (defined as "sexual actions of a verbal or physical nature, which may humiliate or insult the person who is dependent on the perpetrator due to work, official, financial or other reasons").  Violation of the Act can result in a limitation order being issued to temporarily restrict the rights of the offender and protect the rights of the victim, including prohibiting the victim on residing with the victim at their place of residence, approaching the victim up to a certain distance and limitations on telephone calls or other communication with the victim.



Constitution of Ukraine (Law of Ukraine No. 254к/96-ВР) (1996)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Article 24 of Ukraine’s Constitution provides that there can be no privileges or restrictions based on sex or other grounds, and guarantees that the equality of rights for women and men is ensured by providing equal opportunities to each in socio-political and cultural activities, access to education, work and remuneration, special measures on labor protection and health of women, pension privileges and creating conditions enabling women to combine work and maternity.



Royal Decree of 25 April 2014 (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Pursuant to the Pay Gap Law of 22 April 2012, a mediator may be appointed to generate an action plan for gender neutrality or to intercede with employees who feel victimized by unfair treatment at work. This Royal Decree of 25 April 2014 determines the role and the qualifications of the mediator, enumerates the deontological rules s/he must respect, and describes the mediation procedures. 



Pay Gap Law of 22 April 2012 (2012)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Pay Gap Law of 22 April 2012 seeks to reduce the wage gap between men and women through various measures. For example, the social balance sheet has to be submitted by certain enterprises in their financial statements and must be broken down according to the gender of the employees. Functional classifications of employees must be gender-neutral. In addition, every enterprise employing at least 50 people has to prepare an analysis every two years in order to determine whether or not the enterprise applies a gender neutral remuneration policy. Such enterprises can also, at the request of the works council or of the Committee on Prevention and Protection at Work, appoint a mediator to generate an action plan for gender neutrality or to intercede with employees who feel victimized because of unfair treatment. A Royal Decree of 25 April 2014 determines the role and the required qualifications of this mediator as well as the deontological rules he/she needs to respect, and describes the mediation procedure.


Collective Labor Agreement No. 95 of 10 October 2008 (2008)

Employment discrimination, LGBTIQ

The Collective Labor Agreement No. 95 of 10 October 2008 was established by the National Labor Council to ensure compliance with equal treatment principles at all stages of the employment relationship. Equal treatment implies the absence of discrimination based on several factors, including gender and sexual orientation. The principle of equal treatment must be complied with at every stage of the labor market, e.g., the employment relationship, the conditions for access to employment, conditions for employment, and termination of employment. It was made binding in law by the Royal Decree of 11 January 2009.



Royal Decree of 11 January 2009 (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ

The Royal Decree of 11 January 2009 makes Collective Labor Agreement No. 95 of 10 October 2008, established by the National Labor Council, on equal treatment at all stages of the employment relationship, binding in law. Equal treatment implies the absence of discrimination based on several factors, including gender and sexual orientation. The principle of equal treatment must be complied with at every stage of the labor market, e.g., the employment relationship, the conditions for access to employment, conditions for employment, and termination of employment.


Law establishing a federal Center for the analysis of the migratory flows, the protection of the fundamental rights of foreigners and the fight against trafficking in human beings (Amendments to the Law of 15 February 1993) (2013)

Employment discrimination, LGBTIQ, Trafficking in persons

The Law of 15 February 1993 created the Centre for Combating Discrimination and Racism. Over the years, the scope of the Centre's anti-discrimination work expanded to include other forms of discrimination, like sexual orientation discrimination. In 2013, it was renamed the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities and its mandate formally included the rights of foreigners and their humane treatment. In 2015, Myria (the Federal Migration Centre) split off to focus on human trafficking and protecting the human rights of migrants and foreigners. The Interfederal Centre was renamed Unia in 2016 and continues to focus on anti-discrimination and equal opportunity advocacy. Unia can take legal action in instances of discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, and other criteria of discrimination (e.g., health, wealth, political beliefs, physical characteristics, etc.). Myria may also take legal action on instances of discrimination within its mandate. More information about Unia, its work, and anti-discrimination resources is available on its website (information available in English, Français, Nederlands, and Deutsch). More information about Myria, its work, and anti-discrimination resources is available on its website (also in En, Fr, Ne, and De).


Gender Law of 10 May 2007 (2007)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices, International law, LGBTIQ, Property and inheritance rights, Sexual harassment

The Gender Law of 10 May 2007 combats discrimination between women and men (thereby implementing European Union legislation) and prohibits every form of discrimination based on gender, change of gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. Direct and indirect discrimination, giving orders to discriminate, intimidation and sexual intimidation are all explicitly prohibited. Discrimination is prohibited with regard to access to goods and services, social security, social benefits, membership of professional organizations, and employment relations and conditions. Differences (in terms of access to certain goods or services, or employment conditions) are only allowed if it is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and if the restrictions are appropriate and necessary to achieve this aim. Differences are also allowed on a temporary basis in the context of positive action to prevent or compensate for gender-related disadvantages. Victims of discrimination can submit a reasoned complaint or take legal action. If the plaintiff has produced facts which indicate that there has been discrimination, the burden of proof is on the defendant to demonstrate that there was no gender-based discrimination.


Equal Opportunity for Women Act (Legislative Decree 34-2000) (2000)

Employment discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Property and inheritance rights

The Equal Opportunity for Women Act (the “Act”), enacted by this decree 34-2000, eliminates “all forms of discrimination against women” and guarantees equality in the eyes of the law and in the areas of family, health, education, culture, work, social security, credit, and land ownership. Moreover, the Act promotes participation by women in decision-making within the power structure and expressly states that women are eligible to run for public office. This law is significant because it was intended to create and expand the scope of representation and participation of Honduran women in civil society.

 

La Ley de Igualdad de Oportunidades para la Mujer (la "Ley"), promulgada por este decreto 34-2000, elimina "todas las formas de discriminación contra la mujer" y garantiza la igualdad de género ante la ley y en las áreas de la familia, la salud, la educación, Cultura, trabajo, seguridad social, crédito y propiedad de la tierra. Además, la Ley promueve la participación de las mujeres en la toma de decisiones dentro de la estructura de poder y establece expresamente que las mujeres son elegibles para postularse para cargos públicos. Esta ley es importante porque tiene la intención de crear y ampliar el alcance de la representación y participación de las mujeres hondureñas en la sociedad civil.



Employment (Sexual Harassment) Regulations of 2012 (2012)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The Employment (Sexual Harassment) Regulations of 2012 (the “ESH Regulations”) define, prohibit, and provide punishments for sexual harassment in the workplace.  The ESH Regulations were produced by the Directorate of Labour pursuant to the powers conferred by the Employment Act of 2006 (sec. 7, 97(1)).  The Regulations require employers with more than 25 employees to institute measures to prevent sexual harassment, including a written sexual harassment policy, providing the written policy to all employees with a copy, posting the policy in a public area, conducting regular trainings, and designating a “gender sensitive” person to handle sexual harassment complaints.  The Regulations also provide reporting guidelines, prohibition of retaliation, and appeals processes.  The penalty for sexual harassment is a fine not to exceed six currency points (a currency point is 20,000 USH) and/or imprisonment not to exceed three months.



Employment Act of 2006 (2006)

Employment discrimination

The Employment Act of 2006 applies to all employment in Uganda other than soldiers.  The Directorate of Labour, under the Minister of Labour, has the power to issue regulations of the Act’s provisions.  Section 7 prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.  The Employment (Sexual Harassment) Regulations of 2012 provide the details of Uganda’s sexual harassment policy.  Sections 56 and 57, respectively, provide for fully paid maternity and paternity leave.  Female employees are entitled to 60 days, four weeks of which must be taken immediately following birth or miscarriage, of paid maternity leave with the right to return to the same job or its equivalent.  A male employee is entitled to four working days of fully paid leave and the right to return to the same job immediately after his wife’s birth or miscarriage.  Uganda does not currently require employers to provide office space or time for breastfeeding.



Domestic Case Law

L. v. Burton District Court (2010)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff sued a senior manager at the company she worked for, alleging repeated sexual harassment. The harassment, which included many unwanted sexual advances toward the plaintiff, started with the plaintiff’s initial interview and continued until her eventual firing by the defendant. The court found that the defendant’s acts were a violation of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance. The court awarded the plaintiff damages to cover emotional distress as well as lost earnings.



Veterinary Surgeons Board v. Herbert Court of Appeal (2018)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff was a registered veterinary surgeon who had been found guilty of violating a provision of the Veterinary Surgeons Registration Ordinance after complaints that he had sent sexually inappropriate text messages to a co-worker. He argued that, because the co-worker was not a patient or customer of the clinic where they both worked, her complaints were not within the scope of the ordinance. The court dismissed his argument, finding that the ordinance was meant to be broad in scope and covered such misconduct.



Lam Wing Lai v. Y t Cheng (Chingtai) Ltd. District Court (2005)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Plaintiff worked as a secretary for the defendant. The plaintiff was experienced and had a history of good performance reviews. However, her relationship with the defendant deteriorated after she became pregnant. The plaintiff shared her pregnancy news with human resource and one colleague only, but then more colleagues learned about her pregnancy.  According to the plaintiff, colleagues threatened to force her to have an abortion and suggested that she take only a four-week  maternity leave despite her preference for an eight-week maternity leave. Plaintiff later learned that the defendant had hired a permanent replacement for her during her maternity leave. Subsequently, the plaintiff was fired. The court found that the plaintiff had showed that, on a balance of probabilities, she had been discriminated against by the defendant on the basis of her pregnancy.



Chan Choi Yin v. Toppan Forms (Hong Kong) Ltd. District Court (2006)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff was the defendant’s employee. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s management began treating her poorly after her pregnancy, culminating in her eventual dismissal. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s actions were prohibited by the Sex Discrimination Ordinance. The court found that management had, among other things, had made derogatory remarks to the plaintiff, reduced her income, compelled her to transfer teams, and failed to investigate her internal complaints about her treatment. The court further found that the plaintiff had showed that, on a balance of probabilities, she had been discriminated against by the defendant’s management on the basis of her pregnancy.



Wong Lai Wan Avril v. Prudential Assurance Co Ltd District Court (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff was an employee of the defendant along with her husband, who was her direct supervisor. The defendant fired the plaintiff’s husband. Subsequently, the defendant informed the plaintiff that because of her marital relationship with her husband, she would have to be fired too, despite the lack of any wrongdoing on her part. The defendant moved to dismiss the claim, but the Court refused to, finding that there were credible allegations of violations of the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance and the Sex Discrimination Ordinance.



Sit Ka Yin Priscilla v. Equal Opportunities Commission Court of Appeal (2011)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff was a former employee of the defendant. She alleged that the defendant had unlawfully discriminated against her because of her gender. Following poor performance reviews, the plaintiff had been fired by the defendant. She pointed to disparate treatment of her versus a male colleague, who despite having had multiple complaints made against him (while there were none against her) had received better performance reviews than the plaintiff. The court denied the plaintiff’s claims, relying in part on nine allegations of substandard performance that had been made against her.



Lau Hoi Man Kathy v. Emaster Consultants Ltd, District Court (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The defendant was an employment consultancy company that worked on behalf of various Hong Kong government agencies. The plaintiff was an employee of the defendant, who worked under a one-year contract. The plaintiff’s contract was renewed, with a start-date immediately following the end-date of the original contract. The plaintiff subsequently informed the defendant that she was pregnant. The defendant rescinded the renewal of the contract, on the grounds that the plaintiff had been dishonest in informing the employer of her pregnancy. The plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission, claiming that the defendant had violated the Sex Discrimination Ordinance. To resolve the complaint, the defendant proposed a new contract, which the plaintiff accepted. The plaintiff later applied for maternity leave, but was denied by the defendant, who informed her that she did not satisfy the requirement of continuous employment prior to the request (due to a one-day gap between the original contract’s end-date and the new contract’s start-date). The court found that the defendant’s imposition of a one-day gap was a discriminatory act that was prohibited by Sections 8 and 11 of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance.



Caeiro v. Tecnosolar S.A., Caso No. SEF-0013-000001 / 2015 Tribunal Apelaciones Trabajo 2ºT (Second Labor Court of Appeals) (2015)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff sued the defendant in Civil Labor Court for damages suffered because of sexual harassment in the workplace. The plaintiff was an employee of the defendant for 13 years, always received good performance reviews, and was promoted. One of the company’s directors continuously harassed her in the workplace for over two years even though the plaintiff rejected his propositions. Over the course of those two years, the director sent several inappropriate text messages and emails to the plaintiff, to which she never responded. On one occasion, he sent an email with more than 70 pictures of sexual content to the plaintiff. After this incident, the plaintiff filed a formal complaint with one of the company’s executives who asked the director to apologize, but did not take any additional action. The plaintiff then quit her job and sued her employer for sexual harassment in the workplace. The Trial Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and awarded her UR$ 880.272 pesos and a 10% administrative fine against the defendant. The defendant appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to find for the plaintiff and that, if anything, the plaintiff had consented to the director’s advances. The Appeals Court analyzed all the unanswered harassing emails and messages sent to the plaintiff and determined that the appeal had no basis. The court determined that the director’s conduct qualified as sexual harassment in the workplace per Law No. 18.561 and that his conduct had effectively created a hostile work environment for the plaintiff, which had forced her to quit her job. Therefore, The Appeals Court affirmed the Trial Court’s award.

La demandante demandó al acusado en el Tribunal de Trabajo Civil por los daños sufridos por el acoso sexual en el lugar de trabajo. La demandante era empleada del acusado durante 13 años, siempre recibió buenas evaluaciones de desempeño y fue promovida. Uno de los directores de la compañía la acosó continuamente en el lugar de trabajo durante más de dos años, a pesar de que la demandante rechazó sus propuestas. En el transcurso de esos dos años, el director envió varios mensajes de texto y correos electrónicos inapropiados al la demandante, a lo que ella nunca respondió. En una ocasión, envió un correo electrónico con más de 70 imágenes de contenido sexual a la demandante. Después de este incidente, la demandante presentó una queja formal ante uno de los ejecutivos de la compañía que le pidió disculpas al director, pero no tomó ninguna medida adicional. La demandante luego renunció a su trabajo y demandó a su empleador por acoso sexual en el lugar de trabajo. El Tribunal de Primera Instancia falló a favor de la demandante y le otorgó UR $ 880.272 pesos y una multa administrativa del 10% contra el acusado. El acusado apeló, argumentando que no había pruebas suficientes y que, en todo caso, la demandante había dado su consentimiento a los avances del director. El Tribunal de Apelaciones analizó todos los correos electrónicos y mensajes de acoso no respondidos enviados a la demandante y determinó que la apelación no tenía fundamento. El tribunal determinó que la conducta del director calificaba como acoso sexual en el lugar de trabajo según la Ley N ° 18.561 y que su conducta había creado efectivamente un ambiente de trabajo hostil para la demandante, lo que la había obligado a renunciar a su trabajo. Por lo tanto, el Tribunal de Apelaciones confirmó la conclusión del Tribunal de Primera Instancia.



Makafane v. Zhongxian Investment Pty Ltd. Labour Court of Lesotho (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The applicant was dismissed by her employer, the respondent, because of operational requirements. The applicant was employed by the respondent from 1 November 2007 until her dismissal on 24 October 2012. The applicant claimed that she was dismissed unfairly because she was pregnant. Prior to her dismissal, the applicant delivered a letter from the Qacha’s Nek Hospital stating that she was pregnant and would be required to attend monthly clinics until she delivered her baby. The respondent then dismissed the applicant, claiming that her employment could not continue because of her pregnancy. The Labour Court referred to subsection 3(d) of the Labour Code Order 24 of 1992, which provides that pregnancy, among others, does not constitute a valid reason for terminating employment. The court stated that this type of dismissal carried an element of discrimination, the freedom against which is protected by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the highest law of the land. The court held that the dismissal of the applicant was unfair, that the respondent must reinstate her to her former position, and that the respondent pay for her lost earnings following dismissal.



Phaila v. Director General National Security Services High Court of Lesotho (2008)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The applicant, a married woman, was a member of the National Security Services stationed at Maseru. On 4 May 2007 she received a letter from the respondent notifying her of her transfer from Maseru to Mafeteng, though the transfer was not implemented. The transfer letter followed a complaint of sexual harassment lodged by the applicant against one of her superiors. The applicant had lodged the complaint in April 2007, and it was duly attended to. A Commission of Enquiry was set up to investigate the matter, but no report was published nor furnished to the applicant despite her numerous requests. The applicant argued that, among other reasons, the transfer was unlawful because it was not bona fide and was intended to serve as a punishment for lodging the complaint of sexual harassment. The applicant stated that she had no problem leaving Maseru but that she had only received two weeks’ notice in which to do so. The respondent did not deny that the complaint of sexual harassment or its failure to furnish the applicant with a report. The High Court found that the transfer was mala fide as the applicant was not afforded a hearing prior to such transfer, the report was unreasonably withheld, and she was not afforded enough time to prepare herself and her family to move to that new station. The court declared the decision to transfer the applicant to Mafeteng null and void.



McCauley v. Club Resort Holdings Pty Ltd. Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (2013)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The complainant worked at the Club Resort Holdings Pty Ltd., the respondent.  She was working in a cold larder preparing food when a colleague sexually harassed her.  The complainant sought an investigation by their employer.  The complainant alleged that the employer improperly conducted this investigation, resulting in further distress for the complainant and her needing to take several months of work.  Ultimately, she resigned.  The complainant also alleged that their mutual employer was vicariously liable for these acts as a result of a failure to take “reasonable steps” to prevent such acts.  The Tribunal awarded damages to the complainant, finding that: (i) the complainant was sexually harassed by her colleague; (ii) the sexual harassment constituted sex discrimination; (iii) the harassment constituted age discrimination; (iv) that the complainant was not victimized by her employers because she brought a sexual harassment complaint; and (v) respondent did not take reasonable steps to prevent the sexual harassment. 



Du Bois-Hammond v. Ariel Anti-Discrimination Tribunal Queensland (2004)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The complainant worked as a Reservations Manager at the Raging Thunder Pty where both respondents, Cole and Ariel, were directors. The complainant became pregnant and went on maternity leave in agreement with the directors that she would return to the company at the same position after her maternity leave. Closer to the date when the complainant was about to return back from her maternity leave, she contacted Mr. Cole and discussed the possibility of returning on a part-time basis, but Mr. Cole informed her it was not possible for a managerial position to be part-time. The complainant tried to contact Mr. Cole again to inform him that she was willing to work full-time, but could not reach him, so she sent him the message through the receptionist. After several calls with Mr. Cole and without a definitive answer on her return date to work, Mr. Ariel called the complainant to inform her of a company restructuring and that her position was no longer available and that the two newly introduced positions were already filled by her colleagues. The complainant asked if they were going to offer any similar positions, but Mr. Ariel told her they had no more positions and he would not create one for her. The complainant suffered emotional distress and financial loss due to becoming redundant, therefore filed for this complaint seeking compensation. The complainant alleged that, due to her pregnancy and maternity leave, the respondents (i) failed to discuss the terms of her returning to work; (ii) failed to discuss her offer to work part-time;(iii) failed to appoint her in the new position of Call Center Manager and appointed Ms. S. instead; (iv) failed to appoint her in the new created position of 2IC and appointed Ms. G.; and, (v) failed to offer her an alternative position. The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal did not find the respondents liable for all of the complainant’s allegations, but ruled that the company and Mr. Ariel failed to offer the complainant the 2IC position after restructuring even though she was more experienced and familiar with this role than Ms. G., who was only covering for the complainant during her maternity leave.  Thus, the Tribunal found that the reason for not offering this position to the complainant was due to her maternity leave.  The company and Mr. Ariel also failed to offer the complainant any alternative position, again due to her maternity leave, and therefore her return was not considered while planning the restructuring of the company. The Tribunal found that respondents did not discriminate against complainant in conversations about her returning to work, in not discussing her offer to work part-time, in choosing to restructure, or in failing to appoint her in the Call Center Manager position under the Anti-Discriminatory Act 1991. However, the Tribunal did find that if complainant had not been on maternity leave at the time of the restructuring, she would have been offered the 2IC position, and that decision constituted pregnancy discrimination on the part of the first and third respondents.  Also, the Tribunal found the failure to offer complainant a suitable alternative position constituted pregnancy discrimination.  Therefore, the Tribunal ruled a compensation sum to be paid the complainant.



McRostie v. Boral Resources Anti-Discrimination Tribunal Queensland (1999)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The complainant was an employee of the respondent company. The complainant filed this complaint against the respondent primarily for appointing a man, J., in the position of Administration Manager without advertising the position and therefore not giving the complainant an opportunity to compete for the position. The complaint rested on the following: (i) discriminating in complainant’s salary because  J., even though he held positions of similar ranking and job descriptions over the years, always received a higher salary than the complainant by at least $5,000; (ii) removing complainant’s name from the list of attendees to the Perth Conference of the Institute of Quarrying; (iii) not giving her the opportunity to relieve her line manager from his duties during his absence and giving this task to J.; (iv) deciding not to give her the task of delivering a presentation even though she was the project coordinator and instead giving it to J.; (v) placing J. on the Archipegalo Project and denying complainant’s request for leave time; and (vi) selecting J. to conduct a computer training when complainant had expertise in the area.  The complainant suffered from emotional distress and subsequently resigned from her position.  The complainant sought compensation for the ongoing financial loss caused by not finding a full-time employment since her resignation. The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal did not find discrimination on the part of respondent based on complainant’s allegations, except for two years of salary discrimination.  Accordingly, the Tribunal ordered the respondent to pay the complainant a compensation sum for the difference in the salaries within 30 days.



Brown v. Moore Supreme Court of Queensland (1996)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The respondent was a married aboriginal woman employed at the The Black Community Housing Service as a bookkeeper since 1985 and later as an Administrator until her resignation in August 1992. The first appellant became the director of the Housing Service in December 1990, and the second appellant was the employer, The Black Community Housing Service. The respondent started receiving calls from the appellant where he expressed his love to her and made inappropriate sexual remarks. The appellant also made inappropriate sexual remarks to the respondent when attending meetings together, on other occasions he gifted her “sexually explicit figurines,” and “touched her sexually suggestively on numbers of occasions.” The respondent did not confront the appellant in fear of losing her job, but she did complain to the board of directors who took no action against the appellant. Respondent filed a complaint against the appellant on the basis of sexual harassment and discrimination, and ultimately resigned when the board of directors would not remove appellant from his position while the investigation was underway. The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal found the claims of the respondent to be true. The Tribunal also learned that the employer did not have any policies on discrimination or sexual harassment, nor provided its employees with a training regarding the same. Since these are considered unlawful acts under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, the Tribunal ordered the employer and the appellant pay the respondent compensation for damages caused by the discrimination and sexual harassment. The first appellant filed this appeal stating that the Tribunal had no evidence that the respondent suffered any hurt and/or humiliation, nor that the respondent’s resignation was due to the behaviour of the appellant. The first appellant also objected on the compensation amount being “excessive in the circumstances.” The second appellant appealed, stating that the employer was not vicariously liable for the acts of the first appellant. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the orders of the Tribunal.



Mount Isa Mines, Ltd. v. Hopper Supreme Court of Queensland (1998)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The respondent was employed as an apprentice by the first appellant, the second appellant was her supervisor, and the third, fourth, and fifth appellants were her co-apprentices. Over the course of the respondent’s employment with the first appellant, she was subject to unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment by the third, fourth, and fifth appellants (among others). The complaint by the respondent included her receiving sexual comments and unequal treatment by her superiors and co-workers because she was a female, and many of her peers told her that she was not fit for her job because she was a female. Examples of these acts were a display of pictures and posters of half-dressed women in various parts of the workplace, addressing the respondent in the presence of others at a training with inappropriate comments, not giving the respondent the same work opportunities as her male peers, and providing her with unfavourable report cards that included clear comments against her as a female. The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal in the first instance found that the first appellant was negligent in providing the proper training to its employees on anti-discrimination and sexual harassment at the work place, subsequently allowing the other appellants to act in a discriminatory way towards the respondent because of her gender. Since these are considered unlawful acts under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, the Tribunal ordered the appellants to pay the respondent compensation  for damages caused by discrimination and sexual harassment. The appellants’ filed this appeal objecting to the Tribunal’s findings. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the orders of the Tribunal.



X. v. Y. Cour du travail de Bruxelles (Brussels Labor Court) (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

A woman informed her employer of the fact that she was pregnant. Two months later, her employer fired her due to alleged restructuring of the company. Subsequently, the appellant started proceedings before the Court to receive an indemnity.  The appellant claims that she has a right of indemnity based on the right of pregnant women to be protected against redundancy or, following the right to be protected against discrimination. The court held for the appellant and ordered the previous employer to pay the appellant a sum of EUR 33,135.00 and EUR 703.24 and to deliver to the appellant requested social documents.



The State of New South Wales v. Amery High Court of Australia (2006)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The policy and practice of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training restricted pay scales of temporary teachers to level 8, which excluded temporary staff from the highest level of pay. The applicants, 13 female temporary teachers, sued, arguing that only permanent staff had access to the highest pay rates and that there was a gender imbalance between permanent and temporary teachers. Of the 13 female teachers, 11 took temporary rather than permanent positions due to family responsibilities and two applied for permanent positions, but those two, due to family reasons, limited the areas in which they could work. The court considered that making over-award payments to only women would be discriminatory against men, whereas the second option of making over-award payments to those who had family commitments would be difficult to formulate and to apply in practice. As such, the court held that there was no indirect discrimination.



Australian Iron & Steel Pty. Ltd. v. Banovic High Court of Australia (1989)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The case concerned a challenge to the employer’s retrenchment policy. The applicant alleged that the criterion was discriminatory as substantially higher proportion of men could comply than women. Although the retrenchment applied to both sexes, there were fewer women in positions of seniority who were immune from the retrenchment because the employer had a history of discriminating in its hiring decisions. As such, the court found indirect discrimination because the retrenchment policy unlawfully maintained discriminatory circumstances.



Decision of the Constitutional Tribunal, Case 1708/2013 Constitutional Tribunal (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff in this action was an elected councilor in the municipality of Tolata. She was forced to sign a letter of resignation under pressure from a group of intruders who had entered the session room of the municipal building. The plaintiff alleged that her rights relating to legal security in the exercise of a public function under Articles 46 and 144 of the constitution were violated and sought constitutional protection and the return to the office of municipal councilor of Tolata. The Constitutional Tribunal granted these requests.

La demandante en esta acción era un concejal electo en el municipio de Tolata. Se vio obligada a firmar una carta de renuncia bajo la presión de un grupo de intrusos que habían entrado en la sala de sesiones del edificio municipal. La demandante alegó que sus derechos relacionados con la seguridad jurídica en el ejercicio de una función pública en virtud de los Artículos 46 y 144 de la constitución fueron violados y solicitó protección constitucional y el regreso a la oficina del concejal municipal de Tolata. El Tribunal Constitucional concedió estas solicitudes.



邓亚娟邓与北京手挽手劳务派遣有限责任公司一般人格权纠纷,北京市第三中级人民法院 (Deng v. Beijing Shouwanshou Co. Ltd.) No. 3 Intermediate People's Court of Beijing Municipality (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff sued the defendants for infringing on her equal employment rights. The plaintiff alleged that the job description for the courier position included: “Eligibility: Men.”  When Deng went for an interview, she was advised that “we never have women couriers.”  She was subsequently informed that Beijing Postal could not authorize an employment contract for her because she is female. The plaintiff requested relief of, among other things, an official apology and 50,000 Chinese yuan as compensation of for mental distress.  The court of first instance held that the defendants infringed upon the plaintiff’s right of employment equality under the People’s Republic of China’s Employment Law. The Court also rejected the defendants’ argument that the courier position fit within the statutory exceptions under “Special Regulations on Protection of Female Workers,” which prohibits female workers from working in certain fields involving heavy manual labor. The Court of first instance awarded 2,000 Chinese yuan as compensation for mental distress but denied the request for an official apology. Both the plaintiff and defendants appealed.  The Intermediate People’s Court affirmed the lower court’s determination that a courier does not fit within the statutory exceptions for positions “unsuitable for women.” The court also held that compensation of 2,000 Chinese yuan was commensurate with the damages suffered by the plaintiff, and that there was insufficient ground to require an official apology from the defendants to the plaintiff.

就业歧视、性别歧视

原告诉称被告侵犯了她与男子平等的就业权利。原告称被告公司招聘快递员广告的任职资格为“男”。在原告到被告公司面试时,被告人事部称:“我们这儿从来没有过女快递员。”之后被告公司称因为原告是女性所以总公司(邮政公司)不批准签合同。原告的诉讼请求包括被告进行书面赔礼道歉和精神损害抚慰金人民币50000元。原审法院认为根据《中华人民共和国劳动法》,被告侵犯了原告与男子平等的就业权利。被告辩称快递员职位属于《女职工劳动保护特别规定》下禁止女性从事的体力劳动。原审法院驳回了被告的辩解。原审法院判决被告赔偿原告精神损害抚慰金2000元,并驳回了原告要求被告赔礼道歉的诉讼请求。原告与被告均不服原审判决并提起上诉。中级人民法院维持了原审法院的判决,认为快递员职位不属于法律禁止女性从事的体力劳动。中级人民法院认为精神损害抚慰金2000元和原告受到的伤害程度能够匹配,而书面赔礼道歉的要求依据不足。



梁海媚与广东惠食佳经济发展有限公司、广州越秀区名豪轩鱼翅海鲜大酒楼人格权纠纷,广东省广州市中级人民法院 (Liang v. Guangdong Huishijia Economic Development Co. Ltd.) Intermediate People's Court of Guangzhou Municipality (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff sued the defendants for infringing upon her right to employment equality. The plaintiff alleged that the online advertisement posted by the defendants, to which Liang responded, required kitchen apprentices to be “men between the ages of 18 and 25.” The plaintiff further alleged that when she went to the restaurant, the receptionist informed her of the restaurant’s policy that “all employees in the kitchen should be men, even if a woman possesses the qualifications of a chef.” The plaintiff alleged that the defendants’ behavior violates Articles XII and XIII of the People’s Republic of China’s Employment Law, which provide that potential employees should not be discriminated against on the bases of ethnicity, race, sex, and religious beliefs. As relief, the plaintiff requested (1) an official apology from the defendants; (2) 21 Chinese yuan in damages for costs incurred by responding to the advertisement; and (3) 40,800 Chinese yuan in damages for emotional distress. The court of first instance held that the defendants’ actions constituted gender-based discrimination against the plaintiff. However, it found insufficient evidence for the plaintiff’s emotional distress and awarded 2,000 Chinese yuan in damages. It also denied Liang’s request for an official apology. Both the plaintiff and defendants appealed.  Relying on the explicit requirement in the advertisement and the receptionist’s explanations that the candidate be a man, the Intermediate People’s Court held that the defendants’ exclusion based on the plaintiff’s gender was unlawful and unreasonable and constituted gender-based employment discrimination. With respect to relief, the Intermediate People’s Court held that under the Supreme People’s Court’s interpretations, emotional distress normally should not be compensated in monetary terms unless there are severe consequences.  The Intermediate People’s Court held that compensation of 2,000 Chinese yuan was within the discretion of the lower court, and thus upheld the amount. The Intermediate People’s Court, however ordered the defendants to issue an official apology to the plaintiff in newspapers in the Guangzhou area.

就业歧视、性别歧视

原告诉称被告侵犯了她与男子平等的就业权利。原告称自己对被告的网上招聘广告进行了应聘。招聘广告要求厨房学徒须为“男性,18-25岁”。原告称在她去被告酒楼时,被告知公司规定厨房不找女工,即使具备厨师证也不行。原告称被告违反了《中华人民共和国劳动法》第十二条和第十三条的规定。法律规定,劳动者就业,不因民族、种族、性别、宗教信仰不同而受歧视。原告的诉讼请求包括(1)判决被告书面赔礼道歉;(2)判决被告连带赔偿原告因应聘产生的经济损失21元;(3)判决被告赔偿原告精神损害抚慰金40800元。原审法院判决被告的行为构成了对被告的性别歧视,但原告提交的证据不足以支持原告精神损害抚慰金的诉讼请求,并判决被告支付原告经济损失2000元。原审法院还驳回了原告要求被告书面赔礼道歉的诉讼请求。原告与被告均不服原审判决并提起上诉。根据被告招聘广告和前台工作人员对只招聘男性厨师的解释,中级人民法院认定被告对原告进行限制及排斥的行为不具有合法性,并且损害了女性应聘者的就业平等权。就赔偿问题,中级人民法院判决,在最高法院的解释下,因侵权致人精神损害,但未造成严重后果,受害人请求精神损害赔偿的,一般不予支持。原审法院酌情由被告赔偿原告精神损害2000元,属于原审法院自由裁量权范围,中级人民法院予以维持。中级人民法院判决被告向原告作出书面赔礼道歉。



Saks v. Franklin Covey Co. United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2003)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff’s employee health benefit plan denied coverage for certain infertility procedures that can only be performed on women, including in vitro fertilization (“IVF”). She sued her employer for unlawful discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Title VII, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and state law. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant-employer. On the plaintiff’s appeal, the Second Circuit analyzed the issue differently than the district court but ultimately affirmed the grant of summary judgment, finding that the health plan’s exclusion of coverage for surgical implantation procedures limited its infertility procedures for male and female employees equally and as a result did not amount to unlawful discrimination.



Lavin-McEleney v. Marist College United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2001)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff, a female professor sued the defendant, alleging that her salary raises were less than those of comparable male professors in violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII. At trial, both parties’ experts provided statistical evidence based on multiple regression analyses controlled to eliminate any observed gender disparity, including rank, years of service, division, tenure status, and degrees earned. Both experts found a difference in pay between comparable men and women, but disagreed about the statistical significance of that difference. The District Court for the Southern District of New York entered judgment for the plaintiff. The defendant appealed, arguing that the plaintiff had failed to make a case for discrimination because she had not identified a specific higher-paid male professor in her department and that she had impermissibly compared herself to a male employee statistical composite rather than an actual male employee. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that the plaintiff had identified a specific male comparator since only two other professors were comparable in each of the five categories identified by the expert witnesses, and one of them was a male professor who received higher pay. The Second Circuit further held that it was proper for the professor to introduce



Raniola v. Bratton United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2001)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff, a female police officer sued a police department, alleging hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and retaliation claims under Title VII. The plaintiff alleged that she suffered years of abuse because she was a woman, including derogatory remarks, disproportionately burdensome assignments, sabotage of her work, threats, and false accusations of misconduct. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law. The Second Circuit reviewed all the evidence in the light most favorable to the officer and found that a reasonable jury could have arrived at a different conclusion than the district court. The Second Circuit determined that the evidence presented by the officer formed a sufficient basis for a reasonable jury to conclude that she was subjected to hostile work environment because she was a woman and that she was suspended, put on probation, and then terminated in retaliation for having complained about her treatment. The Second Circuit vacated the judgment and remanded the claims for retrial.



Berning v. State Department of Correction Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Nashville (1999)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff, the manager of the Tennessee Department of Correction’s Murfreesboro probation office, was fired after an anonymous letter was sent to the department alleging that the office was rife with sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment. An administrative law judge reviewed the plaintiff’s termination and found it to be warranted. The plaintiff appealed the administrative law judge’s decision to the Davidson County Chancery Court, which affirmed the order. The Court of Appeals of Tennessee affirmed the Chancery Court’s decision, holding in part that the conduct for which he was fired was not protected speech under the First Amendment.



Spann v. Abraham Court of Appeals of Tennessee (1999)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff, a cook and assistant manager at the defendant’s pizza franchise, informed her employer that she was pregnant. The defendant offered her the position of a backup night driver—a position she had held before—and proposed that his son replace her as the assistant manager while she took maternity leave. When she refused, the defendant informed her that if she did not accept the temporary reassignment, he had no other position for her. She quit soon after and sued in the Davidson County Circuit Court for pregnancy discrimination in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”). The Court entered a directed verdict in favor of her employer, and the Court of Appeals of Tennessee affirmed, finding that the plaintiff had failed to establish a prima facie case that the defendant discriminated against her because she was pregnant.



Bundy v. First Tennessee Bank National Association Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Jackson (2007)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff, a 59 year-old male employee, was fired following his failure to disclose documents he received from a customer. He filed suit in the Shelby County Circuit Court alleging both age and sex discrimination. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of his employer, and the Court of Appeals of Tennessee affirmed because the plaintiff was neither replaced by a younger female employee nor was he similarly situated to a younger female employee.



Smith v. City of Chattanooga Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville (2007)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff was a police officer with the Chattanooga Police Department. After repeated sexual harassment by a fellow officer, she filed a sexual harassment complaint against the officer, and he was transferred to a different team. However, he still worked in close physical proximity to the plaintiff and his presence intimidated her. She filed suit in the Hamilton County Chancery Court, alleging hostile work environment and sexual harassment in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”). The Court granted a directed verdict in favor of the police department, but the Court of Appeals of Tennessee vacated the verdict, finding that reasonable minds could differ on whether the employer established the affirmative defense that it took appropriate corrective action.



Bellomy v. Autozone, Inc. Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff was the defendant’s employee. She applied for the position of store manager, but the promotion was given to a younger male employee with less experience. She sued her employer in the Hamilton County Chancery Court alleging sex discrimination and other tort claims. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer, but the Court of Appeals of Tennessee reversed and remanded her sex discrimination claims, finding that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the plaintiff was qualified for the store manager position.



Hartman v. Tennessee Board of Regents Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Nashville (2011)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff was a long-time employee of Tennessee Tech University’s facilities department, where she managed inventory and was required to make purchases of supplies and equipment. After she made a purchase that exceeded her $5,000 purchasing authority, and even though she had recruited multiple bids for the product and chose the best supplier, her employment was terminated. The plaintiff filed suit in the Putnam County Chancery Court for gender discrimination. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The Court of Appeals of Tennessee affirmed, finding that the plaintiff had not sufficiently alleged that a similarly-situated male employee was treated more favorably, even though she had named a male employee who was not fired after making a purchase that exceeded his purchasing authority.



Castro v. TX District Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Jackson (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff worked at-will as a sales representative for the defendant. Shortly after she started working there, she discovered she was pregnant and informed her supervisor. Shortly after that, her supervisor informed her that her yearly salary would be halved, allegedly because she had failed to meet sales quotas. When she contacted the CEO (with whom she had interviewed) about her pay reduction, her supervisor met informed her that it was inappropriate to go over his head. After renegotiating the terms of her employment, her employment was soon terminated, again allegedly for failing to meet sales quotas. The plaintiff filed suit in the Shelby County Chancery Court for of sex and pregnancy discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer, but the Court of Appeals of Tennessee reversed, holding that the defendant did not establish that there were no male comparators that were treated more favorably than the plaintiff.



Pierce v. City of Humboldt Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Jackson (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff was a police officer with the Humboldt Police Department. While off duty, she ran into an ex-boyfriend against whom she had a protective order. Based on this encounter, she filed a criminal charge against him for violating the order. The chief of police commenced an internal affairs investigation into her charges, and her ex-boyfriend filed a criminal charge against her for filing a false charge. While both charges were pending, the plaintiff informed the chief of police that she was pregnant. Once the internal affairs investigation was completed, the plaintiff’s employment was terminated. She filed suit in the Gibson County Circuit Court for discrimination based on gender and pregnancy in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”). The Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer, but the Court of Appeals of Tennessee reversed and remanded, finding that the plaintiff had sufficiently alleged that she was treated differently than similarly situated male police officers.



Bazemore v. Performance Food Group, Inc. Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville (2015)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a sales manager. Another sales manager in her office sexually harassed her verbally and physically. He repeatedly made sexually explicit comments towards her and grabbed her buttocks on one occasion. The plaintiff sued in the Hamilton County Circuit Court, alleging sexual harassment and constructive discharge in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”). The Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer, and the Court of Appeals of Tennessee affirmed, finding that the employer took reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment.



Sanders v. Lanier Supreme Court of Tennessee (1998)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff worked as a youth services officer with the Dyer County Juvenile Court, where she alleged that a Chancery Court judge sexually harassed her verbally and physically. When she rejected his advances, the judge demoted her from her supervisory position, denied her salary increases, and altered her job requirements weekly. She sued the judge for quid-pro-quo sexual harassment, in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”). The Dyer County Chancery Court determined that the State was not the plaintiff’s employer for purposes of the THRA and dismissed her complaint for failing to state a cause of action. The Court of Appeals of Tennessee reversed and the Supreme Court of Tennessee affirmed the Court of Appeals decision. The Supreme Court of Tennessee held that the plaintiff did state a cause of action because the State was the plaintiff’s employer and the defendant was a supervisor acting in the scope of his employment, making the employer strictly liable under an “alter-ego” theory of liability.



Anderson v. Save-A-Lot, Ltd. Supreme Court of Tennessee (1999)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff was the co-manager of a Save-A-Lot grocery store in Memphis, where her immediate supervisor sexually harassed her daily and threatened to kill her if she reported the harassment. She reported him and transferred to another store, but suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) and other psychological problems for which she sought medical treatment. She filed a complaint for workers compensation, which is at issue in this appeal, as well as a claim in federal court for sexual harassment in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Shelby County Chancery Court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer on her worker’s compensation claim, finding that that her injuries did not arise out of her employment. The Special Workers Compensation Appeals Panel reversed and remanded, but the Supreme Court of Tennessee reversed the Panel’s ruling, holding that her employment was not the “but for” cause of her injuries.



Parker v. Warren County Utility District Supreme Court of Tennessee (1999)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff worked as a bookkeeper for the defendant. The general manager of the district repeatedly touched her inappropriately and made inappropriate remarks to her. Parker made numerous complaints to her immediate supervisor, but the harassing conduct continued until she resigned. Soon after, she sued the defendant for sexual harassment in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act in the Warren County Chancery Court. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, finding that it took prompt corrective action in response to plaintiff’s complaints, thereby establishing a complete affirmative defense. The Court of Appeals of Tennessee reversed, finding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendant acted promptly and adequately. The Supreme Court of Tennessee held that an employer is subject to vicarious liability for actionable hostile work environment sexual harassment by a supervisor with immediate, or successively higher, authority over employee, but that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the employer exercised reasonable care. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings.



Middlekauff v. Allstate Insurance Co. Supreme Court of Virginia (1994)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff sued her former supervisor and former employer for intentional infliction of emotional distress due to her supervisor’s harassment, which consisted of sexist and belittling remarks over an extended period of time.  The lower courts held that her claim was barred by the Virginia’s Workers Compensation Act, which supplies remedied for injuries by accident, arising out of and in, the course of the employment or occupational disease but excluded any other remedies for such injuries. The issue before the Court was whether a pattern of harassment constituted the type of injury for which a lawsuit had to be filed under the Workers Compensation Act only. In reversing the lower courts’ decision, the court overruled its prior decision in Haddon v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 389 S.E.2d 712 (Va. 1990), which held that a pattern of sexual harassment constituted an “injury by accident” and thus could only be brought under the Workers’ Compensation Act.  The Court reasoned that Haddon was irreconcilable with long-established precedent holding that a “gradually incurred” injury over an extended period of time did not constitute an “injury by accident” and was thus not covered by the Act’s exclusion of other remedies.  The Court’s decision allowed for a tort cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress based on a pattern of sexual harassment in the workplace.   



Lockhart v. Commonwealth Education Systems Corp. Supreme Court of Virginia (1994)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Two plaintiffs, A and B, sued their former employer for wrongful termination, one based on racial discrimination and the other based on gender discrimination. Plaintiff B alleged that her supervisor touched her sexually without her consent and, when she complained, he fired her.  The lower courts dismissed the actions, concluding that, pursuant to the employment-at-will doctrine, the plaintiffs were at-will employees who could be terminated for any or no reason at all.  The issue before the Court was whether workplace discrimination could constitute a public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine and whether the availability of federal statutory remedies precluded state tort lawsuits. In reversing lower courts’ decision, the Court cited its precedents recognizing a public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine and concluded that it is “[w]ithout question” that it is the public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia that individuals within the state are “entitled to pursue employment free of discrimination based on race or gender.”  The Court rejected the employer’s argument that the availability of federal statutory remedies should preclude a state tort cause of action based on wrongful discharge, explaining that it is not uncommon for injuries resulting from the same set of operative facts to give rise to multiple remedies.



Robinson v. Salvation Army Supreme Court of Virginia (2016)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff sued her former employer, alleging wrongful termination because she refused her supervisor’s request for unmarried sex in violation of a statute that proscribed fornication. The plaintiff alleged that her supervisor also made frequent lewd requests and comments when he was alone with her as well as suggestive gestures and inquiries concerning her romantic life. After plaintiff played secret recordings of these conversations to human resources she was terminated without explanation.  The issue before the court was whether termination for refusing to engage in unmarried sex could be the basis of a public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine. In rejecting the plaintiff’s claim, the court reasoned that a public policy argument cannot be based on an unconstitutional statute. Further, that a statute that sought to regulate private consensual sexual activity between adults was unconstitutional. Here, plaintiff could not base her claim on the statute that forbade unmarried sex because such a statute sought to regulate private consensual activity between adults and was therefore unconstitutional. This case is significant because the court reached this conclusion even though the conduct at issue was economically coercive and the same alleged facts could arguably have supported a wrongful discharge claim based on statutes concerning gender discrimination or “criminal acts” of “adultery and lewd and lascivious cohabitation,” statutes, which the court did not purport to overrule.   



Hoffman-La Roche Inc. v. Zeltwanger Supreme Court of Texas (2004)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff-respondent worked as a sales representative for Hoffman-La Roche Inc, the defendant-petitioner. The respondent alleged that her supervisor told sexually inappropriate jokes and asked inappropriate questions on multiple occasions. She submitted complaints to Human Resources, which began an investigation. During the respondent’s performance review, her supervisor yelled at her and repeatedly criticized her performance, giving her a below average rating. Shortly afterwards, the petitioner fired both the respondent’s supervisor and the respondent. The respondent then filed a complaint for sexual harassment with the Texas Commission on Human Rights. At issue for the Supreme Court was whether the respondent could recover damages for emotional distress due to sexual harassment under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act and common tort law. The Court of Appeals held that the respondent could recover under both statutory and common law, awarding damages. The Texas Supreme Court reversed, holding that when the complaint is for sexual harassment, the plaintiff must proceed solely under a statutory claim unless there are additional facts, unrelated to sexual harassment, to support an independent tort claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court found that the respondent could not identify additional extreme and outrageous conduct by the petitioner to support an independent intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. The Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded to the trial court.



San Antonio Water System v. Nicholas Supreme Court of Texas (2015)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The petitioner claimed that she was terminated from her position because she confronted a male vice president about his repeated lunch invitations to two female employees outside his department. The Texas Supreme court held that no reasonable person could have believed the invitations gave rise to an actionable sexual harassment claim. Accordingly, the Court held the petitioner did not engage in a protected activity under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act when she confronted the vice president about his behavior. The Court reversed the lower court and dismissed the claim.



DeCamp v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. Supreme Court of Rhode Island (2005)

Employment discrimination

A female employee sued her employer and supervisor for sex discrimination in violation of the Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act and the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act. In deciding the case, the court set out a three-step approach for determining liability. First, the employee must establish a prima facie case of gender discrimination. In a gender discrimination analysis based upon a termination, the establishment of a prima facie case requires the plaintiff to show that: “(1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) she was performing her job at a level that rules out the possibility that she was fired for inadequate job performance; (3) she suffered an adverse job action by her employer; and (4) her employer sought a replacement for her with roughly equivalent qualifications.” Once this “not especially onerous” burden has been met, the employer must offer a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action. Finally, the employee is required to convince the judge or jury that that the legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason proffered by the employer is merely a pretext for her termination.



Williams v. General Motors Corp. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (1999)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff-appellant, who worked for General Motors for more than 30 years, sued the company for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, claiming that she experienced a hostile work environment and retaliation. She alleged that she suffered a variety of sexually harassing comments, as well as other slights such as being the only employee denied a break and the only employee without a key to the office. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer on both her hostile work environment and retaliation claims. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment on the plaintiff’s retaliation claim, but reversed and remanded the lower court’s ruling on her hostile work environment claim, finding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether her allegations were sufficiently severe or pervasive enough to violate Title VII.



Smith v. City of Salem United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2004)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff-appellant a trans woman lieutenant in the Salem, Ohio, Fire Department, sued the City of Salem, alleging discrimination based on sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, after she began expressing a more feminine appearance at work on a full-time basis, her co-workers informed her that she was not acting masculine enough. She then notified her immediate supervisor that she had been diagnosed with gender identity disorder and that she planned to physically transition from male to female. The plaintiff’s supervisor met with the City of Salem’s Law Director and other municipal officials, who required the plaintiff to undergo three psychological evaluations. The plaintiff retained legal counsel, received a “right to sue” letter from the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, and was shortly thereafter suspended for one 24-hour shift, allegedly in retaliation for retaining counsel. The district court dismissed his complaint, but the Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the plaintiff sufficiently plead a prima facie case of retaliation under Title VII, as well as claims of sex stereotyping and gender discrimination.



Barnes v. City of Cincinnati United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2005)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff-appellant, a trans (“a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual”) police officer, applied to be promoted to sergeant within the Cincinnati Police Department. The plaintiff passed the sergeants exam but failed a rigorous training program and was denied promotion. The plaintiff sued the City of Cincinnati, alleging that the denial of her promotion was due to sex-based discrimination and failure to conform to male sex stereotypes, such as wearing makeup, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause. The district court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and awarded her $320,511 as well as attorney’s fees and costs. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that the plaintiff met all four requirements of a claim of sex discrimination: that the plaintiff is a member of a protected class, that she applied and was qualified for a promotion, that she was considered for and denied a promotion, and that other employees of similar qualifications who were not members of the protected class received promotions.



Thornton v. Federal Express Corp. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff-appellant, a former employee of FedEx, the defendant, was discharged when she did not return from work after a 16-month leave of absence. She took this leave because of stress she suffered after being sexually harassed by her immediate supervisor, and she did not return to work because her health care providers had not released her from treatment for panic disorder and fibromyalgia. The plaintiff sued for sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as discrimination based on disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of FedEx, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that the plaintiff did not establish either that she was disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act or that she suffered an adverse employment action.



Gilbert v. Country Music Association, Inc. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2011)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ, Sexual harassment

After the plaintiff-appellant, a theater professional who was openly homosexual, complained that a coworker had threatened him based on his sexual orientation and a union hiring hall of which the plaintiff was a member refused to provide him with work. Gilbert sued his union and a collection of various employers, alleging, among other claims, discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Sixth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. The court observed that, while Title VII prohibits sex discrimination, and that this prohibition includes “sex stereotyping” whereby a plaintiff suffers an adverse employment action due to his or her nonconformity with gender stereotypes. The court held that Gilbert had not plead a sex stereotyping claim since other than his sexual orientation, the plaintiff fit every male stereotype, and sexual orientation did not suffice to obtain recovery under Title VII: “[f]or all we know,” the Court stated, “Gilbert fits every ‘male stereotype’ save one—sexual orientation—and that does not suffice to obtain relief under Title VII.”



Kalich v. AT&T Mobility United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2012)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff-appellant sued his employer, AT&T, in state court under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, and AT&T removed the action to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiff alleged that his immediate supervisor made a series of sexually inappropriate comments to him over the course of a year that created a hostile work environment. These comments included calling him by a girl’s name and telling him he looked like a girl. The district court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that his supervisor’s conduct toward him was because of his gender. The appellate court noted that the plaintiff stated in his deposition that he believed that his supervisor made these derogatory comments because he knew or suspected that the plaintiff was gay and that sexual orientation discrimination was not a protected classification under Title VII or Michigan law.



EEOC v. New Breed Logistics United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2015)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff-appellant, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, initiated sexual harassment and retaliation claims under Title VII against New Breed Logistics, the defendant, on behalf of three employees. The plaintiff alleged that Calhoun, a supervisor at New Breed sexually harassed three female employees and then retaliated against the women after they complained. The plaintiff further alleged that Calhoun retaliated against a male employee who verbally objected to Calhoun’s harassment of the women. The evidence presented to the district court that showed that each woman communicated her intent to complain about Calhoun’s sexual harassment shortly after which all three women were fired or transferred. One of the women lodged a complaint through the company’s complaint line but the company asked Calhoun five questions about his conduct and determined there was no misconduct. A jury found the defendant liable under Title VII for Calhoun’s sexual harassment and retaliation, and the district court denied the defendant’s post-trial motions for a new trial and judgment as a matter of law. The district court determined that complaints to management and informal protests were protected activities under Title VII. Therefore, the three employees’ demand that Calhoun stop harassing them were considered protected activity under Title VII, and retaliation constituted a violation of Title VII. The defendant appealed, challenging the district court’s denial of its post-trial motions. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decisions, finding that sufficient evidence supported the district court’s rulings and that the district court did not abuse its discretion when providing instructions to the jury.



Ault v. Oberlin College United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2015)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff-appellants, three female dining services department employees, sued Oberlin College, the defendant alleging that they suffered various acts of sexual harassment at the hands of the executive chef of the private contractor, Bon Appetit, that operated the dining facilities. The plaintiffs brought this suit under Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code, which prohibits sexual harassment in the work place and holds employers responsible for sexual harassment committed by employees or nonemployees in the work place, where the employer knows or should have known but fails to intervene. The plaintiffs initially sued in state court, and the defendants removed. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed on all but one count. The court held that, with respect to one of the plaintiffs but not the other two, there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the conduct the employee endured was sufficiently severe or pervasive enough to affect the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.



Jackson v. VHS Detroit Receiving Hospital, Inc. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff-appellant worked as a mental health technician for the defendant, Detroit Receiving Hospital’s Mental Health Crisis Center. Her duties included assisting registered nurses with treating psychiatric patients. A few days after assisting a nurse with the mistaken discharge of a patient who should not have been discharged, the plaintiff’s employment was terminated, even though she consistently received high ratings on her performance evaluations. The plaintiff sued the defendant for sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, but the Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the plaintiff had established a prima facie case of sex discrimination, in part because two men committed “nearly identical” infractions of “comparable seriousness” and were not terminated like the plaintiff. The appellate court remanded the case for trial proceedings.



Simpson v. Vanderbilt University United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff-appellant was a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine who solicited clients for her own private business, which the defendant, Vanderbilt University, considered to be a violation of its Conflict of Interest Policy, its By-Laws, and its Participation Agreement. The defendant terminated the plaintiff’s employment and she sued the defendant, alleging that her termination was due to gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Tennessee Human Rights Act. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, holding that the plaintiff failed to identify a suitable male comparator and thus did not establish a prima facie case of discrimination. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding key differences between the plaintiff’s conduct and that of the male comparator she identified, including most notably the fact that the male comparator had disclosed his work outside of Vanderbilt University on his conflict of interest form.



Life Office of Namibia Ltd. (NamLife) v. Amakali Labour Court of Namibia (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The respondent was charged with two counts of sexual harassment of female coworkers and with the verbal abuse of another female coworker. His employer (the “company”) found that he had violated the company’s policies and fired him. The respondent brought a claim for wrongful termination to the Office of the Labour Commissioner, and the dispute was referred to arbitration. The arbitrator found in favor of the respondent and ordered the company to reinstate him and pay him N$102,000 in lost wages. The company appealed the decision to the courts. The judge overturned the arbitrator’s decision, finding that he overlooked numerous relevant facts in making his conclusions, which “no reasonable court or tribunal court have reached.” The court held that the company acted appropriately in terminating the respondent’s employment because sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace are serious offenses that create obstacles to equality in employment. 



H.V.N. v. EM-M Defensa-FAA and Others Cámara Nacional de Apelaciones en lo Contencioso Administrativo Federal (National Federal Administration Appeals Court) (2015)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff filed suit against her employer, the Ministry of Defense—Argentine Air Force, seeking damages for sexual harassment and workplace persecution because her supervisor made indecent proposals, threatened her employment if she did not accede to his demands, made sexually explicit comments, and impeded her advancement.  The trial court ruled against the plaintiff on the basis that (1) a psychological report indicated that she suffered from “moderate reactive development,” therefore making it impossible to determine the level of fault that corresponded to the alleged hostile conduct or to her “moderate reactive development,” (2) while certain testimony indicated the plaintiff was subject to certain “inconveniences” caused by her supervisor, the court found that these were insufficient to support a claim of sexual harassment or other unlawful conduct and (3) the plaintiff was therefore subject to a higher burden of proof in relation to the alleged conduct and that this burden was not met.   In reversing the trial court’s ruling, the appellate court noted that (1) workplace sexual harassment is characterized by extreme psychological violence in the workplace that is both systematic and prolonged and that is carried out for the purpose of devaluing, perturbing, or debasing the victim so that the victim abandons the workplace or accepts other workplace conditions, and (2) particular difficulties arise in proving that the offensive conduct took place. For this reason, the court noted, special importance must be given to testimony given by work colleagues, medical or psychological reports to determine the existence of physical or psychological damage and documentary evidence.  Specifically, the appellate court found that the plaintiff presented sufficient witness testimony, documentary evidence and psychological and accounting reports to sustain her claims. In addition to allowing damages, the appellate court ordered the defendants to pay costs.



De Sousa v. Administración de Parques Nacionales Camara Federal de San Martin (Federal Court of San Martin) (2018)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, International law

On July 6, 2016, the plaintiff notified the defendant-employer of her pregnancy and intention to take maternity leave.  As of the date of notification, the plaintiff held a temporary executive position.  On July 11, 2016, the defendant notified the plaintiff that her temporary designation as an executive was of no effect.  The defendant subsequently provided a maternity compensation package beginning on the date her temporary designation was revoked, but it did not reflect her higher earnings as a temporary executive.  The court of first instance granted the plaintiff maternity leave at a salary corresponding (1) to her executive status as from the date she provided notice until 30 days before the probable date of birth and (2) to her non-executive status during the 100 days following the birth of the plaintiff’s child.  On appeal, the plaintiff challenged the trial court’s ruling denying her executive pay for the 100-day period following the birth of her child, while the defendant challenged the trial court’s ruling granting the plaintiff executive pay from the date of notice of her pregnancy because of the subsequent cancellation of the plaintiff’s executive status on July 11, 2016.  The appellate court found in favor of the plaintiff, noting that (1) the Argentine Constitution provides for the full protection of women during pregnancy and breastfeeding, (2) the International Treaty for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (to which Argentina is a signatory) requires the adoption of laws that prevent discrimination based on marriage or pregnancy, and (3) the failure to award the plaintiff maternity compensation corresponding to her executive status would result in a failure to ensure employment stability.  The appellate court ruled against the plaintiff’s request to return to her executive position following maternity leave on the basis that the designation was temporary in nature and that laws protecting women during maternity leave cannot alter the fundamental nature of the relationship prior to maternity.



Sisnero, et al. v. Taldelva SRL, et al. Corta Suprema de Justicia de la Nación (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiffs, Mirtha Graciela Sisnero and the Women’s Foundation (Fundación Entre Mujeres), filed suit against the Automotive State Transportation Company (Sociedad Anònoma del Estado del Transporte Automotor), the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Autoridad Metropolitana de Transporte), and seven companies that provided public transportation services in the city of Salta.  The plainiffs alleged, citing Ms. Sisnero’s failure to obtain a bus driver position despite having met the job requirements, that defendants refuse to hire female drivers in violation of equal rights and anti-discrimination laws. The plaintiffs demanded that (1) the defendants cease to discriminate based on gender, (2) Ms. Sisnero be hired as a bus driver, and (3) the defendants set aside a certain number of positions to be filled exclusively by women until such time as the composition of drivers reflected gender integration.  The court of first instance found in favor of the plaintiffs, mandating that 30% of openings for bus drivers be set aside exclusively for women.  The appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision based on the plaintiff’s failure to prove that the defendants failed to hire Ms. Sisnero solely because she was female, further noting that the defendants’ failure to accept Ms. Sisnero’s multiple applications for employment were insufficient to sustain a claim of discrimination because the defendants were under no constitutional obligation to hire her.  The Supreme Court reversed the appellate court’s decision, noting that the appellate court failed to adequately consider the evidence provided by the plaintiffs. The lower court should have considered (1) the fact that the defendants had not hired any female bus drivers after receiving complaints from Ms. Sisnero and (2) discriminatory statements made by representatives of the defendants (e.g., “women should focus on demonstrating their culinary abilities”). The Supreme Court further noted that once the claimant has proven the existence of acts that are allegedly discriminatory, it is the defendant’s burden to disprove the existence of the alleged discrimination.   



Sentenza n. 6575/2016 Corte di Cassazione: Sezione Lavoro (Supreme Court: Labor Section) (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

An employer fired a woman after learning of her intention to start an assisted reproduction process. The local court and the court of appeal stated that such dismissal was substantially due to gender discrimination against the employee who wanted to start the assisted reproduction process. Such decisions were challenged by the employer who argued that the dismissal of the employee was not connected to any gender discrimination but rather to the absences for illness that would have affected the efficient management of the work. The Italian Supreme Court confirmed that the dismissal was null and void due to a gender discrimination, irrespective of the fact that the assisted reproduction process had been commenced or not and sentenced the employer re-hire the employee and to pay her the relevant salaries as if she had never been fired.



Sentenza n. 937/2017 La Corte d'Appello di Torino: Sezione Lavoro (Court of Appeal of Turin: Labor Section) (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Court of Appeal of Turin upheld the lower court’s judgment deeming a clause of a collective agreement negotiated at the enterprise level to be discriminatory because it infringed on Articles 3 and 37 of the Constitution, Article 25, para 2bis, of Decree No. 198/2006 and Article 3 of Decree No. 151/2001. Under the relevant clause the “real presence at work” was as an eligibility criterion to receive an additional remuneration, it being understood that any family-related leave, including any compulsory maternity leave, parental leave. and/or leave for illness, could affect the employees’ level of performance in that respect. The Court maintained that even though the criterion was formally neutral, it resulted in an indirect pay discrimination since female workers usually take more family-related leave than male workers. Moreover, during the trial, the company failed to provide a permissible justification regarding the requirement of “real presence at work.” Therefore, the employer was ordered to (1) cease the discrimination by computing leave as actual time worked for the purposes of achieving the real presence requirement and becoming eligible for the  additional remuneration, (2) to pay the additional remuneration incentive to the plaintiffs, and (3) to enhance a plan to remove the discrimination by avoiding the inclusion of the above criterion in any future collective bargaining at the enterprise level. The latter was promoted by the intervention of the Regional Equality Adviser as a case of collective discrimination.



Decision No. 265/Pid.Sus/2015/PN Btm District Court of Batam (2015)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Defendant regularly verbally abused his wife (the victim) shouting at her, insulting and cursing her, demeaning her status and causing her deep embarrassment at in front of other employees. The Defendant also joked that he should just divorce the victim and get a new younger wife instead. These verbal abuses were not isolated incidents. The court viewed them as a form of psychological abuse which resulted in psychological suffering, a deep sense of helplessness, and the victim experiencing fear, losing confidence, and losing the will to act. The court found that the Defendant was guilty of domestic violence under Article 45 of Law No. 23 2004 and sentenced the Defendant to seven months imprisonment.



Roches v. Belize Agricultural Health Authority and Attorney General of Belize Supreme Court of Belize (2017)

Employment discrimination, International law, Sexual harassment

The claimant brought a claim of damages for unlawful termination of employment because she alleged she was terminated before her two-year contract had run despite a positive one-year evaluation.  She claimed her contract was not renewed because she made reports of sexual harassment by her supervisor to the police.  However, that report was made four months after the claimant was informed of the decision not to renew her contract.  The court also determined that her contract was a one-year contract.  As a result, her claim was dismissed.  However, the court “condemn[ed] in the strongest possible terms the exploitation and degradation of women by predatory male behavior in the workplace” and found that the respondent “has an obligation to not sweep these grave allegations under the rug.”  The court urged an investigation into the alleged conduct by claimant’s supervisor and for the respondent to “duly penalize such behavior if substantiated, in keeping with Belize’s national and international obligations to protect the rights of women and children from sexual exploitation under treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence and Discrimination Against Women.”



Gutierrez v. The Queen Court of Appeal of Belize (2018)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was convicted of raping a 16-year-old female colleague and was sentenced to eight years in prison.  The Court of Appeal granted a retrial because the trial court had “erred in failing to give a proper/adequate direction to the jury.”  Under Section 92(3)(a) of Belize’s Evidence Act, a trial court has discretion to “warn the jury of the special need for caution” where the only evidence against a person charged with rape is the word of the victim.  Where a judge exercises such discretion, he or she must provide the reasons for cautioning the jury.  The trial judge did caution the jury in the case, but the Court of Appeal found he had erred by not warning the jury that the complainant had lied during her testimony and by not pointing out the complainant’s admission that she had been raped was made only after being threatened by her father.  The Court of Appeal also found that the trial judge should have warned the jury that the complainant “may have had some kind of relationship with the Appellant.”



Hofer v. Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Supreme Court of the Northern Territory (2011)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

In 2009, a female employee made a formal complaint regarding improper conduct in the workplace, including continuous inappropriate and derogatory comments, by a Northern Territory Police Force member to whom she was a personal assistant, Bert Hofer.  The complaint resulted in an investigation and Hofer’s demotion and transfer.  On April 13, 2010, the female employee further made a complaint to the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission of discrimination and sexual harassment in violation of the Anti-Discrimination Act (Northern Territory).  Pursuant to Section 66 of the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Commissioner must accept or reject a complaint not later than 60 days after receipt of the complaint.  The complaint was accepted on November 1, 2010, well beyond the 60-day timeframe.  Hofer argued that the decision to accept the complaint should be set aside due to the Commissioner’s failure to accept the complaint within the statutory timeframe.  Further, Hofer argued that the Commissioner failed to consider whether the complaint was frivolous or vexatious.  The Supreme Court of the Northern Territory held that the Commissioner did consider whether the complaint was vexatious, and determined that it was not.  The fact that the Commissioner failed to accept the complaint within of the 60-day timeframe did not invalidate the decision as such a finding would result in unacceptable injustice inflicted on victims due to government inaction.  Accordingly, Hofer’s application was dismissed and the Commissioner’s decision to accept the complaint was upheld.



L.W.L. v. Y.T. Cheng, Inc. District Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (2006)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Plaintiff was employed as secretary of the Director by the Defendant in 2001. In February 2002, the Plaintiff suffered a threatened miscarriage, and was admitted to the hospital several times thereafter. From June to August 2012, she took sick leave frequently for treatment of her pregnancy complications.  During that period, a permanent secretary was hired by the Defendant.  The Plaintiff returned to work after expiry of her maternity leave in November 2012 as agreed with the Defendant, but was moved to a new work station which was not properly equipped, and was not given her original duties.  Shortly after she resumed her work after maternity leave, she was dismissed by the Defendant. She sued the Defendant for her dismissal on the grounds of discrimination due to pregnancy, family status and victimization.  The Court applied the “but for” and “less favorable treatment” test, and held that the burden is on the Plaintiff to prove discrimination on a balance of probabilities – once the Plaintiff can show that a possibility of discrimination can be inferred from the primary facts, the Court will look to the employer for an explanation, with which or if such explanation is not enough, the Court will infer the existence of discrimination.  Based on the facts and evidence in this case, the Court found that the Plaintiff has established the primary facts on her claims on the grounds of discrimination due to pregnancy and family status, and found that the Defendant failed to establish the unsatisfactory performance of the Plaintiff and there were no significant enough reasons for the Defendant to dismiss the Plaintiff.  On a balance of probabilities, the Court concluded that the Plaintiff was dismissed because of her pregnancy and family status, and held the Defendant liable.  Damages for injury to feelings and loss of income were awarded to the Plaintiff.



B. v. King of the King Group Limited District Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (2012)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The Plaintiff worked as a cashier at King Palace Chinese Restaurant, which was operated by King of the King Group Limited (“Defendant”). The Plaintiff alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Leung, an employee of the Defendant, who made a sexual remark to the Plaintiff and also touched the Plaintiff’s chest. Immediately after the incident, the Plaintiff reported it to her direct supervisor, who promised to follow up on the incident, but did not do so. When the Plaintiff raised the harassment again later on and wanted to report it to the police, her supervisor asked the Plaintiff not to do so or the Defendant would terminate both her and Leung’s employment.  Eventually, her supervisor arranged a meeting and asked Leung to apologize to the Plaintiff, but he did it reluctantly and disrespectfully.  The Plaintiff, irritated by the disrespect, slapped Leung, and was then immediately fired by the Defendant.  The Plaintiff settled the case with Leung and made a claim under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance. The Court held that the dismissal was not made by the Defendant on the ground of the Plaintiff’s sex, or because she was sexually harassed, but because the Plaintiff slapped the harasser.  However, the Court ruled that the acts committed by Leung constituted unlawful sexual harassment, and that the Defendant, as employer of Leung, was vicariously liable for Leung’s sexual harassment for the reason that the Defendant failed to take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the sexual harassment against the Plaintiff in the workplace. The Court awarded the Plaintiff damages for injury to her feelings and costs caused by or in connection with the sexual harassment.



Tsang v. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. District Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (2001)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff, Helen Tsang, was employed by Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (“Cathay”) as a flight attendant in 1979. According to the retirement policy at the time of her employment contract, the retirement age for a female attendant was 40, while the retirement age for a male attendant was 55.  Ms. Tsang was required to retire in 1992 when she reached 40. Cathay offered consecutive one year extensions of her employment thereafter till 1997 when she reached the age of 45. During that period, Cathay adopted a new retirement policy in 1993, which changed the retirement age of both the female and male cabin crew to the age of 45 and provided that female employees already on extension may choose to further extend the employment with Cathay till the age of 45 if Cathay agreed so. After 1997 (when Ms. Tsang was 45), Cathay did not offer Ms. Tsang any extension of her employment. Ms. Tsang sued Cathay alleging that the retirement policy implemented by Cathay was discriminatory and that she was discriminated on the ground of her sex. The court held that it constituted direct sex discrimination against Ms. Tsang because a male employee in the similar situation would be in a much better position than Ms. Tsang as he would have been entitled to remain employed with Cathay until the age of 55, or would at least have had the option to retire at 45 if he chose so and would have received more favorable benefits than Ms. Tsang had. In reaching such conclusion, the court upheld the view that the employment contract does not form the basis of a discriminatory claim and the discrimination is continuing and actionable if the discriminatory policy has been in place and implemented during subsequent extension(s) of employment.



Waliyah v. Yip Hoi Sun Terence District Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The complainant, an Indonesian domestic helper, was asked by her employer’s wife to urinate for a home-pregnancy test. After the result showed positive and was subsequently confirmed by a physician, the employer terminated her employment by a month’s notice. Ultimately, the complainant was required to move out of the couple’s home before the notice period ran out. She sued the couple for damages based on, among others, sex and pregnancy discrimination. The court held the couple liable for the act of sex discrimination against the complainant by asking her to take the pregnancy test, despite the fact that she voluntarily participated in the test and wanted to know the result. The court took the view that whether the employee had consented or voluntarily cooperated to take the pregnancy test is not determinative as to deciding the nature of the employer’s request to take the pregnancy test, and that the lack of intent or motive to discriminate by the employer is a factor to assessment of damages but would not bar an act from being determined as discriminatory. The court held that the employer has no right to know about a female employee’s pregnancy status, which is a private matter of the employee. The court determined that requesting a female employee to take a pregnancy test without giving her a choice not to disclose the result to the employer constitutes a “less favorable treatment” to that employee because of her gender, for the reason that a male employee would not be requested to take such a test or reveal such private information to his employer.



P.O. v. Board of Trustees, A.F., et al. Industrial Court at Nairobi (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, International law, Sexual harassment

The claimant accompanied one of respondents, a co-worker “J.”, on a work-related trip.  Throughout the business trip, J. made sexual innuendos towards the claimant and when his advances failed, he physically beat her.  He booked a single hotel room, while the claimant believed she would have her own room.  As a result, the claimant was forced to sleep on the floor and returned to Kenya two days later, while J. continued to the conference.  Upon the claimant’s return, she received multiple threatening emails from J. and her employment was terminated as of May 24, 2010 for alleged “misconduct” for not travelling to the conference.  Her salary for May was unpaid.  Although there were numerous legal issues decided in this case, including jurisdiction, the key issue was whether the claimant was subjected to gender-based discrimination and thus unlawfully terminated, and what, if any, entitlement is due to her.  The Industrial Court determined that J.’s conduct toward the claimant, no matter where it had occurred, clearly amounted to gender-based violence against an employee, and that his conduct “had the effect of nullifying or impairing the equality of opportunity or treatment in employment, based on her sex.”  The Industrial Court awarded P total compensation of Kshs 3,240,000, which included general damages for sexual harassment, and unfair and wrongful termination of Kshs 3,000,000.  This case is important to demonstrate Kenyan courts afford protection against sexual violence in multiple ways, including equal opportunity and human rights legislation, labor legislation, civil remedies and criminal law.  In addition to Kenyan employment law, the Industrial Court also relied on the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the International Labour Organization, as well as other forms of jurisprudence to support eradicating violence and sexual discrimination against women in the workplace.  The decision noted that while the Constitution of Kenya was not yet in effect and thus not directly applicable when the case was tried, Articles 1, 3 and 5 of the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights were included in the Kenyan Constitution and thus were applicable at the time the case occurred.



Mgolozeli v. Gauteng Department of Finance Labour Court of South Africa (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The applicant, a male, applied for a senior managerial position previously occupied by a woman. After undergoing a psychometric assessment, he was recommended for appointment. The recommendation was turned down “due to the gender imbalance at SMS level”. The applicant claimed that he had been unfairly discriminated against on the basis of his sex because the target, set by the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, did not comply with the provisions of the Employment Equity Act (EEA), 55 of 1998. The respondent contended that, although it had not adopted an equity plan, it had set itself a target of 50% females in senior management positions. The Court noted that when the second respondent took the decision not to appoint the applicant, there was great confusion regarding the actual gender balance at the senior management level. However, the Court was prepared to accept that, at the time, females filled only 29% senior management posts. The EEA requires that equity plans must provide objectives for each year, their duration, and procedures for evaluating their implementation. The Court noted that, in SA Police Service v Solidarity obo Barnard (Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union as amicus curiae [2014] 11 BLLR 1025 (CC)), the Constitutional Court had confirmed that competent courts must ensure that validly adopted equity plans are applied lawfully. Apart from the fact that the respondent had no plan, it had no mechanism to track the levels of gender representation. The second respondent had applied the target without considering the panel’s reasons for its recommendation. Affirmative action had been applied ad hoc, in a haphazard, arbitrary, and random manner. The responsible official had applied a quota system and raised an absolute barrier, both of which were impermissible. The affirmative action measure applied by the respondents conflicted with both the Constitution and the EEA. Accordingly, the measure had unfairly discriminated against the applicant. The respondents were directed to appoint the applicant to the post concerned and pay him compensation equal to the difference between the salary he had earned and the salary he should have earned, with retrospective effect.



Ekhamanzi Springs Ltd. v. Mnomiya Labor Appeal Court of South Africa (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The respondent was employed by the appellant to bottle Aquelle spring water. The appellant’s plant was located on property belonging to a religious mission, and to gain access to the workplace, the appellant’s employees had to cross the mission’s property. The mission’s security guards were instructed to bar entry to any persons who did not comply with its code of conduct; one provision, for example, prohibited “amorous relationships between any two persons outside of marriage”. The respondent and a colleague were denied access because they became pregnant outside of marriage. Consequently, the respondent and her colleague were not able to access the workplace, as they were refused access to the mission’s property. They were subsequently fired. The court ruled that the dismissal of the respondent employee was automatically unfair because she had been dismissed for her pregnancy. The court noted that all persons have a constitutional right to equality. Discriminatory dismissals, such as this one, are accordingly automatically unfair and higher compensation is allowed in such cases. Employers are obliged to avoid discriminating against employees directly or indirectly  ̶  protection against being discriminated against on the ground of pregnancy is not a preserve of married women. An agreement that denies pregnant employees access to the workplace is accordingly prima facie unenforceable unless it can be justified on grounds consistent with constitutional norms. The mission’s code of conduct interfered with the employment relationship between the appellant and its employees and created a situation in which breaches could lead to dismissal. Such provisions blurred the line between the appellant’s terms and conditions of employment and the mission’s code.  That the employee was not a party to the mission’s code proved decisive. As lessee, the appellant had legal remedies to compel the mission to allow full use and enjoyment of the leased property. The appellant’s faint plea of operational necessity could not serve as a defense because it had failed to exercise its rights as lessee to protect its pregnant employees. The employee had tendered her services, and the appellant’s refusal to accept the tender constituted a breach of contract. The court further held that the appellant’s acquiescence in the mission’s discriminatory practice of barring unwed pregnant women from the leased premises violated the appellant’s constitutional duty to treat its employees fairly and was a breach of its common law duty to accept the employees into service. The court, therefore, confirmed that the employee had been dismissed and that her dismissal was automatically unfair. The court also confirmed the remedy of 12 months’ compensation.



South African Police Service v. Barnard Constitutional Court of South Africa (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The South African Police Service (“SAPS”) had adopted the Employment Equity Plan (“EEP”), which sets numerical goals to produce gender and racial diversity. The appellant, Ms. Barnard, applied twice for a position in the National Evaluation Service of the SAPS in 2005. Despite being shortlisted, interviewed, and recommended as the best-suited candidate, she did not get the position on either occasion. This case concerns her second attempt, where the National Commissioner did not appoint Ms. Barnard on the grounds that it would not enhance racial representation at that salary level and that it was not necessary to fill the vacancy immediately because the post was not critical. While the Labor Court found that SAPS had unfairly discriminated against the appellant, the Labor Appeal Court found in favor of SAPS. On further appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeal (“SCA”) reversed the Labor Appeal Court’s decision and held that Ms. Barnard had been the victim of unfair discrimination on the basis of race, in violation of Section 9(3) of the Constitution and Section 6(1) of the Employment Equity Act (the Act). The Constitutional Court granted SAPS leave to appeal and unanimously reversed the SCA’s ruling in favor of Ms. Barnard. As the Court noted, the SCA found that SAPS had failed to rebut the presumption that the discrimination against Ms. Barnard was unfair. But, since the EEP was a valid affirmative action measure, the issue was not whether the Plan could overcome such presumption, but whether the decision the National Commissioner made under it was open to challenge. The Court found that the Commissioner properly exercised his discretion. Appointing Ms. Barnard would have aggravated the overrepresentation of white women at that salary level. And, the decision did not bar Ms. Barnard from future promotions.



2016 (Ju) No. 2076 Supreme Court of Japan (2018)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment, Stalking

The appellee, a former employee of the appellant’s subsidiary, suffered sexual harassment and stalking from an employee of the appellant’s other subsidiary who shared the same work site with the appellee. The appellant had developed a corporate-group-wide compliance system, which included a consulting desk at which an employee of the appellant or its subsidiaries could raise and discuss any compliance-related matters.  The appellee brought the harassment issue to her supervisors at her immediate employer (i.e. the appellant’s subsidiary) twice, but sufficient solutions were not provided, following which she left the company without bringing the issues to the consulting desk.  The stalking continued even after her resignation, so her former colleague who still worked at the appellant's subsidiary brought the issue before the appellant through the consulting desk, but it did not provide sufficient solutions either.  The question brought before the Supreme Court was whether the appellant (i.e. a parent company of her former immediate employer) bore the duties based on the principle of good faith to provide certain protective measures to the appellant  because it had developed the corporate-group-wide compliance system.  The Supreme Court found that the appellant was not imposed with such duties in light of particular facts in the case since the appellant did not bring the harassment issue to the consulting desk during her employment.  However, in dicta, the Court stated that a parent company, depending on particular facts of the case, can be responsible for providing sufficient solutions to an employee of its subsidiary who is a victim of sexual harassment––failure of which would result in liability for damage based on the principle of good faith––if the parent company provides a system through which the employee could, and actually did, bring an issue of sexual harassment to the parent company’s attention.



Decision U.No. 104/2016 Constitutional Court (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

A 65-year-old woman working in a state institution requested to continue her employment for two more years was denied on the basis that, according to Paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 104 of the Labour Law of Macedonia (the “Contested Provisions”), the age limit to which women can work is 65 years of age, while this limit for men is 67 years of age. The Union-National Council for Gender Equality and the Macedonian Women’s Lobby initiated proceedings in the Constitutional Court of Macedonia (the “Court”) challenging the constitutionality of the Contested Provisions on grounds that they contravene Articles 9 and 32 of the Constitution. The Court held that the Contested Provisions are not in accordance with the established constitutional principle of equality of citizens on grounds of sex per Article 9 of the Constitution, on the basis that the Contest Provisions impose termination of employment of female employees under different conditions than male employees. The Contested Provisions are thereby repealed.



Adequate Defense of Pregnant Women in Labor Matters (Docket 3.o.2 L (10a.)) Third Collegiate Tribunal in the Assistant Center of the Tenth Region (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

ADEQUATE DEFENSE OF PREGNANT WOMEN IN LABOR MATTERS. PREGNANT WOMEN ARE CONSIDERED A VULNERABLE GROUP AND THEREFORE THE JUDGE SHALL RULE BASED ON A GENDER PERSPECTIVE.

This isolated thesis is a relevant example of gender perspective case law, as the criteria issued by the collegiate tribunal is binding on all cases resolved by such tribunal. In addition, such criteria issued may be persuasive in similar cases arising in other federal courts. The labor law states that every person shall have an appropriate defense. In addition, this right acquires different considerations when the claimant is a pregnant woman. Historically, women in Mexico have been fired solely for being pregnant. Pregnant women are consequently considered a vulnerable group. Therefore, this isolated thesis requires the courts to inform the claimant of her right to have an attorney, and in those cases where the claimant cannot afford one, the court shall appoint one for her. (Amparo Directo Laboral: http://sise.cjf.gob.mx/SVP/word1.aspx?arch=484/04840000187544100005005.d...)

 

 

DEFENSA ADECUADA DE LAS MUJERES EMBARAZADAS EN ASUNTOS LABORALES. LAS MUJERES EMBARAZADAS SON CONSIDERADAS EN UN GRUPO VULNERABLE Y, POR LO TANTO, EL JUEZ REGIRÁ BASADO EN UNA PERSPECTIVA DE GÉNERO.

Esta tesis aislada es un ejemplo relevante de la jurisprudencia de la perspectiva de género, ya que los criterios emitidos por el tribunal colegiado son vinculantes para todos los casos resueltos por dicho tribunal. Además, los criterios emitidos pueden ser persuasivos en casos similares que surjan en otros tribunales federales. La ley laboral establece que cada persona tendrá una defensa apropiada. Además, este derecho adquiere diferentes consideraciones cuando el reclamante es una mujer embarazada. Históricamente, las mujeres en México han sido despedidas de sus empleos por estar embarazadas. En consecuencia, las mujeres embarazadas son consideradas un grupo vulnerable. Por lo tanto, esta tesis aislada requiere que los tribunales informen al reclamante de su derecho a tener un abogado, y en aquellos casos en que el reclamante no pueda pagar uno, el tribunal le asignará uno.



Public Safety (Isolated Thesis Docket XVI.1o.A.115 A (10a.)) First Collegiate Tribunal in Administrative Matters of the Sixteeth Circuit (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, International law

This isolated thesis is a relevant example of gender perspective case law, as the criteria issued by the collegiate tribunal is binding on all cases resolved by such tribunal. In addition, such criteria may be persuasive in similar cases arising in other federal courts. The Mexican Supreme Court has previously determined the social benefits to which a former public safety employee is entitled at the time of her termination. The social benefits and salary must be paid upon termination and must account for both the period before and after an unjustified termination for pregnancy. The Mexican Constitution (Article 123, section B, item XI, subparagraphs (a) & (c)) recognizes the rights of pregnant women. These include social benefits during pregnancy. Consequently, the impairment that results from the termination must be paid and includes: (a) medical bills and payments made to private medical institutions due to the lack of social security benefits and (b) the payment of the full salary from the last month before birth as well as the two months after it, unless there is a court ruling in relation to unpaid wages. This provision of the Mexican Constitution, as well as other provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment And Eradication Of Violence Against Women “Convention of Belém do Pará” compels the courts to rule with a gender perspective in order to ensure justice for this historically vulnerable social group. (Amparo Directo Administrativo 121/2016: http://sise.cjf.gob.mx/SVP/word1.aspx?arch=1320/13200000186095880003003....)

 

Esta tesis aislada es un ejemplo relevante de la jurisprudencia de la perspectiva de género, ya que los criterios emitidos por el tribunal colegiado son relevantes a todos los casos resueltos por dicho tribunal. Además, dichos criterios pueden ser persuasivos en casos similares que surjan en otros tribunales federales. La Corte Suprema de México ha determinado previamente los beneficios sociales a los que tiene derecho un ex-empleado de seguridad pública en el momento de su despido. Los beneficios sociales y el salario deben pagarse a la terminación y deben tener en cuenta tanto el período antes como el de después de una terminación injustificada por embarazo. La Constitución mexicana (Artículo 123, sección B, artículo XI, subpárrafos (a) y (c)) reconoce los derechos de las mujeres embarazadas. Estos incluyen beneficios sociales durante el embarazo. En consecuencia, el deterioro que resulta de la terminación debe pagarse e incluye: (a) facturas médicas y pagos realizados a instituciones médicas privadas debido a la falta de beneficios de seguridad social y (b) el pago del salario completo del último mes anterior al nacimiento, así como los dos meses posteriores al mismo, a menos que exista un fallo judicial en relación con los salarios impagos. Esta disposición de la Constitución mexicana, así como otras disposiciones de la Convención sobre la Eliminación de Todas las Formas de Discriminación contra la Mujer (CEDAW) y la Convención Interamericana para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Violencia contra la Mujer "Convención de Belém do Pará" obliga a los tribunales a gobernar con una perspectiva de género para garantizar la justicia para este grupo social históricamente vulnerable.



Advisory Opinion No. 2008/64 Fatwa & Contracts Department (2008)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This legal advisory opinion found that a divorced woman is not entitled to the typical social allowance provided to married individuals by their employers.  The woman, unnamed in the opinion, applied for the allowance because she has custody of her minor son.  The opinion states that the allowance can be only provided to married women with children whose husband is unemployed, jobless, or incapacitated.  A divorced woman cannot benefit from this support even if she is the sole custodian of her child.  Nonetheless, this Advisory Opinion requests that the Qatar Legislator revisit this situation a “with a view to cure the unreasonable position of a divorcee employee who has children, because her situation resembles the situation of a widow in jurisprudence.”



Employment Termination (Jurisprudential Thesis Docket: 2a./J.66/2017 (10a.)) Supreme Court of Mexico (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

“EMPLOYMENT TERMINATION. WHEN EMPLOYMENT IS TERMINATED DURING AN EMPLOYEE’S PREGNANCY, THE EMPLOYER BEARS THE BURDEN OF PROOF TO DEMONSTRATE THAT SUCH TERMINATION WAS NOT DISCRIMINATORY.”

This jurisprudential thesis is a relevant example of case law, as the criteria issued by the Mexican Supreme Court is binding on all courts in the country. Mexico recognizes labor matters as independent from other matters of law, with a unique set of courts, legislation, and doctrine. This case law in particular comes from two different isolated theses, as settled by two different federal courts. The first case was settled by the Third Collegiate Tribunal in Labor Matters of the Third Circuit, and the second case was settled by the Third Collegiate Tribunal of Circuit in the Assistant Center of the Tenth Region. Both court resolutions contained contradictory substantive issues, which prompted the Supreme Court to settle these discrepancies. The Supreme Court acknowledged that all pregnant women should enjoy certain specific rights resulting from pregnancy. The Court also found that these rights should be extended to the postnatal period. The Supreme Court recognized that most pregnant women will likely face a lack of job security given the costs that maternity leave implies for most employers. The Supreme Court determined that pregnant women require certain social security benefits in order to eliminate the barriers and obstacles that they may face during the pre- and postnatal periods. When a pregnant employee is terminated and argues that the termination was discriminatory, the employer bears the burden of proving that such termination was not due to the woman’s pregnancy or any other discriminatory reason. In such scenarios, the courts must take a gender perspective approach in deciding such controversies in order to be able to effectively guarantee the rights of women recognized under the Mexican Constitution and international treaties to which Mexico is a signatory.

 

“TERMINACIÓN DEL EMPLEO. "CUANDO EL EMPLEO SE TERMINA DURANTE EL EMBARAZO DE UN EMPLEADO, EL EMPLEADOR ASUME LA CARGA DE PROBAR QUE DICHA TERMINACIÓN NO FUE DISCRIMINATORIA".

Esta tesis jurisprudencial es un ejemplo relevante de jurisprudencia, ya que los criterios emitidos por el Tribunal Supremo de México son de relevancia para todos los tribunales del país. México reconoce que los asuntos laborales son independientes de otros asuntos de la ley, con un conjunto único de tribunales, legislación y doctrina. Esta jurisprudencia en particular proviene de dos tesis diferentes, según lo resuelto por dos tribunales federales diferentes. El primer caso fue resuelto por el Tercer Tribunal Colegiado en Asuntos Laborales del Tercer Circuito, y el segundo caso fue resuelto por el Tercer Tribunal Colegiado de Circuito en el Centro Asistente de la Décima Región. Ambas resoluciones judiciales contenían cuestiones sustantivas contradictorias, lo que llevó a la Corte Suprema a resolver estas discrepancias. La Corte Suprema reconoció que todas las mujeres embarazadas deberían disfrutar de ciertos derechos específicos derivados del embarazo. El Tribunal también determinó que estos derechos deberían extenderse al período postnatal. La Corte Suprema reconoció que la mayoría de las mujeres embarazadas probablemente enfrentarán una falta de seguridad laboral, dado los costos que la licencia de maternidad implica para la mayoría de los empleadores. La Corte Suprema determinó que las mujeres embarazadas requieren ciertos beneficios de seguridad social para eliminar las barreras y obstáculos que pueden enfrentar durante los períodos pre y postnatal. Cuando una empleada embarazada es despedida y argumenta que la terminación fue discriminatoria, el empleador tiene la responsabilidad de probar que dicha terminación no se debió al embarazo de la mujer ni a ninguna otra razón discriminatoria. En tales escenarios, los tribunales deben adoptar un enfoque de perspectiva de género al decidir tales controversias para poder garantizar de manera efectiva los derechos de las mujeres reconocidos en la Constitución mexicana y los tratados internacionales de los que México es parte.



Case of Clarisa Velázquez de Acosta Supreme Court (1995)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Quijote, S.R.L., (the “Company”) fired the plaintiff while she was pregnant.  The Labor Appeals Court (the “Court”) found that the firing was illegal because the law seeks to protect pregnant women, and though the medical certificate is a guarantee for the employer, it is not a requirement.  The Court ordered the company to reinstate the plaintiff to her position and pay her lost wages.  The Company challenged the court order in 1993, but the Supreme Court dismissed the challenge as an unconstitutional action in 1995.  Consequently, the Labor Appeals Court ruling remained in effect.



L. Montre v. Institut national d'assurances Constitutional Court (1999)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Mr. Montre brought proceedings before the Antwerp Labor Court because the law applicable at the time (Royal Decree No 72 of 10 November 1967 on the retirement and survivors' pension for self-employed persons) allowed him to benefit from a full pension only as of the age of 65 and obliged him to accept a 25% reduction in his pension if he chose to retire at the age of 60 (5% per year before 65), while self-employed women could retire at the age of 60 and enjoy a full pension. Upon referral, the Constitutional Court ruled that there was no discrimination in this particular case because at that time, there were still long-standing differences between self-employed men and self-employed women as regards working opportunities and conditions. These objectively and reasonably justified a distinction as to the age of retirement: (i) Women had fewer opportunities to work as self-employed persons and as a result had lower pension entitlements as these were based on the length of career and women generally had shorter careers; (ii) To balance this inequality, a younger retirement age had been attributed to women and a pension reduction applied to men who retired before their normal retirement age of 65; (iii) It would take time to redress the low level of opportunities for women in the self-employment sector, so only a  progressive abolition of the retirement age difference could be appropriate.  This in turn would bring Belgium, an EU Member State, into line with EU regulations and case law on this topic. 



M.S. v. Markant Netwerk van Ondernemende Vrouwen Constitutional Court (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Labor Court of Ghent referred a number of prejudicial questions to the Constitutional Court in the context of a dispute between a woman who claimed that her employer dismissed her after having requested maternity leave, parental leave and the continuation of a related “time credit” contract. The Labor Court agreed that the company had not provided justification for the dismissal, but had questions about how to calculate the indemnity. The applicant claimed it should be calculated on the basis of full-time employment. The Constitutional Court, however, ruled that reducing an employee’s benefits proportionally for part-time workers (which disproportionately affects women) was not a form of discrimination as the regime applies equally to men and women.



X. v. X. Cour du Travail de Bruxelles (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

In November 2011, the applicant became pregnant and in February 2012 she was dismissed as part of a restructuring procedure in which 20% of employees were laid-off. She argued that the termination of her contract was due to her pregnancy. The Labor Court ruled in her favor and ordered the company to pay her an indemnity and to bear the costs of the legal proceedings because it failed to prove that the dismissal of the pregnant woman was based on reasons unrelated to her state of pregnancy.



H.N. v. E.Y.A. Labor Court of Brussels (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

On appeal of a judgment of a lower court, the Labor Court ruled that the protection of women from being fired by an employer for reasons related to their pregnancy (including pregnancy-related absences/illnesses) also applies during the trial period, regardless of legislation permitting employers to fire employees during their trial period when absent for a period exceeding seven days.  As a result, a pregnant employee may only be fired during the pregnancy-related protection period (i.e., from the moment the employer is notified of the pregnancy until one month following the legal post-natal maternity leave) if the employer can prove that the laying-off is due to reasons unrelated to the pregnancy. In case of doubt, the court will rule in favor of the employee.



Equal Remuneration Case Fair Work Australia (2012)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Australian Services Union brought a claim against Fair Work Australia (FWA) on behalf of non-government workers in the Social, Community and Disability Services (SACS) industry for gender-related underpayment. They argued because the majority of workers in the SACS industry were female, they were compensated less than other state and local government employees in more male-dominated fields. The Full Bench of FWA found that gender had an important influence on the alleged pay gap, even though it was not the sole cause. In a landmark decision, FWA ordered increases of between 19% and 41% to the award rate to remedy the part gender had played in inhibiting long-term wage growth in the SACS industry – i.e., to prevent the SACS employees from suffering disadvantageous treatment for being predominantly female.



Poppy v. Service to Youth Council, Inc. Federal Court of Australia (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Plaintiffs, Ms. Stanley (case available here) and Ms. Poppy, each claimed that their employer discriminated against them due to their pregnancies. Both were made redundant from the same organization while on parental leave, about two years apart. Both of the Plaintiffs’ positions were eliminated by their employer due to a reorganization of the employer’s management structure. In both cases, the Plaintiffs’ absence from work caused their employer to conclude that their positions were no longer required. In particular, when Stanley and Poppy went on parental leave, their job duties were redistributed to colleagues. This caused their employer to decide that Stanley and Poppy’s positions were redundant. In both cases, the Federal Court found that the employer would not have restructured its management in this way if the Plaintiffs had not taken maternity leave. Because the restructuring involved only those employees working at the time it occurred, the fact that the Plaintiffs were on maternity leave (and thus not present) disadvantaged them. However, the Federal Court found that Plaintiffs’ dismissals did not constitute discrimination because neither Plaintiff could show that the employer treated them any differently than it would an employee who was not pregnant or on leave in similar circumstances.



Stanley v. Service to Youth Council, Inc. Federal Court of Australia (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Plaintiffs, Ms. Stanley and Ms. Poppy (case available here), each claimed that their employer discriminated against them due to their pregnancies. Both were made redundant from the same organization while on parental leave, about two years apart. Both of the Plaintiffs’ positions were eliminated by their employer due to a reorganization of the employer’s management structure. In both cases, the Plaintiffs’ absence from work caused their employer to conclude that their positions were no longer required. In particular, when Stanley and Poppy went on parental leave, their job duties were redistributed to colleagues. This caused their employer to decide that Stanley and Poppy’s positions were redundant. In both cases, the Federal Court found that the employer would not have restructured its management in this way if the Plaintiffs had not taken maternity leave. Because the restructuring involved only those employees working at the time it occurred, the fact that the Plaintiffs were on maternity leave (and thus not present) disadvantaged them. However, the Federal Court found that Plaintiffs’ dismissals did not constitute discrimination because neither Plaintiff could show that the employer treated them any differently than it would an employee who was not pregnant or on leave in similar circumstances.



Anania v. Daubenspeck Chiropractic Court of Appeals of Ohio (1998)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

Two former employees of the defendant were subjected to repeated instances of sexual harassment by the clinic’s patients. The employees alleged that they complained to the defendant about the conduct, but he failed to take any corrective action. They filed suit in the Clark County Court of Common Pleas alleging sexual harassment. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, holding that Ohio law did not recognize such a claim based on the conduct of non-employees. The Court of Appeals of Ohio reversed, holding that Ohio Civil Rights law does permit courts to impose liability on employers for non-employees’ sexual harassment at the place of employment.



Harmon v. GZK, Inc. Court of Appeals of Ohio (2002)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape

The plaintiffs worked at a restaurant operated by GZK. They alleged that a cook who worked with them repeatedly made lewd and sexually violent comments toward them, as well as touched them inappropriately without consent. The plaintiffs also alleged that a supervisor also made inappropriate sexual comments and groped them as he pretended to accidentally brush against them. They testified that they had brought this behavior to the attention of the management. The plaintiffs filed suit in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, claiming sexual harassment, negligent supervision and retention, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and retaliatory discharge. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of their employer and the manager, but the Court of Appeals of Ohio reversed on all charges except the retaliatory discharge, finding genuine issues of material fact as to whether evidence of the cook and the manager’s inappropriate behavior rose to the level of creating a hostile work environment. 



Payton v. Receivables Outsourcing, Inc. Court of Appeals of Ohio (2005)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Marilyn Payton worked for Receivables Outsourcing for six weeks, during which time she was sexually harassed by a fellow employee who was assigned to train her at her new job. The harassment consisted of inappropriate comments until one day the coworker pulled up to her car as she was driving away from work, asked her to roll down her window, and then offered her ten dollars to perform a sex act. She complained to her manager that she felt unsafe, and the manager said he would “take care of it.” When she returned to work to find the manager not there, she informed the company lawyer of the harassment and left work, stating that she felt unsafe without the manager there. The next day she was fired for leaving work. She filed suit against her employer in the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas for hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliatory discharge, but the Court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer. The Court of Appeals of Ohio reversed, finding that a genuine dispute of material fact existed as to whether the alleged harassment rose to the level of creating a hostile work environment and whether the employer negligently retained the alleged harasser.



Edwards v. Ohio Institute of Cardiac Care Court of Appeals of Ohio (2007)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff-appellant worked as a scheduler at the Ohio Institute of Cardiac Care when she began to receive emails from her supervisor—approximately six to ten per day—that made her uncomfortable. Her supervisor then began touching her at work, such as on the lower back or shoulder, and his emails became more frequent. After she complained about this conduct, she began to receive tardy forms, and she was soon after fired, allegedly for changing clothes at work before Fourth of July weekend. She filed suit in the Greene County Court of Common Pleas, claiming sexual harassment and retaliation. After a jury trial, the court ruled in the plaintiff’s favor on her harassment claim but for the defendant on the retaliation claim, but the appellate court reversed and remanded because the defendant was entitled to a jury instruction as to its affirmative defense. Notably, the court held as a matter of first impression that a settlement between a supervisory employee and another employee does not extinguish the employer’s liability for sexual harassment claims.



Egli v. Congress Lake Club Court of Appeals of Ohio (2010)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff -appellant was the “head golf professional” at the Congress Lake Golf Club. Despite her formidable golfing pedigree, the club’s board of directors requested her resignation, ostensibly because of her inability to manage various golf programs. She sued the defendant for sex discrimination in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, but the Court of Appeals of Ohio reversed, finding that there was an issue of fact as to whether the golf club’s proffered legitimate reason for her termination were pretextual.



Lascu v. Apex Paper Box Co. Court of Appeals of Ohio (2011)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff-appellant had been employed at Apex for approximately 30 years before being fired in connection with Apex’s reduction in force. She filed suit in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that she was the victim of gender discrimination. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, and the Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed, holding that her unsupported assertions of discrimination were insufficient to overcome the defendant's legitimate reduction-in-force justification.



Pitts-Baad v. Valvoline Instant Oil Chage Court of Appeals of Ohio (2012)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff-appellant worked as an assistant manager of a Valvoline Instant Oil Change branch. She was on track for a promotion but did not pass all the required courses. When she was eight months pregnant, she tripped and fell at work. On the advice of her doctor, she reported the injury to her employer. Later, when she returned form maternity leave, she found the work environment distrusting, and she was often not permitted to take breaks to pump her breast milk for long periods of time. After she failed to follow correct procedures on an oil change, her employment was terminated. She sued Valvoline alleging gender discrimination and retaliation, but the Stark County Court of Common Pleas granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed, holding that the plaintiff had failed to show that the defendant’s legitimate reason for terminating her employment was not a pretext.



Jones v. MTD Consumer Group, Inc. Court of Appeals of Ohio (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff was fired from his job with MTD Consumer Group after sexually harassing a coworker. He and the coworker had been in a romantic relationship, which had since ended, when the coworker complained that the plaintiff had made a threatening gesture to her and her new boyfriend outside of her home. The plaintiff was also verbally derogatory toward this coworker until his employment was terminated. He sued MTD in the Medina County Court of Common Pleas, alleging reverse gender discrimination and negligent retention of his coworker. The Court granted the employer’s motion for a directed verdict, and the Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed, holding that the evidence at trial was insufficient to support the plaintiff's claim that he was treated differently form a similarly-situated coworker.



Mender v. Chauncey Court of Appeals of Ohio (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Ginger Mender, who was elected mayor of the Village of Chauncey, alleged that immediately after she took office, the Village conspired to force her to resign. She claimed that Village employees refused her an office, keys to Village buildings, basic office equipment, and disrupted her attempts to speak at Village council meetings with ridicule and laughter. After she refused a request to resign, three different petitions were filed in the Athens County Court of Common Pleas. She filed suit for gender discrimination, among other claims, in the Athens County Court of Common Pleas. The defendants argued that the disagreements were not gender discrimination but political power struggles. After a jury trial, the court granted the Village’s motion for a directed verdict. The Court of Appeals for Ohio affirmed, holding that the evidence was insufficient to support a prima facie case of gender discrimination; even though her successor was a man and thus outside the protected class, the voters of the Village rather than the Village government itself made the decision regarding her replacement.



Weber v. Ferrellgas, Inc. Court of Appeals of Ohio (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff-appellant worked as a customer service representative for Ferrellgas and received high marks on her employment evaluations. When her employer opened a position for which the plaintiff thought she was qualified, her supervisor discouraged her from applying, saying that it would be a difficult job for her because she had children. About six months later, she reported this conversation to the regional vice president, who mediated a meeting between the two. When another employee alleged that the plaintiff had suggested transferring funds owed to a customer to her personal account, she was fired for violating the company’s ethics policy. She filed suit against Ferrellgas for gender discrimination and retaliation, but the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas entered summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed, holding that she had not established a prima facie case of gender discrimination.



Vogt v. Total Renal Care, Inc. (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff-appellant worked as a regional operations director for Total Renal Care, Inc., which operated dialysis centers. The plaintiff received positive reviews by her coworkers and supervisors, but following Total Renal Care’s acquisition, she was transferred to a different group than the one she had previously worked in, which came with a reduced bonus and fewer stock awards. In addition, her employer filled her previous position with a male and promoted another male to a position for which she was potentially eligible. She brought suit in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas for gender discrimination and retaliation, but the court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer. The Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed on all counts except the plaintiff's gender discrimination claim, finding that there was a fact issue as to whether the plaintiff suffered an adverse employment action necessary for sustaining a gender discrimination claim.



Allen v. Totes Isotoner Corp. Supreme Court of Ohio (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff-appellant, an employee of Totes/Isotoner Corporation, had for two weeks taken breaks without her employer’s knowledge to lactate. After the defendant fired her “for her failure to follow directions,” the plaintiff filed suit alleging wrongful termination on the basis of her pregnancy. The Butler County Court of Common Pleas granted summary judgment in favor of her employer, and the Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed. The Supreme Court of Ohio also affirmed, holding that there was no evidence that employer's articulated legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for employee's termination, i.e., failure to follow directions, was pretext for pregnancy discrimination.



McBrearty v. Kentucky Community and Technical College System Kentucky Court of Appeals (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Jenean McBrearty held an eleven-month tenure-track teaching contract with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. One of her colleagues recommended that she include an opinion poll in her course materials, but McBrearty declined, and continued to decline when her colleague pressed. After she complained about what she considered to be harassment to her supervisors, she learned that her contract would not be renewed. She filed claims of sex and disability discrimination in the Fayette County Circuit Court, but the court dismissed her claims. The Court of Appeals of Kentucky affirmed, holding that she was unable to demonstrate a prima facie case of either form of discrimination.



Murray v. Eastern Kentucky University Kentucky Court of Appeals (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Phyllis Murray was a part-time and later full-time faculty member of Eastern Kentucky University. When she was hired to a full-time position, one of the terms of her contract was that she would obtain her doctorate within five years. During that period, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she received an extension on her doctoral requirement. Her request for a second extension was denied and subsequently she was fired for failing to obtain her doctorate. She brought suit against the university for gender and disability discrimination in the Madison County Circuit Court, but the court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer, finding that she failed to establish a prima facie case of either claim. Specifically, the court found that she failed to demonstrate that she was qualified for the position and that a similarly situated male colleague was treated more favorably. The Court of Appeals of Kentucky affirmed.



Withrow v. Calgon Carbon Corp. Kentucky Court of Appeals (2012)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Connie Withrow was employed as a floater technician at an industrial plant. One day she and a male coworker were assigned to light a furnace, but when they attempted to do so, there was an explosion. When Withrow was fired but her male coworker only received a 30-day suspension, she sued her employer, alleging that she was terminated because of her gender in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. The Boyd Circuit Court entered summary judgment in favor of the employer, finding that her employer had good cause to terminate her and that she was not similarly situated to her male colleague because she had a different role with more control during the explosion, was uncooperative during the investigation, and had more disciplinary issues on her record. The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that, though the trial court erred in finding that Withrow was not qualified for her job, her employer’s reason for firing her was not pretextual and that there was no evidence that the decision was based on her gender.



Thompson v. Louisville Metro Government Kentucky Court of Appeals (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Dawn Thompson, an employee with the Louisville Department of Corrections, was approached by her immediate supervisor, Kevin Sidebottom, who wanted to begin a romantic relationship with her. After she rebuffed his advances, Thompson began to hear rumors that the two were romantically involved, which she denied. She was later denied a promotion to captain. Instead, the two promotions went to a woman who had the highest test scores and a man with lower test scores than Thompson. Thompson claimed that Sidebottom denied her promotion because she declined his romantic advances two years earlier. However, a higher-ranking officer claimed that he made the promotion decisions alone and declined to promote Thompson because of a recent EEO complaint against her, which was eventually dropped. Two months later, Thompson received a promotion to captain despite again hearing rumors about her romantic involvement with Sidebottom in addition to rumors that he had tried to prevent her promotion. After Thompson filed an EEO complaint, the department found that Sidebottom did not retaliate against her because he did not make the promotion decision. Thompson then sued the Louisville government and Sidebottom individually and in his professional capacity for sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and retaliation in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, but the Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that she was unable to demonstrate that the legitimate reason for her initial failure to be promoted was not the real reason she was denied, and in addition, failed to show that she suffered an adverse employment action.



Philpot v. Best Buy Kentucky Court of Appeals (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Several Best Buy employees alleged that their supervisor sexually harassed them on three separate occasions. During the ensuing investigation, the three appellant-employees submitted a letter supporting their supervisor and stating that they had never seen him engage in improper conduct. While investigating the supervisor, Best Buy discovered allegations from five other employees that the three appellant-employees had also behaved in sexually inappropriate ways while at work. Best Buy hence suspended them pending an investigation and later terminated their employment after concluding the investigation. The employees brought suit against Best Buy for, among other claims, gender discrimination and sexual harassment in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. The Bullitt Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of Best Buy, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the employees had not sufficiently established the elements of a prima facie case of either gender discrimination or sexual harassment.



Gray v. Kenton County Kentucky Court of Appeals (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Three employees of the Kenton County Clerk’s office brought claims of sexual harassment in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act against the County Clerk’s Chief Deputy in the Kenton County Circuit Court. The Chief Deputy had made a number of inappropriate comments to each employee over the course of their employment. The Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of the county, holding that even though the deputy had made inappropriate comments—the county had in fact asked him to resign over them—his comments were neither severe not pervasive enough to constitute a hostile work environment. The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed.



Ransom v. B.F. South, Inc. Kentucky Court of Appeals (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Jacques Ransom was employed at one of several Wendy’s restaurants owned by B.F. South, but quit after one of her coworkers, “T.J.”, made several comments to other coworkers about Ransom’s gender reassignment surgery. When Ransom reported the comments to her supervisor, the store manager, the store and regional mangers met to discuss the situation and transferred T.J. to another Wendy’s location. Ransom was not fired or retaliated against; instead, she was promoted to crew leader and given a raise after lodging her complaint. She filed claims of hostile work environment and retaliation under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. The Jefferson County Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of Ransom’s employer, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the conduct of which Ransom complained did not rise to the level of actionable harassment because no adverse action was taken against her.



Tucker v. Bluegrass Regional Mental Health Retardation Board Kentucky Court of Appeals (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Angela Tucker, a licensed clinical social worker, requested salary increases from her employer after five years, and again after seven years, of employment, but was denied both times. She informed the director of human resources that male staff members had received large raises, and her pay was subsequently increased fifteen percent, but soon she began to be harassed by her employer and to receive additional scrutiny without justification. After her employer determined that she had inappropriately filed an involuntary hospitalization form for one of her patients, her employer required her to complete a three-month correction plan; when she refused, her employment was terminated. She filed suit against her employer for gender discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, but the Fayette Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of her employer. The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that she had failed to demonstrate a causal connection between her termination and her protected action (filing an EEOC complaint).



Commonwealth v. Solly Supreme Court of Kentucky (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Donna Solly was employed as a limited-status teacher at Caldwell Area Technology Center. Her employment was not renewed. The reason her employer gave for her non-renewal was that she had had an affair with a male colleague. Solly filed suit in the Franklin County Circuit Court, alleging sex discrimination. The Circuit Court found in favor of her employer, but the Court of Appeals of Kentucky reversed and remanded, holding that she had established a prima facie case of sex discrimination. The Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, holding both that she had not established that her male colleague with whom she had had an affair was not similarly situated, and that her employer’s stated justification for firing her was not pretextual.



Banker v. University of Louisville Athletic Association, Inc. Supreme Court of Kentucky (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Mary Banker, an assistant track coach at the University of Louisville, made a series of complaints about the conduct of male track coaches which she believed to be deprecating to women. When her contract was not renewed, she filed suit for retaliatory discharge, gender discrimination, and hostile work environment. The Jefferson County Circuit Court found for the university on the latter two counts, but awarded Banker damages for her retaliatory discharge. The Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed on the retaliatory discharge claim, but the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, holding that Banker had established a prima facie case of retaliatory discharge, albeit in part through circumstantial evidence of causation.



Asbury University v. Powell Supreme Court of Kentucky (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Deborah Powell was the women’s basketball coach at Asbury University who brought numerous complaints over several years to the university’s athletic director that the men’s team was receiving preferential treatment. Later, the university placed Powell on administrative leave allegedly for her having an inappropriate relationship with a female assistant coach. Powell brought suit under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act claiming that Asbury discriminated against her based on gender, defamed her, and retaliated against her for her complaints about her team receiving inferior treatment. The Jessamine Circuit Court ruled in Asbury’s favor regarding the discrimination and defamation, but in Powell’s favor on the retaliation claim. Both the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed, holding that while the school had not engaged in gender discrimination, it had engaged in retaliation against Powell for her complaining about alleged gender discrimination, which is in itself unlawful.



The Board of Regents of Northern Kentucky University v. Weickgenannt Supreme Court of Kentucky (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Andrea Weickgenannt was a faculty member at Northern Kentucky University who was denied tenure, despite receiving high marks in her employment evaluations. She was the only female accounting professor considered for tenure by the university in fifteen years. She brought suit alleging gender discrimination in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. The Campbell County Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of the university, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed, but the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the Circuit Court ruling. The Supreme Court held that Ms. Weickgenannt had failed to demonstrate sufficiently that a male candidate was similarly situated.



O'Loughlin v. Pinchback Florida 1st District Court of Appeal (1991)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

After disclosing her pregnancy to her employers, Pinchback, a correctional officer at a county jail, was terminated. As a reason for the termination, Sheriff O’Loughlin explained that while pregnant, Pinchback could not perform the duties of a correctional officer and was placing her baby’s health in danger. Pinchback petitioned Florida’s Human Rights Commission for relief pursuant to Florida’s Human Rights Act (which is patterned after Title VII). The Sheriff argued that Pinchback’s dismissal was based on the affirmative defense of “bona fide occupational qualification” (“BFOQ”), which requires that the employer demonstrate that the discrimination based on sex, religion, or national origin is “reasonably necessary to the normal operation” of the place of employment. The trial court found that the Sheriff violated Pinchback’s rights, which the appellate court upheld. The Court of Appeal explained that O’Loughlin’s actions were indefensible as there was no evidence that Pinchback (or any pregnant employee) could not perform her work as before. As a result, the court found Pinchback entitled to back pay and remanded the case for further proceedings to determine the back pay and benefits award.



Speedway Superamerica v. Dupont Florida 5th District Court of Appeal (2006)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

Dupont, employed by Speedway convenience stores, sued Speedway alleging sexual harassment and hostile work environment. Dupont’s complaint stemmed from her interactions with a coworker, Coryell. For months, Dupont had complained to her superiors that Coryell acted inappropriately with her, both violently and sexually. For instance, Dupont complained that Coryell had inappropriately grabbed her, made sexual comments concerning female customers, and humiliated her. On appeal from a jury verdict, Speedway argued that it was entitled to summary judgment because the record did not establish that the misconduct was directed at Dupont because of her gender and the evidence did not establish that the conduct was so severe or pervasive that it established a hostile work environment. Speedway also argued that it was entitled to a directed verdict because it took prompt remedial action to address Dupont’s complaints. Finally, Speedway argued that the plaintiff should be barred from collecting $75,000 or more because she successfully filed to have the case remanded back to state court on the grounds that the amount in controversy was no more than $50,000 after Speedway obtained removal to federal court. The Court upheld the jury verdict. It found that Coryell’s conduct was motivated by a hostility toward women because of their gender and that the conduct was sufficiently severe and pervasive to alter the conditions of Dupont’s employment. Finally, the court found that the award of punitive damages was appropriate because Coryell’s conduct was clearly willful, Speedway had been at least negligent in failing to promptly and adequately respond to Dupont’s complaints, and Dupont requested remand to state court in good faith.



Blizzard v. Appliance Direct, Inc. Florida 5th District Court of Appeal (2009)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

A female employee brought suit against her former employer for retaliation and sexual harassment based on claims that, among other things, her supervisor was constantly talking about his penis including graphic descriptions of its size, and his sexual prowess, history, successes, and aspirations. Blizzard did not allege that her supervisor’s comments were directed to her. Instead, she alleged that his comments were pervasive and that the female employees who were receptive to his “management style” received favors and preferences that Blizzard did not. Blizzard’s sexual harassment claim against her employer was based on the employer’s creation of a hostile work environment. The trial court granted a directed verdict for the employer. The appellate court explained that to establish a hostile work environment claim based on harassment by a supervisor, Blizzard was required to show: (1) that she is a member of a protected group; (2) that she was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment, (3) that the harassment was based on her sex, (4) that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of her employment and create a discriminatorily abusive working environment; and (5) that there was a basis for holding the employer liable. Relying on the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Jennings v. Univ. of North Carolina, 482 F.3d 686, 695 (4th Cir. 2007), the court found that Blizzard could maintain her claims even though the offensive language and acts at issue were not specifically directed at her and remanded the case for a new trial.



Byrd v. Richardson-Greenshields Securities Supreme Court of Florida (1989)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

Female employees brought allegations of assault, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring and retention of employees. The Florida Supreme Court considered whether the workers’ compensation statute provided the exclusive remedy for a claim based on sexual harassment in the workplace. The Court found that applying the exclusivity rule of workers’ compensation to preclude all tort liability would abrogate the overwhelming public policy interest in outlawing and eliminating sexual discrimination in the workplace. The Court distinguished workers’ compensation, which addresses purely economic injury, from sexual harassment laws, which are concerned with more intangible injuries to personal rights.  



Jumbo v. Banja La Mtsogolo Industrial Relations Court of Malawi (2002)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The applicant, Salome Jumbo, claimed she was dismissed as a result of her pregnancy. In 1999, the applicant started as a temporary nurse aid at a clinic and continued in that position until 2001. In 2001, the manager of the clinic assured the applicant that her job had become permanent. On April 4, 2001, the manager discovered that the applicant was pregnant. He immediately warned the applicant that he would not allow her to keep her job if she remained pregnant, as they wanted a permanent nurse aid. The manager also enquired into the applicant’s private affairs and made inappropriate sexual remarks. On June 1, 2001, the manager terminated the applicant’s employment explicitly informing her that her termination was due to her pregnancy. The applicant asked for a reference letter, but the manager refused saying that she was a temporary employee and did not deserve one. The Industrial Relations Court of Malawi (the “Court”) ruled that the termination was contrary to the spirit of the Employment Act and ordered that the clinic immediately re-instate the applicant. The Court found that the respondent specifically violated the applicant’s rights under §31(1) of the Employment Act, which requires employers to provide a reference if the employee requests one on termination of an employment contract.  In addition, the respondent violated § 49 (1) of the Employment Act, which dictates that “terminating a woman’s employment because of pregnancy amount[s] to an offence [that is] punishable with a fine of K20,000 and imprisonment of five years” (p. 3). The Court also found that the manager’s inquiries into the applicant’s private affairs with her husband amounted to sexual harassment. This case is notable in Malawi because it set the precedent that inquiring into a married woman’s private affairs with her husband is an unfair labor practice.



Mwanza v. World Vision Malawi Industrial Relations Court of Malawi (2006)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The respondent employed the applicant on a fixed term contract as a data entry clerk. The applicant’s contract term was four years expiring on January 10, 2005. However, the respondent terminated her on December 22, 2003. The reason given for her termination was that she had become pregnant out of wedlock. The applicant challenged the dismissal and took legal action against the respondent. The respondent conceded that the reason for termination was invalid and asked the court to decide on a remedy. The applicant asked for reinstatement as the remedy. The Industrial Relations Court of Malawi (the “Court”) found that reinstatement was an inappropriate remedy because the applicant’s fixed contract had already lapsed in time. Instead, the Court awarded the applicant compensation for the employment benefits lost between the effective date of her termination (March 22, 2004) and the expiration of her contract (January 10, 2005). The Court cited § 63 (4) of Malawi’s Employment Act, which “provides that compensation shall be just and equitable” (p. 2). The Court awarded additional compensation to the applicant pursuant to §§ 63(5)(d), 57(3) and 49 of the Employment Act. Section 57(3) “prohibits discrimination on the basis of one’s sex, marital status or other status;” whereas, § 49 prohibits “dismissal on grounds of pregnancy (p. 3).”



Kaunda v. Tukombo Girls Secondary School Industrial Relations Court of Malawi (2007)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The applicant and her husband were both employed by the respondent as an accounts clerk and teacher, respectively. After the applicant’s husband resigned to join the Public Service, the respondent terminated the applicant’s employment contract noting that her employment was tied to her husband’s. The applicant challenged the dismissal alleging that it was invalid. The Industrial Relations Court of Malawi (the “Court”) found that the respondent discriminated against the applicant on the basis of her marital status. The Court reasoned that “the effect of the reason used by the respondent was to prevent the applicant from entering and sustaining an employment contract and pursuing a livelihood in her own right because she was married” (p. 2). In reaching its decision, the Court consulted § 5 of Malawi’s Employment Act and §§ 20, 24(1)(i), 24(2)(b) and 31 of Malawi’s Constitution. The Court held that the applicant’s termination was invalid because the reason for her termination “denied her right to engage in economic activity through employment” and “her right to fair labor practices” (p. 2). Therefore, the applicant’s termination was also prohibited under section 57(3)(a) of Malawi’s Employment Act. The Court awarded the applicant compensation for the unfair dismissal and discrimination.



Phiri v. Smallholder Coffee Farmers Trust Industrial Relations Court of Malawi (2007)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape

The plaintiff, Phiri, was a security guard. She was employed on a fixed term renewable contract, renewable upon satisfactory performance. On December 26, 2005, near the end of her employment term, one of Phiri’s colleagues attacked her and attempted to rape her, only stopping after being apprehended when the plaintiff shouted for help. The plaintiff reported the incident to her employer’s management. In response, the company’s management accused her of misconduct for revealing to the public what the company considered an internal matter. On December 31 2005, the company fired the plaintiff citing the expiring fixed term contract for support. The plaintiff brought her case in front of the Industrial Relations Court of Malawi (the “Court”). The Court found that she had reason to believe her contract would have been renewed and that the company’s failure to renew her contract was based on the attempted rape incident. According to the Court, the company’s action breached an implied term of Phiri’s employment contract relating to mutual trust and confidence as well as the company’s obligation under the contract to protect female employees. The Court found that this incident was sexual harassment. Until recent amendments to the Employment Act, the labor laws of Malawi did not address sexual harassment. The closest Malawi’s labor regulation came to prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace was § 5 of the Employment and Labor Relations Act read with § 20 of Malawi’s Constitution, which prohibits unfair discrimination in all forms. Despite the lack of a legal provision specifically addressing sexual harassment, the Court found that inappropriate sexually based behavior (e.g. sexual advances) creates a hostile work environment and leads to unfair labor practices. Therefore, the Court found Phiri’s dismissal invalid and held that the company violated Phiri’s “right to fair labor practices, the right to work, her right to safe working environment and personal dignity” (p 4).



2014 (Ju) No. 1310 Supreme Court (First Petit Bench) (2015)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiffs were two male employees who had been temporarily suspended from work and demoted from their managerial positions for sexually harassing female employees by making comments of a sexual nature in the office. The plaintiffs sued the company, seeking a declaratory judgment that such disciplinary actions were void because there were no grounds for such actions, and/or the actions were taken abusively. The High Court found for the plaintiffs. On appeal, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s judgment, finding that the disciplinary actions taken against the plaintiffs were not an abuse of the company’s right to take action, and that furthermore the actions did not lack objectively reasonable grounds and were appropriate from a general societal perspective. The Supreme Court reasoned that 1) the plaintiffs had repeatedly made obscene or insulting statements to or about the female employees, despite warnings from superiors, 2) the company had distributed guidelines prohibiting sexual harassment and had held a mandatory seminar on sexual harassment, 3) in many cases, employees who experience sexual harassment may not expressly object due to concerns about damaging relationships with colleagues, despite the distress caused by the harassment, and 4) the plaintiffs, who were in managerial positions, should have recognized the policy and attitude of the company on the issue of sexual harassment as a matter of course.



Individual Application of Ayla (Şenses) Kara Constitutional Court (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The applicant, Ayla (Şenses) Kara, filed a complaint against a male co-worker, H.A., who insulted her. After filing her complaint, the applicant’s employer terminated her employment contract notwithstanding the fact that she had been the one who had been insulted. The Court of First Instance accepted the applicant’s complaint because her employment contract had been terminated “without any valid reason” and ruled that she should be re-hired. The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision. Despite being ordered to re-hire the applicant, the employer failed to employ her. The applicant filed a lawsuit before the Court of First Instance to address her employer’s violation of that order. She claimed that she was dismissed as a result of gender discrimination while the male employee who should have been dismissed was allowed to stay on, which was a violation of her rights to equal treatment and a fair trial. The Court of First Instance rejected the lawsuit because it had already ruled on her termination and it was not possible for her to claim compensation based on the same event. The Court of Appeals also rejected her appeal which led to her individual application to the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court set aside the lower courts’ decisions and remanded the case to the Court of First Instance for re-trial. The Constitutional Court rejected her claim that her right to equal treatment had been violated because there was inadequate evidence to find discriminatory intent. However, the Constitutional Court held that he right to a fair trial had been violated because of an unjustified judgement. The court found an unjustified judgement in her case because the lower courts had failed to properly assess her claim of gender discrimination. 



Goren & The Women's Lobby of Israel v. Home Center (Do It Yourself) Ltd. & The National Labor Court in Jerusalem Supreme Court (sitting as the High Court of Justice) (2012)

Employment discrimination

The petitioner received a salary a little over half that of a male employee with the same responsibilities and duties.  She sued respondent under the Equal Pay Act (the “EPA”) and Equal Job Opportunities Act (the “EJOA”) and won because the respondent could not justify the discrepancy, though the district labor court also found that the respondent did not have a policy of paying female employees less than male employees.  The lower court also determined that the petitioner had a legitimate claim under the EJOA because the respondent violated the EPA.  For each violation, the labor court awarded her the difference between her salary and that of her male colleague (NIS 6,944).  Each party appealed the damages to the National Labor Court, which held in a split decision that the right to contract trumps the right to equal pay and that an award under the EPA does not necessarily trigger a claim under the EJOA.  The majority held that the purpose of the EPA is to compensate an employee for discrepancies in pay between herself and a male colleague who performs the same task in the same workplace while the purpose of the EJOA is to combat discrimination; the former does not require any evidence of discrimination while the latter does, although that discrimination need not be intentional.  The High Court of Justice rejected the appellate court’s argument that the right to contract trumps the right to equal pay, calling it “a fig leaf to cover up real discrimination,” but agreed that the EPA and EJOA have different elements, purposes, burdens of proof, and remedies.  The High Court held that an employee has the burden of demonstrating discrimination, but that burden shifts to the employer under certain circumstances, like a pay discrepancy.  A larger pay discrepancy means a more significant burden for the employer.  In this case, the employer had the burden to prove that the petitioner’s lower salary was solely based on her request for a lower salary and not her gender.  The High Court held that an employer cannot justify a 35% difference in pay solely based on an employee’s salary request when hired.  However, due to her delay in filing, the Court voided the respondents’ damages obligation under the EJOA.



B-GBK I/178/16 Equal Treatment Commission (2016)

Employment discrimination

After a restructuring of the Austrian Armed Forces, female civil servants were excluded from the newly created supervisory roles, which were instead awarded to males with comparable experiences to their female counterparts. Representatives from the Austrian Armed Forces claimed that for reasons of efficiency and expediency, the reorganization sought to keep employees who were above age 50 and with presumably the shortest period of service remaining without regard to technical competencies or personal suitability. The Equal Treatment Commission found this to be a violation of Article 4 (5) of Austria’s Federal Equal Treatment Act (Bundesgleichbehandlungsgesetz), which prohibits direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of sex in the context of professional advancement. 



Mejia v. Catholic Charities of the Archdioceses of Chicago United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2015)

Employment discrimination

Plaintiff worked for Defendant when she became pregnant with a high-risk pregnancy. Plaintiff told supervisor that she was not strong enough to endure the pregnancy and had several dangerous near-miscarriages. Plaintiff was shortly demoted to a position which included manual labor. After work-related anxiety attacks, she prematurely delivered a son. Plaintiff brought claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, gender discrimination, and pregnancy-related retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as a negligence claim on behalf of her son. Defendant moved to dismiss the claims brought on behalf of Plaintiff’s son. The court determined that children have a right to be born free of prenatal injuries which a breach of duty on the mother’s behalf could foreseeably cause and that a child has a right to recover for injuries obtained prenatally from the negligence of another. Accordingly, the court denied the motion to dismiss.



Neera Mathur v. Life Insurance Corporation of India (1991)

Employment discrimination

Mrs. Neera Mathur had applied to work at Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Upon clearing the written test and the interview, she was asked to fill a declaration form disclosing personal facts as to pregnancy (if any) and her menstrual cycle. Further, she was required to undergo a medical examination as prescribed by LIC. She submitted her declaration and also underwent a medical examination and was certified as being fit for the job. Thereafter, her training program commenced and on its completion, she received an appointment letter with the stipulation that she would be on probation for the first six months and her appointment would be confirmed subject to her performance being satisfactory. During her probation she applied for maternity leave which was granted. On her return to service she was discharged from employment on the grounds that her service was not satisfactory and that she had failed to disclose personal facts as to her pregnancy and menstruation in her declaration form. Mrs. Mathur appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds that her right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution had been violated by the arbitrary order of discharge. The Supreme Court ordered LIC to re-instate Mrs. Mathur and set aside the order of discharge on the grounds that there was no evidence to prove that her performance was unsatisfactory and the only reason for termination was her failure to disclose personal facts in her declaration that are not required to be disclosed to an employer. The Court stated that while India is moving forward to achieve the constitutional guarantee of equal rights for women, LIC seemed not to be moving with time. It further recommended that LIC delete such requirements from its declaration form and made a note of the fact that if one indirectly seeks to evade providing maternity leave and benefits to a female candidate by not hiring her if she is pregnant at the time of entering the service, the same may be open to a constitutional challenge.



Gonzales v. Marriott United States District Court for the Central District of California (2015)

Employment discrimination

Plaintiff Gonzales was a full-time accountant for the Los Angeles Airport Marriott when she arranged to be a gestational surrogate, due to give birth in April 2014. When the child was born, Plaintiff used her three work breaks to pump breast milk and send it to the child’s family. After two weeks of shipping the milk to the family, Plaintiff continued to lactate for personal health reasons and donated the milk to women’s organizations for mothers who could not breastfeed. Marriot then discontinued her two extra breaks arguing that she was not disabled and not feeding a child at home. Plaintiff sued claiming disparate treatment, sex stereotyping, and failure to make reasonable accommodation to for a condition related to pregnancy. Marriott motioned to dismiss, and the court found that there was a question of fact as to all claims such that the motion to dismiss was denied in whole.



Fabian v. Hospital of Central Connecticut United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (2016)

Employment discrimination

Plaintiff complained that the Hospital of Central Connecticut did not hire her to be an on-call orthopedic surgeon because she disclosed that she was a transgender woman. Defendant moved for summary judgment, which the court denied, citing that transgender discrimination is a cognizable claim under Title VII as sex-based discrimination.



Young v. United Parcel Service Inc. Supreme Court of the United States (2015)

Employment discrimination

Plaintiff brought a claim of pregnancy discrimination alleging that her employer violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act by refusing to accommodate her pregnancy related lifting restriction. The Supreme Court held that a petitioner may state a prima facie case of pregnancy discrimination according to the McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green burden-shifting framework by showing: (1) she belongs to a protected class; (2) she sought an accommodation; (3) the employer refused to accommodate her; and (4) the employer has accommodated others "similar in their ability or inability to work." If a petitioner makes out a prima facie case of discrimination, the employer may rebut with legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for refusing to accommodate the employee. The employee must then establish that the employer's justification is pre-textual. The Supreme Court determined that there was a question as to whether the UPS provided more favorable treatment to other employees under similar circumstances and remanded the case for judgment.



Greene v. Buckeye Valley Fire Dept. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2015)

Employment discrimination

Plaintiff sued the Buckeye Valley Fire Dept. under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and a denial of equal protection under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants. However the Ninth Circuit reversed the grant of summary judgment citing that the Plaintiff needed only to provide evidence of a nexus between the alleged discrimination and her lack of promotion. The court determined that she did provide enough evidence to establish a nexus because a man seeking the same promotion was granted the promotion without having participated in assessments, the results of which kept the plaintiff from her promotion



EEOC v. New Breed Logistics Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2015)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The EEOC alleged a Title VII violation on behalf of Hines, Pearson, and Pete after their employer Calhoun allegedly sexually harassed them. Another employee witnessed the sexual harassment and confronted Calhoun. Each woman communicated their intent to complain about Calhoun’s sexual harassment shortly after which all three women were fired or transferred. Pete did place a complaint in the company’s complaint line but the company asked Calhoun five questions about his conduct and determined there was no misconduct. The court determined that complaints to management and informal protests were protected activities under Title VII. Therefore, the women’s demands that Calhoun stop harassing them are considered protected activity under Title VII, and retaliation constituted a violation of Title VII.



Mensah v. The Republic Court Martial Appeal Court (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

In 2008, Mr. Mensah married ABI Dosu Theresa when they were both members of the Ghana Armed Forces. Because Mr. Mensah was an officer and Theresa was a female of a different rank, the marriage violated the Armed Forces Act, which requires that for a male officer to marry a lower-ranked woman, the woman must first resign and obtain the “requisite prior approval for her release from the Ghana Armed Forces.” Mr. Mensah was thus dismissed from the Armed Forces. The Court upheld the dismissal, holding that the law was not discriminatory and was a justified means that the Armed Forces used to maintain discipline.



State of Maharashtra v. Indian Hotel & Restaurants Association Supreme Court of India (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Bombay Police Act, 1951 was amended in 2005 with the object of securing public order, morality, dignity of women, and reducing exploitation of women including trafficking of minor girls. Section 33A was inserted that prohibited performance of all types of dance in eating houses or permit rooms or beer bars. Section 33B was inserted that permitted three star hotels and Government associated places of entertainment to hold dance performances. The Indian Hotel & Restaurants Association filed a writ petition challenging Section 33A of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 before the Bombay High Court on the grounds that such prohibition: (a) discriminates against women employed to dance in eateries and bars and those employed to dance in three star hotels and government establishments; (b) interferes with their right to work and right to earn a livelihood, and thus is violative of the Indian Constitution. The Bombay High Court held that Section 33A is violative of Articles 14 (equality) and 19(1)(g) (right to work), of the Indian Constitution. The Government of Maharashtra filed an appeal before the Supreme Court and prayed that the terms “All dance” found in Section 33A be read down to mean “dances which are obscene and derogatory to the dignity of women” instead of striking it off altogether to ensure that the right to work of women is not interfered with. The Supreme Court upheld the judgement of the Bombay High Court. It declared that Section 33A violates Article 14 the Constitution of India on the ground that such law is based on an unacceptable presumption that the so-called elite (i.e. rich and the famous) have higher standards of decency, morality or strength of character than their counterparts who have to content themselves with lesser facilities of inferior quality in the dance bars. It declared that Section 33A violates Article 19(1)(g) on the ground that it interferes with the right of women to work and that, contrary to the ban’s purpose, it resulted in forcing some women into prostitution. The Court further urged the government to take affirmative action to ensure the safety and improve the working conditions of the persons working as bar dancers who primarily constitute of women.



Schiavo v. Marina Dist. Development Co., LLC Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Twenty-one former employees of the defendant’s hotel and casino alleged sexual discrimination, gender stereotyping, and disparate treatment and impact as a result of their employer’s standards for appearance. The casino instituted a standard weight applicable to men and women (which was 7% above a base rate adjusted for gender). The women’s job was to bring drinks to casino patrons, and to do so wearing a revealing costume. The plaintiffs reported incidents of sexual harassment by casino patrons to their employers, who did not address the incidents. The lower court granted summary judgment to the casino on the complaints of facial discrimination citing the statute of limitations. However, the appellate court determined that the summary judgment was in error, as it did not take into consideration that the plaintiffs’ claim that the employer ignored sexual harassment by casino patrons, creating a hostile work environment was a continuing violation. Because one of the alleged acts occurred within the two years prior to filing the case, the case is thus not time-barred.



Khurana and Others v. Union of India and Others Supreme Court of India (2014)

Employment discrimination

The Cine Costume Make-up Artists and Hair Dressers Association of Mumbai (Association) was registered as a trade union under the Trade Unions Act, 1926. The Association’s by-laws prohibited qualified women make-up artists from becoming members of the Association based solely on their sex. Ms. Charu Khurana, a women make-up artist whose application for membership to the Association was rejected, challenged this prohibition on the grounds that it violated several rights under the Indian Constitution, including her rights to equality, to employment, and to a livelihood. Noting that gender justice is integral to the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court struck down the Association’s by-laws as violating Articles 14, 15 and 21. Although the Court acknowledged that fundamental rights in India are enforceable only against the State and its authorities and not against purely private individuals or organizations, it found at the same time that a clause in the by-laws of a trade union registered under the Trade Unions Act, 1926, which is accepted by the Registrar of Trade Unions—a State authority under the Trade Unions Act—cannot violate the Indian Constitution.



Case No. 48/2010 Denmark Supreme Court (2012)

Employment discrimination

The plaintiff was employed as a social and health care assistant, but was dismissed from her job after approximately one month due to excessive sickness absence. At the time she was dismissed, the employee was pregnant and submitted a claim to her former employee requesting compensation corresponding to six months’ pay because her dismissal violated the Danish Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women. The Supreme Court agreed and held that the former employee should be awarded her six months’ pay and further found that the right not to be dismissed due to pregnancy-related absence covers situations where an employer was neither aware nor should have been aware of the pregnancy at the time of the dismissal.



Freescale Semiconductor Malaysia SDN BHD (Appellant) v. Edwin Michael Jalleh (First Respondent), and Mahkamah Perusahaan Malaysia Court of Appeal Malaysia at Putrajaya (2012)

Employment discrimination

The First Respondent Edwin Michael Jalleh was a senior manufacturing supervisor at the Appellant, and he deliberately touched the buttocks of Intan Nurulain, while she was working at the saw machine. Jalleh was a supervisor on the floor. The administrative inquiry found the allegation to be proved, and he was issued a letter of dismissal from the Appellant. The First Respondent filed a claim under Section 20 of the Industrial Relations Act 1967 that his services had been terminated without just cause or excuse. He sought, among other things, reinstatement. The Industrial Court ordered that the First Respondent be accorded with backwages and compensation in lieu reinstatement, because the punishment of dismissal was too harsh. The High Court dismissed the application by the Appellant for judicial review to quash the award of the Industrial Court. The Court of Appeal, in this case, stated that the germane consideration in industrial relations is that the remedy imposed is warranted and not disproportionate to the misconduct committed, and that consideration must be taken not only of matters concerning the interests of the party who committed the misconduct, but also the whole of the circumstances in the interest of maintenance of good industrial relations in the workplace. The Court of Appeal provided that the Industrial Court failed to take into account that the offense of the sexual misconduct was not committed by a peer, but rather by a superior, which increased the magnitude of the misconduct. Further, an award to the First Respondent (i.e., the person who committed the sexual harassment) in lieu of his reinstatement imposes an unfair punishment upon the Appellant (i.e., the employer), when the misconduct is not the act of or contributed by the employer, but solely a personal act of the employee. As such, the Court of Appeal set aside the order of the High Court and the award of the Industrial Court.



Noorfadilla Binti Ahmad Saikin (Plaintiff) v. Chayed Bin Basirun et al. (Defendants) High Court of Malaya at Shah Alam (2011)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, International law

The Plaintiff interviewed with the education officers of the Education Office of the Hulu Langat District to become an untrained teacher. During the interview, the Plaintiff was asked questions pertaining to her general knowledge, personal details, problem solving skills and residential address. She was not asked about her pregnancy status. The Plaintiff was accepted for the position and presented herself at an instructional meeting as instructed. At the meeting, she was told to report for duty immediately. Subsequently, an education officer asked whether anyone at the meeting was pregnant. Once the Plaintiff admitted that she was pregnant, her placement memorandum was withdrawn. The High Court held that it was not relevant whether or not there was a binding contract, as the the Defendants’ decision interfered with the Plaintiff’s right to be employed, which is contrary to Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution, which provides that there shall be no discrimination on the ground of gender in the appointment of any office or employment under a public authority. This Article of the Federal Constitution was adopted to comply with Malaysia’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The High Court declared that using pregnancy as a factor in employment is a form of gender discrimination under the Malaysian Constitution, applying CEDAW in interpreting Article 8(2) of the Constitution, because of the basic biological fact that only a woman has capacity to become pregnant.



Ts’epe v. Independent Electoral Commission and Others Court of Appeal of Lesotho (2005)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

In 2004 an amendment was introduced to the Local Government Elections Act 1998 (the “Amendment”) that reserved one third of all seats in every local council for women, the remainder was open to both men and women alike. The constitutionality of the electoral quota was challenged by a man whose candidacy for local government was rejected on the single ground that the electoral division at issue was reserved for women. The appellant argued that these measures are unconstitutional since women’s participation in local governments could have been achieved without debarring men from the same. The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the court a quo, dismissed the appeal and held that the Amendment was not unconstitutional, among others, since the impugned measures were carefully designed to achieve its objective, they were rationally connected to the objective and impaired the appellant’s rights in question as little as possible.



Supreme Court Decision 2008Da89712 Supreme Court of South Korea (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape

The Plaintiff worked as an employee for a corporation in which the Defendant served as a supervisor. The Defendant, who had the authority to hire and fire employees, singled out the Plaintiff frequently for her passive nature and alleged inferior job skills. On numerous occasions, the Defendant forced the Plaintiff to touch his penis and engaged in other various acts of sexual misconduct. The lower court found that the Defendant’s sexual misconduct constituted an invasion of the Plaintiff’s right to self-determination. Additionally, the lower court found the employer, the Defendant-Corporation, liable for the supervisor’s sexual misconduct. The Supreme Court of Korea affirmed, finding the supervisor and employer liable. Under Article 756 of the Civil Act, an employer can be held liable for an employee’s action if the act is “related to the employee’s execution of the undertaking (for which he is employed).” Thus, the Supreme Court noted that when an employee injures another intentionally, even if the act is not related to the employee’s undertaking of his job responsibilities, employer liability still attaches if the misconduct is “apparently and objectively related” to the employer’s work. Additionally, if an employee commits an intentional act such as sexual misconduct, the court noted employer liability attaches where the misconduct was objectively related to the execution of the employer’s work. Noting the Defendant-employee’s authority to fire and hire employees, as well as his ability to punish the Plaintiff for resisting his unwelcome sexual advances, the Supreme Court held that the Defendant-employee took advantage of his superior position over the Plaintiff and therefore committed the sexual misconduct in a situation proximate, in terms of time and place, to his job responsibilities. Therefore, the court found the lower court correctly applied the law in finding employer liability, as the sexual misconduct was objectively related to the Defendant’s job duties.



Gilroy v. Angelov Federal Court of Australia (2000)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Leoni Gilroy made allegations of sexual harassment against a co-worker, Branko Angelov, who is the respondent in this case. Gilroy sought damages against her employers, Craig and Toni Botting, the second respondents. Gilroy reported the sexual harassment to Mr. Botting, who told Gilroy that he didn’t believe Angelov would act in such a way. Nevertheless, Bottling agreed to keep Angelov away from her at work. Later, Mr. Botting terminated Gilroy’s employment, stating that Mrs. Botting believed that Mr. Botting and Gilroy were having an affair. The Court entered judgment in favor of Ms. Gilroy for $24,000 against the Bottlings, highlighting the emotional and financial difficulties experienced by Ms. Gilroy.



2001 (Ju) No. 1066 Supreme Court of Japan (2003)

Employment discrimination

The plaintiff exercised her right under Japanese law to reduce her working hours to spend time taking care of her child. The internal policy of her employer stated that employees who did not attend work for 90% or more of work days are ineligible for a bonus. The plaintiff’s employer counted the plaintiff’s shortened working days as absences and refused to pay her a bonus. The plaintiff sued her company for a bonus. The Supreme Court determined that the employer’s internal policy violated public policy and the employer should have counted actual working hours when calculating attendance rate.



郭晶与杭州市西湖区东方烹饪职业技能培训学校一般人格权纠纷,杭州市西湖区人民法院 (Guo Jing v. East Cooking Vocational Skills Training School) West Lake District Court of Hangzhou (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff alleged that in June 2014, she saw the recruiting advertisement of the respondent on the Internet, knowing that the respondent want to recruit two copywriters. Guo submitted her resume accordingly. However, Guo has not got reply since then. With the certainty that she is capable of the position, Guo called the School, asking about the job. Guo was told that since the position requires many business trips, only male can be considered. Guo emphasized that she can adjust to those business trips but was still refused by the same reason. Guo therefore brought this lawsuit on the basis that the respondent’s action is in violation of Article 3 of Employment Promotion Law of the People's Republic of China, which requires that “Workers shall be entitled by law to enjoy the right to equal employment and to seek their own employment. No worker seeking employment shall suffer discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, race, gender or religious belief.” The respondent argues that because of the specialty of the position, the copywriter should live in the same room with the president of the school, all of whom are male, while during the business trips. It is out of the consideration and care to the plaintiff that they did not recruit her. The court finds that since the respondent did not provide any evidence to prove the specialty of the position and the legal reasons for the unsuitability of female worker, it violates the accorded rule: Article 3, 12, 13 of Labor Law, which states “Labourers shall have equal right to employment and choice of occupation”, “Labourers, regardless of their ethnic group, race, sex, or religious belief, shall not be discriminated against in employment”, “Women shall enjoy the equal right, with men, to employment”.

性别歧视,就业歧视

原告称,2014年6月,自己在网上看到被告要招两名文案的招聘信息。原告在网上投递了简历。原告一直没有等来被告的回复。原告认为自己的各项条件均符合其工作所需,于是打电话询问应聘情况。被告工作人员答复说,他们的文案职位仅招男性,因为需要出差。原告告知自己完全可以胜任出差,于是不甘心又到被告招聘现场去应聘,依然被以同样理由拒绝。原告称,依据中华人民共和国就业促进法第三条,劳动者享有平等就业的权利,国家保障妇女享有与男子平等的劳动权利,而被告违反了这项法律。被告称该次招聘的岗位具有特殊性,出差住宿时必须与校长住一间标准间,而被告校长均为男性。基于公序良俗,被告没有录取原告。法院认为,被告未举证证明该岗位属于法律、法规所规定的女职工禁忌从事的工作,被告违反了《中华人民共和国劳动法》第三条、第十二条、第十三条劳动者享有平等就业权利的规定。



KHO 2013:46 Supreme Administrative Court (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The issue here was whether the concept of presumption of discrimination, as set forth in the Finnish Equality Act (609/1986, as amended) (the “Equality Act”), applied in the case where a less-merited male applicant had been appointed over two female applicants, and whether there was a justifiable reason for discrimination. In the case, the Regional Council of Lapland, a politically steered joint municipal board, had appointed V, a male applicant, as its director of development. Two female applicants, E and H, had disputed the council’s decision to appoint V on the basis that the appointment was based on V’s political affiliations and also because the decision breached the Equality Act. The Supreme Administrative Court considered (i) whether the threshold for presumed discrimination had been exceeded and, if this were the case, (ii) if there were grounds for the rebuttal of the presumption. The Court found that both E and H had been adequately qualified for the position and had more merits relevant to the position than V. On this basis, the Court held that E and H had sufficiently shown that they had not been appointed because of their gender and that, as a result, a presumption of discrimination, as set forth in Section 8 of the Equality Act, had arisen. Under the Equality Act, to rebut a presumption of discrimination an employer must show that its actions are attributable to a justifiable reason not connected to gender or that the actions were based on weighty and acceptable grounds related to the nature of the job or the task. The Regional Council of Lapland claimed that, in this case, the justifiable reason not connected to gender was V’s having more socio-political experience. The Court, however, held that socio-political experience was not specifically mentioned in the pre-established selection criteria for the position and was, therefore, part of the general merit assessment of the applicants. As discussed, the Court had found that, based on this assessment, both E and H had more merits relevant to the position than V. Therefore, the Court held that V’s socio-political experience was not a justifiable reason for his appointment. For these reasons, the Supreme Administrative Court agreed with the earlier holding of the Administrative Court of Rovaniemi that the decision of the Regional Council of Lapland to appoint V as its director of development was made in breach of the Equality Act and, therefore, ordered the decision to be annulled.



HelHo 2009:10 Court of Appeal of Helsinki (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The issue here was whether a representative of an employer can be guilty of work discrimination, as set forth in Section 3 of Chapter 47 of the Finnish Criminal Code (39/1889, as amended) (the “Criminal Code”), by temporarily laying off an employee on the employee’s return from family leaves, and whether a justifiable cause for such discrimination existed in the case. In the case, B, who had been working at a company since 1998, had been on a two-year maternity leave between 2004 and 2006 and on a subsequent nursing leave after the maternity leave ended. During these family leaves, the company had, initially temporarily and subsequently on a permanent basis, employed C to carry out tasks that B had been responsible for before the family leaves. Upon her return to work in early 2007, B was temporarily laid off by A, the CEO of the company. A claimed that the work that C had been tasked with doing had changed while B was on the family leaves and that B could therefore not return to her old position. A further stated that the company was not able to offer B another position due to the company’s financial difficulties, and more specifically, that the company was not able to simultaneously employ both B and C. According to the Criminal Code, an employer, or a representative of the employer, that during employment without an important and justifiable reason puts an employee in an inferior position because of the employee’s gender, is guilty of criminal work discrimination. The Court of Appeal held that B had under the Finnish Employment Act (55/2011, as amended) the right to return to her old position after her family leaves ended or, if this was not possible, be offered other work in accordance with her employment contract. The Court further held, in accordance with A’s own statement, that the company could have trained B for the new type of work within only a brief period of time and, therefore, that laying off B and continuing to employ B’s substitute C (that had been made a permanent employee just before B’s return) was based on B’s gender and her family leaves. Due to these reasons, and despite the company’s financial difficulties, the Court held that there was no justifiable reason for the discrimination and, therefore, found A guilty of criminal employment discrimination. A was sentenced to pay 30 days-fine and damages to B of 1,200 Euros.



Yolanda Floralde, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al. Supreme Court of Philippines (2000)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The respondent was found guilty of grave misconduct for sexually harassing his co-workers and was dismissed from Government service. He successfully appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the ruling. The Supreme Court reinstated the ruling, citing the well-established rule that findings of fact of an administrative agency must be respected even if they are not overwhelming and even if the appellate court would weigh evidence differently.



Hickie v. Hunt & Hunt Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1998)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Marea Hickie, a solicitor, claimed unlawful discrimination by her employer, the partnership of Hunt & Hunt, during and after her maternity leave. Shortly after returning from maternity leave, the firm decided not to renew Hickie's contract. At issue was a requirement that Hickie work full-time to maintain her position at the firm. Hickie claimed that the firm’s non-renewal constituted unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, pregnancy, potential pregnancy and family responsibility. Upon review of the case, the Commission noted that such a requirement was “likely to disadvantage women” and therefore the firm’s non-renewal resulted from “an act of [indirect] discrimination.” The respondent firm was ordered to pay Hickie $95,000 in compensation.



Sentencia Numero 740/06 High Court of the Basque Country Contentious-Administrative Chamber (2004)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

During a staff selection process for the Basque Health Service, in particular for the substitution of the chief of psychiatry services in the Santiago de Vitoria Hospital for a period of six (6) months, Mrs. Elena who had had a baby fifteen (15) days before the above mentioned selection process, was obliged by the Basque Health Service authority to renounce to the post she had the right to. The Basque Health Service authority deprived Mrs. Elena from a post that corresponded to her by the position she had in the list of temporary recruitment. The Basque Health Service authority forced Mrs. Elena to renounce to the post because of her recent maternity when she had expressly said that she wanted to accept that job. Art. 48 of the Statute of Workers Right (Estatuto de los Trabajadores) damage the worker depriving them from an appointment that corresponds to the worker. The maternity leave is not equal to a lack of capacity for the performance of their duties for the post under Spanish law. Law 30/1999 of 5th October of selection of temporary workers of the Health Service, does not exclude the recruitment of a person during the maternity leave. The decision of the High Court of the Basque Country was to appoint Mrs. Elena as temporary worker for the Basque Health Service (in particular for the substitution of the chief of psychiatry services in the hospital Santiago de Vitoria) for the remaining period until the fulfillment of the six (6) months period of the vacant position.

Durante un proceso de selección de personal para el Servicio de Salud Vasco, en particular para la sustitución del jefe de servicios de psiquiatría en el Hospital Santiago de Vitoria por un período de seis (6) meses, la Sra. Elena, que había tenido un bebé quince (15) días antes del proceso de selección mencionado anteriormente, fue obligada por la autoridad del Servicio Vasco de Salud a renunciar al cargo al que tenía derecho. La autoridad del Servicio Vasco de Salud privó a la Sra. Elena de un puesto que le correspondía y le otorgó la posición a alguien en la lista de reclutamiento temporal. La autoridad del Servicio Vasco de Salud obligó a la Sra. Elena a renunciar al cargo debido a su reciente maternidad cuando había dicho expresamente que quería aceptar ese trabajo. Artículo 48 del Estatuto de los Trabajadores (Estatuto de los Trabajadores) establece un daño al trabajador que ha sido privado de una cita que le corresponde. La licencia de maternidad no es igual a la falta de capacidad para el desempeño de sus funciones para el puesto bajo la ley española. La Ley 30/1999, de 5 de octubre, de selección de trabajadores temporales del Servicio de Salud, no excluye el reclutamiento de una persona durante la licencia de maternidad. La decisión del Tribunal Superior del País Vasco fue designar a la señora Elena como trabajadora temporal del Servicio Vasco de Salud (en particular para la sustitución del jefe de servicios de psiquiatría en el hospital Santiago de Vitoria) por el período restante hasta el cumplimiento del período de seis (6) meses del puesto vacante.



Sentencia núm. 7262/2008 High Court of Cataluña, Labour Chamber (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender-based violence in general

Mrs. Yolanda was dismissed from her job post when she was in a situation of temporary incapacity as a consequence of an anxiety disorder due to physical abuse carried out by her husband. The company alleges that during the period of temporary incapacity due to anxiety disorder, Mrs. Yolanda carried out a normal life. This situation may be a cause of dismissal for normal workers, but not when the worker is a victim of gender abuse. Mrs. Yolanda was in a situation of temporary incapacity determined by the Spanish health services. The High Court of Catalonia decided that as Mrs. Yolanda was in a situation of temporary incapacity determined by the health services due to gender based violence she had to be readmitted in her job.

La Sra. Yolanda fue despedida de su puesto de trabajo cuando se encontraba en una situación de incapacidad temporal como consecuencia de un trastorno de ansiedad debido a los abusos físicos cometidos por su esposo. La compañía alega que durante el período de incapacidad temporal debido a un trastorno de ansiedad, la Sra. Yolanda llevó a cabo una vida normal. Esta situación puede ser causa de despido para los trabajadores normales, pero no cuando el trabajador es víctima de abuso de género. La señora Yolanda se encontraba en una situación de incapacidad temporal determinada por los servicios de salud españoles. El Tribunal Superior de Cataluña decidió que, dado que la Sra. Yolanda se encontraba en una situación de incapacidad temporal determinada por los servicios de salud debido a la violencia de género, tuvo que ser readmitida en su trabajo.



Gaylene Jessica Helen Main v. Kim Richards Topless Human Rights Review Tribunal (2004)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff was a milker employed by a dairy farm. The plaintiff complained that she was not considered for promotion or training opportunities because she was female. The plaintiff also alleged sexual harassment, in the form of unwelcome comments and jokes. The court found that the plaintiff did not establish that she had been a victim of unlawful discrimination on the ground of her sex. The court was satisfied that the plaintiff had made out her claim for sexual harassment and that the employer was vicariously liable for the acts of the employees because it had failed to take any adequate steps to prevent sexual harassment in the work place.



State v. Airline Limited Court of Appeal of New Zealand (2010)

Employment discrimination, Sexual violence and rape

A commercial airline pilot was dismissed after making an unscheduled overnight stop and having sexual relations with a cabin crew member. The pilot appealed to the Employment Court. The Employment Court declined to suppress the pilot’s name from the public record. The court held that the Employment Court was not wrong to find that the public’s right to know outweighed the pilot’s reputational interests, and dismissed the appeal.



Angelica Rangi Ngapera v. Gerry Reddick Human Rights Review Tribunal (2004)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The plaintiff worked at a motel. She alleged that her manager made offensive comments to her and spread rumors about her in the community. The court found that the plaintiff suffered a detriment in the course of her employment under the Human Rights Act.



Patricia Halagueña, et al. v. Philippine Airlines Incorporated Supreme Court of Philippines (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, International law

Female flight attendants employed by Philippine Airlines alleged their collective bargaining agreement was discriminatory due to unequal grooming standards and a compulsory retirement requirement at fifty-five years of age for women but sixty years of age for men. At issue was whether the claim was a labor grievance such that the Regional Trial Court would lack jurisdiction to hear the claim. The Supreme Court held that the regional court had jurisdiction, because the action was not a grievance, but instead a civil action to annul a provision of the contract, and that the question for decision did not involve any determination of labor or union actions.



1 BvL 8/08 Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) (2010)

Employment discrimination

Employees of state hospitals in Hamburg were granted the right in 1995 to continued employment in case of privatization of the hospitals. In 2000, the cleaning staff were spun out into a separate company which was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the state hospitals. Upon privatization in 2005, the right to continued employment was applied only to those employees employed by the state hospitals, not those employed by the wholly-owned subsidiary company. The Court held this to be in breach of the right to equal treatment enshrined in the German constitution as the cleaning staff denied the right to continued employment due to the spin-off were predominantly women and there was no evident justification for the unequal treatment of the two groups of employees.



15 Sa 517/08 Employment Court Berlin-Brandenburg (Landesarbeitsgericht Berlin-Brandenburg) (2008)

Employment discrimination

The claimant sued her employer on the grounds of discrimination after a male colleague received a promotion to a management role she had hoped for. The Court decided for the claimant, accepting statistical evidence showing that, while the majority of employees of the employer (69%) were women, no women were represented on the three most senior management levels. This was the first decision of a court accepting such statistical evidence of discrimination.



1 BvR 774/02 Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) (2005)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Court held that it was unconstitutional to require an attorney without earnings to continue to make compulsory pension contributions during time taken out to care for children (up to the age of three years). Requiring such compulsory pension contributions was viewed as in breach of the right to equal treatment enshrined in the German constitution because it disproportionately affects women who are in the vast majority of cases the ones taking time out to care for small children.



Ayoub v. AMP Bank Limited Court of Appeal of Australia (2011)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Ms. Ayoub claimed harassment and discrimination following a performance appraisal after which her position was made redundant. She also sought worker’s compensation for anxiety/distress caused by the alleged conduct. An arbitrator found for Ms. Ayoub on the basis that the company had failed to consult her on the redundancy decision and mishandled the performance appraisal and these actions caused her mental injuries. A court overturned the arbitrator, finding that first, while it would be unreasonable for an employer to inform a worker of her redundancy in a callous way, the redundancy decision was unrelated to Ms. Ayoub’s performance, and second, Ms. Ayoub’s position was such that she did not legally have to be consulted ahead of time. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Acting Deputy President’s decision, finding no error of law.



Constitutionality of Social Security Minimum Payment Provision as Applied During Maternity Leave: ADI 1946-5 (in Portuguese) Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (2003)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal or “STF”) reviewed the constitutionality of the 1998 Amendment 20 of the federal Social Security Law. The amendment imposed a maximum value on the amount of social security benefits that could be paid to a beneficiary under the general social security system at R$1,200 per month. On its face, the R$1,200 maximum applied equally to a number of eligible benefit categories, including maternity or pregnancy-related leave. The amendment was challenged on the grounds that, when read together with Article 7, Section XVIII, of the 1988 Brazilian Constitution, the amendment had a discriminatory effect on women. This provision essentially guarantees that an employee is paid her full salary during maternity leave. By imposing a cap on social security coverage during maternity leave, Amendment 20 would require the employer to cover the difference between the R$1,200 cap and the employee’s full pay. The party challenging the amendment argued that this created a negative incentive to employers who would discriminate in hiring women or in setting women’s salary by paying women less in order to stay under the R$1,200 cap. The Court agreed that Amendment 20 was discriminatory in its effect. In a unanimous decision, the STF held that the effect of Amendment 20 conflicted with the Brazilian Constitution’s equal protection provisions that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. The Court therefore ordered that Amendment 20 be interpreted in a manner consistent with the Article 7 of the Constitution such that implementation of the social security cap does not extend to maternity and pregnancy-related leave.



Israel Women’s Network v. Government Supreme Court of Israel (1994)

Employment discrimination

Three men were appointed to the boards of directors of Government corporations when neither board was comprised of any women members at the time of appointments. The court found each appointment unlawful under s. 18A of the Government Corporations Law (Amendment No. 6) (Appointments), which required ministers to appoint, “in so far as it is possible in the circumstances of the case, directors of the sex that is not properly represented at that time on the board of directors of the corporation.” As a result, the court set aside each of the three appointments without prejudice.



Mme Florence B…/IBM, RG 02/00504, Arret n. 635 2003 Cour d’appel de Montpellier (2003)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Florence B, an employee of SA IBM France, was promoted to the rank of “coefficient 285” in March 1986. She remained in this position for a total of 12 years. Company statistics demonstrated that the average period of employment for male employees of the company in this position was only 4.11 years. Florence B claimed that the company failed to promote her based on grounds of sexual discrimination. IBM France SA was unable to justify Florence B’s lack of career advancement and refused to provide documentation to show that Florence B’s lack of advancement was justified. Florence B was awarded damages of 30,000 euros to compensate her for the lack of career advancement and the court ordered her promotion to “coefficient 114.” The costs of the case were to be determined in accordance with Article 700 of the New Civil Code of Procedure, in favor of the appellant.

Florence B, une employée chez SA IBM France a été promue au rang “coefficient 285” en mars 1986. Elle a resté à ce rang pendant 12 ans. Les statistiques de la compagnie démontrait que les employés mâles restaient à ce rang pour une moyenne de 4.11 ans avant d’être encore promus. Florence B prétendait que la compagnie ne l’a pas promue en conséquence de sexisme. IBM France SA n’a pas pu justifier la manque d’avancement de Florence B et a refuse de fournir des preuves démontrant que cette manqué était justifiée. La cour a ordonné que Florence B reçoit 30,000 euros comme recompension pour la manqué d’avancement. La cour a aussi ordonné qu’elle soit promue au rang “coefficient 114.” Les coûts de litige devaient être determines en accordance avec l’Article 700 de la nouvelle code civile de procedure, en faveur de l’appelant.  



Reed & Bull Information Systems v. Stedman (1999, IRLR 299 EAT) Employment Appeal Tribunal (1999)

Employment discrimination

S was employed by Bull as a temporary secretary and was subsequently given a permanent placement responsible to the Marketing Manager, R. S resigned on the ground that she found working with him intolerable as R allegedly sexually harassed her. S never confronted S nor made any identifiable protests about his behavior with the exception of complaint she made about him telling dirty jokes to colleagues in her presence. But she had made complaints to her mother and colleagues at work. Although the tribunal decided that no single incident was serious enough to be capable of constituting sexual harassment, they did find that there had been a series of sexual inferences with a pervading sexual innuendo and sexist stance and that R realized that they were unwanted and were bullying in nature. With regard to the liability of Bull, the tribunal found that colleagues in the personnel department were well aware of the applicant's deteriorating health and that she had made complaints to other members of staff which had been dismissed. In those circumstances there should have been an investigation into the cause of the illness and the complaints that had been made. By failing to implement this, Bull committed a repudiatory breach of contract as they failed to deal with the issue of sexual harassment adequately. The tribunal concluded that the applicant was entitled to compensation for unfair dismissal by reason of sexual discrimination. The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the appeal and added that whilst not “gross: the behavior of R towards S was most inappropriate in the workplace. The EAT placed the burden on the victim to place the harasser on notice that she does not welcome his conduct and endorsed the reasonable person perspective in assessing a victim’s rejection. The question at issue should be was the victim subjected to a detriment on the grounds of her sex. A one-off ace may suffice. The Court also directed tribunals to pay attention to the impact of totality of successive incidents, individually trivial.



Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd Supreme Court of Canada (1989)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

The appellant waitresses had been harassed while working at Pharos Restaurant, a restaurant owned by Platy Enterprises Ltd. Multiple waitresses endured sexual harassment from the same employee. In each individual incident, the waitresses resisted the conduct and one waitress spoke to management. While the harassment stopped, the offending employee continued to behave in an “unpleasant manner.” An adjudicator for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission awarded damages to the victims of sexual harassment and found that they had been “victims of sex discrimination contrary to s. 6(1) of the Human Rights Act. The Court of the Queen’s Bench upheld the decision, but the Court of Appeal later reversed. The Supreme Court of Canada held that the lower court “should not have reduced the amount of damages given to the appellants” given the severity of the sex discrimination experienced by the employees.



Bebb v. Law Society Court of Appeals of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland (1914)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Gwyneth Bebb, upon being denied admission to the Law Society to take the preliminary examination to become a solicitor, took the matter to court. In Bebb v. Law Society, the Court of Appeal stated that the question of whether the gender-neutral language of the statutes meant that women could gain admission to the bar was settled through “long usage” in the common law and found that women were not included under “persons” in the Solicitor’s Act of 1843. Additionally, women were considered to have an additional disability at common law, namely that after marriage they are not able to enter into contracts with third parties. As every woman held the potential of being married, this disability was also applied to unmarried women.



Bradwell v. The State United States Supreme Court (1872)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Myra Bradwell petitioned to be admitted to the bar and to be allowed to practice law, but was denied by the Supreme Court of Illinois. The United States Supreme Court upheld this decision, noting that a woman’s freedom to pursue the occupation of a lawyer was not a “privilege and immunity” of Untied States citizenship that was protected from state restriction by the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution. Thus the court found that excluding women from the bar did not violate the U.S. Constitution.



Hall v. Incorporated Society of Law Agents Court of Sessions (1901)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Margaret Hall appealed to the Court of Sessions regarding the decision of the Society of Law Agents in Scotland to deny her permission to take the preliminary examination for the Society. Hall argued that she should be given permission because the statute permitted “persons” to become law agents and so, by its terms, did not exclude women. The Society had found that women did not have a legal right to practice law given that “[a]ccording to inveterate usage and custom in Scotland, that practice has in all departments of the law been hitherto confined exclusively to men.” Upon Hall’s appeal, the Court of Sessions also refused to grant her permission because the statute did not explicitly include women, even though it did not explicitly exclude them either. In support of its decision, the court stated that the word “persons” had to be interpreted according to its customary usage; because women had been ineligible to become law agents when the statute was enacted in 1873, the court found the customary usage of “persons” to mean “male persons” and accordingly refused Hall’s appeal.



Incorporated Law Society v. Wookey, 1912 AD 623 Appellant Division (1912)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

A firm of attorneys was willing to enroll Madeline Wookey as an articled clerk, but Wookey met with opposition from the Cape Law Society, which refused to register her articles. Wookey submitted an application to the Cape Supreme Court, which ordered the Society to register her. The Law Society appealed this decision to the Appellate Division, arguing that Wookey could not be admitted as an attorney because she was a woman. The Appellate Division was called upon to decide whether the term “persons” used in the statute governing admission of attorneys to the bar included only “male persons” or also included women. They determined that “persons” included only male persons, thus excluding women from the legal profession.



In re Maddox Maryland Court of Appeals (1901)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This case addressed the claims of Etta Haynie Maddox that she should be allowed to sit for the bar examination and receive admission to the bar despite a Maryland state statute limiting bar admission to “male citizens of Maryland.” The Maryland Court of Appeals denied her application, stating that the court did not have the power to enact legislation. Thus until the legislative branch declared that women could be admitted to the bar, the court did not have any power to admit Maddox.



Schlesin v. Incorporated Law Society, 1909 TSC 363. Transvaal Supreme Court (1909)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

In 1909, Judge Bristowe of the Transvaal Supreme Court presided over Schlesin v. Incorporated Law Society, the first case in South Africa to consider whether women had a right to enter the legal profession. The Transvaal Supreme Court held that women were barred from admission to legal practice based on historical practice in South Africa, Holland, and England. Judge Bristowe explained that the Interpretation of Laws Proclamation 15 of 1902 provided that “words of the masculine gender shall include females…unless contrary intention appears” and found that given long historical practice, it was evident that contrary intention did indeed appear in the legislation governing admission to the bar.



In re Goodell Supreme Court of Wisconsin (1875)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

In Goodell, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin refused to include women within the construction of the word “person” and denied Goodell admission to the bar because she was a woman. Judge Ryan noted that that extending the meaning of “person” to include females as well could result in perverse interpretations of the law, and provided examples of the ridiculous results he foresaw, including the “prosecution [of a woman] for the paternity of a bastard…” In support of his conclusion that a gender-neutral statute did not mean that women could be admitted to the bar, Judge Ryan also maintained that the admission of women to the bar was not something contemplated by the state legislators who enacted of the legislation in question; thus he found “no statutory authority for the admission of females to the bar of any court of [Wisconsin].”



In re Lockwood United States Supreme Court (1894)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Supreme Court stated that a woman could not be admitted to the bar because she was under a common law disability: she did not have the right to enter into contracts with third persons without the permission of her husband.



Talleys Fisheries Ltd. v. Lewis High Court of New Zealand (2007)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This case concerns the application of §§22(1)(b) and 21(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act of 1993 (‘the Act’). It was first heard before the Human Rights Review Tribunal. The plaintiff, Ms. Lewis, claimed that the defendant, Talleys Fisheries, had engaged in employment discrimination on the basis of gender, alleging that they offered her less favorable terms than her male counterparts who had substantially similar capabilities for substantially similar work. At the defendant’s fish processing plant, there was a noticeable divide between the roles for which male employees were hired and those for which female employees were hired. The roles of male employees included that of filleter, which was more difficult and had a higher rate of pay. Female employees were rarely hired for this role, despite being qualified for it. The Tribunal held that this disparity amounted to gender discrimination. Expert witness for the defendant testified that such gender disparity among roles in fish processing plants was standard industry custom, and, therefore, that the defendant had not engaged in gender-based employment discrimination. The Tribunal rejected both the factual finding of the existence of industry custom, as well as the conclusion that industry custom would be dispositive in this case. It held that mere existence of an industry custom of gender-based hiring practices would not justify gender-based employment discrimination. On appeal, the High Court of New Zealand affirmed.



D.S. Grewal v. Vimmi Joshi Supreme Court of India (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Vimmi Joshi was the principal of a public school who alleged her superior had sent her love letters and made sexual advances towards her. She brought a complaint to the School Managing Committee and was asked to bring the complaint in writing. Subsequently, the Committee received two anonymous complaints against Joshi and her employment was terminated. She challenged the termination claiming sexual harassment. The High Court held that this was a clear case of sexual harassment and ordered disciplinary actions to be taken. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the High Court’s decision because the Supreme Court had previously laid out guidelines for sexual harassment complaints in Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan; a complaint committee must have been formed to inquire into the complaint further. The Supreme Court held that since the High Court did not fully look into the matter, they could not have found that this was a clear-cut case of sexual harassment. The High Court was directed to appoint a three-member committee, which must be headed by a woman, to hear the case.



Scuncio Chevrolet, Inc. v. Salandra Rhode Island Superior Court (1988)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Plaintiff worked for the defendant and sold cars. Following termination of her employment, she filed a complaint with the Humans Rights Commission. The Commission found she was entitled to back pay, fringe benefits, interest, and that the defendant was to cease and desist its unlawful employment practices. In response to defendant’s appeal, the court found that the plaintiff’s testimony that she was never confronted for unsatisfactory work performance, and she neither received formal evaluations, nor written or oral warnings was credible. Notwithstanding her positive performance, the plaintiff was terminated. The defendant argued that she was “laid-off,” and that the Commission failed to take into account that the defendant did not hire a male replacement for the plaintiff’s position. However, the defendant did hire a male employee a day before it fired the plaintiff. The court found that the Commission was entitled to reject the defendant’s testimony and find that it was clear that the plaintiff was replaced by a male employee. Thus, the Commission’s finding of liability was affirmed.



Motsinger v. Lithia Rose-Ft, Inc. Oregon Court of Appeals (2007)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Plaintiff, who was employed for fourteen months by defendant as a part-time receptionist, alleged that she was subjected to repeated acts of sexual harassment by several male employees. Plaintiff also alleged that her employment was terminated in part as retaliation for reporting this sexual harassment to management. Plaintiff brought a wrongful termination action against the employer, alleging claims of sexual harassment under Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.030(1)(a), retaliation under Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.030(1)(f), wrongful discharge, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court denied defendant's petition to abate the proceeding pending arbitration, ruling that the arbitration clause contained in plaintiff's employment contract with defendant was unenforceable because it constituted an unconscionable contract of adhesion. The appellate court found that the employee did not show that the contract formation carried indicia of procedural and substantive unconscionability other than an unequal bargaining power. Consequently, the Court of Appeals of Oregon reversed and remanded the case.



Ettner v. City of Medford Oregon Court of Appeals (2001)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Although plaintiff had satisfactorily completed her firefighter-training year and had been highly recommended for advancement, she was found to have allegedly failed five final task tests and her employment was terminated shortly thereafter. Plaintiff filed an action against defendant City of Medford for unlawful employment practice alleging she was unlawfully discharged as a firefighter on the bases of gender and of perceived impairment in violation of ORS 659.030 which provides, in pertinent part, “(1) It is an unlawful employment practice: (a) For an employer, because of an individual's . . . sex, . . . to . . . discharge from employment such individual. However, discrimination is not an unlawful employment practice if such discrimination results from a bona fide occupational requirement reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business.” Plaintiff was required to prove only that she was treated less favorably than male candidates because of sex, which is sufficient to establish a discriminatory motive. The Circuit Court found for the employee on the gender discrimination claim, and the appellate court affirmed. Here, the grading was unfair to plaintiff because it was highly subjective and allowed for too much internal bias. Furthermore, because two of the evaluators were officers who had previously expressed reservations regarding a gender-integrated department on behalf of other firefighters, it was a permissible inference that those evaluators attempted to give effect to the line firefighters' animus by giving plaintiff lower scores than she deserved. These testing problems existed within a context, revealing a general animosity toward female firefighters as firemen had told plaintiff that they were having problems with their wives over the hiring of a woman and had expressed concerns about plaintiff’s ability to ably assist the other firefighters during a fire despite plaintiff’s proven physical ability. Finally, plaintiff's success as a firefighter before and after her experience in Medford provided circumstantial evidence of discriminatory treatment. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the judgment, concluding that plaintiff satisfied her burden in proving that gender was a substantial and impermissible factor in the city's decision to discharge her.



Roberts v. Dudley Washington Supreme Court (2000)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Appellant-employer filed an appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals, which reversed a ruling entered in the Superior Court, granting appellant’s motion for partial summary judgment and dismissing appellee-employee’s wrongful discharge claim. The Supreme Court of Washington affirmed the appellate court’s decision, holding that appellee properly stated a cause of action for the tort of wrongful discharge based on the clearly articulated public policy against sex discrimination in employment. When appellee was on unpaid maternity leave, appellant discharged appellee, claiming that the position was no longer available due to a business slowdown. Appellant re-advertized the position one year later, but when appellee applied she was refused reemployment. Appellee claims the reason given for her discharge (i.e., economic slowdown) was pretextual, whereas the real reason for her discharge was that she was pregnant. Appellee filed a claim for common law wrongful discharge in violation of the public policy against sex discrimination. Although an indefinite employment contract is generally terminable at will, an exception to the at-will rule exists in the form of a common law cause of action in tort for wrongful discharge of an employee where the discharge contravenes a clear mandate of public policy. In this case, public policy against gender discrimination is grounded in the constitution, statute, and prior court decisions. Therefore, the Supreme Court of Washington affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals, as appellee properly stated a cause of action for the tort of wrongful discharge based on the clearly articulated public policy against sex discrimination in employment.



Mackay v. Acorn Custom Cabinetry Washington Supreme Court (1995)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Plaintiff-ex-employee challenged the jury instruction given by the Superior Court, which directed the jury to find in plaintiff’s favor in a discrimination case brought pursuant to Wash. Rev. Code § 49.60.180(2), only if it concluded, inter alia, that gender was the determining factor in the decision by defendant ex-employer to discharge plaintiff. RCW 49.60.180(2) provides that “[i]t is an unfair practice for any employer . . . (2) [t]o discharge or bar any person from employment because of age, sex, marital status, race, creed, color, national origin, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained guide dog or service dog by a disabled person.” The Supreme Court of Washington declined to read the “because of” language of the statute, as requiring proof that one of the attributes enumerated in RCW 49.60.180(2) was a “determining factor” in the employer’s adverse employment decision. Rather, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision, holding that in order to prevail on a discrimination claim brought pursuant to RCW 49.60.180(2), plaintiff only needed to prove that her gender was a “substantial factor” in defendant’s decision to terminate her employment.



Danny v. Laidlaw Transit Servs., Inc. Washington Supreme Court (2008)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Employment discrimination

While she was working at Laidlaw, plaintiff and her five children experienced ongoing domestic violence at the hands of her husband. Plaintiff requested time off to remove herself and her children from the abusive situation, was refused, and was subsequently given paid time off for 15 days, in which she availed of police, legal, and advocacy assistance. Shortly after returning to work, defendant first demoted plaintiff and subsequently terminated plaintiff’s employment stating as a reason falsification of payroll records. Plaintiff filed her complaint against defendant, alleging that Laidlaw terminated her employment in violation of public policy and Washington's Law Against Discrimination, RCW 49.60. Absent a contract to the contrary, Washington employees are generally terminable “at will,” with a narrow exception for the common law tort of wrongful discharge, which applies when an employer terminates an employee for reasons that contravene a clearly mandated public policy. As one element of this tort, the plaintiff needed to establish “the existence of a clear public policy (the clarity element).” The Supreme Court of Washington reformulated the certified question from the District Court as follows: Has Washington established a clear mandate of public policy of protecting domestic violence survivors and their families and holding their abusers accountable? The Supreme Court of Washington answered the question in the affirmative, holding that plaintiff had satisfied the “clarity” element of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, because Washington unequivocally established, through legislative, judicial, constitutional, and executive expressions, a clear mandate of public policy of protecting domestic violence survivor and their families and holding abusers accountable. On remand, the Supreme Court of Washington instructed the District Court to determine whether employee satisfied the jeopardy element of the tort by showing that the time she took off from work was the only available adequate means to prevent domestic violence against herself or her children by evaluating the nature of the danger, the particular actions she undertook, and the details of her work schedule.



Monge v. Beebe Rubber Co. New Hampshire Supreme Court (1974)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

Here, the plaintiff worked for the defendant in a union shop and she joined the union as a requirement for her employment. After working without incident for a few months, the plaintiff applied to work a different position for higher pay. The plaintiff’s foreman told her that if she wanted the job, she would have to be nice. The plaintiff got the job. Subsequently, the foreman asked her out and she refused. Following this, the plaintiff’s personnel manager visited her at home about some annoying phone calls the plaintiff was receiving, and during that visit, the manager told the plaintiff he knew that the foreman used his position to make advances at female employees under his authority, and asked the plaintiff “not to make trouble.” After that, only three weeks after having worked in the new position, her machine was shut down, her overtime was taken away (even though no one else’s was), and she had to return to a position at a lower salary. The foreman continued to harass plaintiff in various ways, eventually firing her for refusing to comply an order at the very moment she was making a complaint to the union steward. After she was reinstated, the plaintiff was fired yet again when she called in sick over a period of time. The plaintiff did not file a claim for hostile working environment upon her termination. However, she did sue for breach of her employment contract. The plaintiff was an at-will employee. The court noted that in order to find termination was improper, the plaintiff would need to show that the termination was motivated by bad faith or malice. The court noted that the facts of the case—in particular, the foreman’s overtures, manipulation of assignments, and the connivance of the personnel manager, all supported the jury’s conclusion that termination was maliciously motivated and thus improper. Thus, even though the plaintiff did not sue for sexual harassment, she was able to use the harassment to show she was maliciously terminated from her job.



Haddad v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (2009)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Here, the plaintiff worked as a staff pharmacist for the defendant for ten years.   At a subsequent point, she became temporary pharmacy manager.  Until the plaintiff was terminated thirteen months later, she was paid at a lower rate as a pharmacy manager than her male counterparts.  She was told by the defendant that she would receive the difference in pay but never did.  She complained numerous times and finally received a check for the pharmacy manager bonus that others received, but never received the thirteen months’ worth of additional pay.  Prior to her termination, the plaintiff was questioned about two prescriptions that were fraudulently written—one while she was on duty and the other was written while a male pharmacist was on duty.  The pharmacy technician immediately admitted that she falsified the prescription from when the plaintiff was on duty.  The plaintiff denied knowledge of the fraud, but she was terminated based on her failure to secure the pharmacy.  The pharmacy technician was also terminated. The male pharmacist however was not fired or disciplined for failing to secure the pharmacy area.  At the time of the plaintiff’s termination, twenty of the twenty-one managers above the pharmacy manager level were male and all pharmacy technicians were female.  The court found that the evidence was sufficient to show that the defendant discriminated against the plaintiff in terminating her.  The court reasoned that a reasonable jury could have disbelieved the defendant’s reason for terminating the plaintiff; that the plaintiff’s base wage was lower than her male counterparts, and that there was discrimination based upon the fact that the male pharmacist on duty when another prescription was falsified was not disciplined or terminated.  The court found an award of compensatory damages was supported by the evidence, but that punitive damages amounting to $1 million were not warranted because the defendant’s conduct was not so outrageous or egregious.



Cuddyer v. Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (2001)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

Here, the plaintiff worked for the defendant as a worker on production lines.  Since the first day she was sexually harassed by her supervisor and two foremen, as were other women workers. Although plaintiff reported some of the incidents, she did not report all because she was afraid the supervisor would make her work harder if she complained. Complaints to management were followed by periods of relief, but the sexual harassment would restart or would turn into a hostile work environment. Similar occurrences continued and the plaintiff filed the suit against the defendant for a hostile work environment. Gen. Law. C. 151B, § 5 requires a plaintiff to file a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination (“MCAD”) within six months of the occurrence of the discrimination to allow the MCAD an opportunity to investigate the claim and to provide the defendant with notice of potential liability. However, this requirement does not exist where the discrimination is of a continuing nature and where there is a discrete violation within the six-month period to anchor the earlier claims. Here, the plaintiff did not file a complaint with the MCAD within six months of the first occurrence. The defendant argued that the continuing violation doctrine does not apply here because the plaintiff admitted in her deposition that she considered the discrimination by other employees at the time the acts occurred. A continuing violation claim will fail if the plaintiff should have been aware that she was being discriminated against while the earlier acts which are now untimely, were taking place. Id. at 534-35. The court found though that a plaintiff may not be able to appreciate the true character of the discriminatory environment until after it has continued for some time. Further, a hostile work environment constitutes a pattern of sexual harassment, which by definition, has to take place over time. The court found the plaintiff’s claims were thus timely and not barred by the six-month requirement.



Ramsdell v. Western Mass. Bus Lines, Inc. Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (1993)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

Here, a female employee appealed the decision of the Commission Against Discrimination which dismissed her complaint against her employer for sexual discrimination.  The Massachusetts Supreme Court affirmed the Commission’s decision.  Under Gen .L. C. 151B, §4(1) (1990), employment discrimination on the basis of gender is prohibited.  The Massachusetts Code defines sexual harassment as “sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions; (b) such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment.”  Gen. L. C. 151B, §1(18) (1990). 



College-Town, Div. of Interco, Inc. v. Mass. Comm’n Against Discrimination Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (1987)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Here, an employer appealed the superior court’s decision that it discriminated against an employee on the basis of sex.  A few weeks after College-Town hired the employee, Rizzi, Rizzi’s supervisor began making sexually suggestive comments to her.  Once he touched her back, and another time he put his hand over a slit in her dress and told her to fix her skirt.  On one occasion, Rizzi asked her supervisor to review her performance in a meeting and he told her that she handled it well and that he “liked the way [her] tits stood out in the red shirt.”  Once, he asked her if she was a good f----.  Rizzi then spoke to the director of manufacturing, who told her he was “not qualified to go into these things,” and refused to talk to her.  Rizzi had to wait several days before she could tell someone else at work.  A College-Town executive finally spoke with the supervisor about the allegations, which were denied.  A meeting was held to determine the truth of the allegations, which the supervisor and all other women in the department attended except for Rizzi.  She was not asked to the meeting or notified of its occurrence.  At the meeting, the supervisor explained the allegations and Rizzi’s co-workers were generally supportive of the supervisor.  College-Town made no further investigation.  Prior to that meeting, Rizzi sought a promotion to a position in another department.  After the meeting was held, Rizzi was informed she was not qualified for the promotion and College-Town hired someone with more knowledge and experience.  Soon thereafter, College-Town attempted to transfer Rizzi as tension in the office was affecting productivity and she declined.  Rizzi was never told the transfer was mandatory, and within weeks of her denial, she was discharged. The trial court found that College-Town’s supervisor created a sexually harassing work environment, it failed to remedy the situation, and it retaliated against the employee in its attempt to transfer her and discharge her once she declined the transfer.  Id. at 158.  The Massachusetts Supreme Court affirmed the decision and found that sexual harassment may constitute discrimination under Gen. L. C. 151B, §4(1), which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of gender.



Strickland v. Prime Care of Dothan United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division (2000)

Gender discrimination, Employment discrimination

Ms. Strickland sued her former employer, Prime Care of Dothan, on the theory Prime Care terminated her employment as a medical assistant because of her pregnancy. Prime Care filed a motion for summary judgment on the sole issue of whether Ms. Strickland had sufficient evidence to create an issue of fact on the question of pretext. In order to rebut the inference of discrimination, Prime Care was required to articulate a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for its decision to terminate Ms. Strickland. To this end, Prime Care asserted that it based its termination decision on violation of work rules, including that Ms. Strickland was rude and/or unprofessional on several occasions, was frequently tardy, and failed to return to work after attending a doctor’s visit. Because, if true, the reasons asserted by Prime Care were nondiscriminatory, the burden shifted back to Ms. Strickland to show that the proffered reasons were really pretext for unlawful discrimination. Ms. Strickland achieved this by showing her conduct did not violate Prime Care’s established policies, and presenting circumstantial evidence that, if true, demonstrated her supervisor harbored a discriminatory animus toward unmarried pregnant women. Prime Care also argued that even if it did discriminate against unmarried, pregnant women, such discrimination did not violate Title VII because the differential treatment was not based on sex. Rather, Prime Care claimed such a policy was neutral toward women, since women were both members of the group of married pregnant women and unmarried pregnant women. The court held that Congress and the Supreme Court had expressly rejected this argument, finding that the terms “because of sex” or “on the basis of sex” include because of or on the basis of pregnancy. Thus, an employer violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act when it premises an employment decision, in whole or in part, on the fact that one of its female employees or applicants was pregnant out of wedlock. For these reasons, the court denied Prime Care’s motion for summary judgment.


Thames Talent, Ltd. v. Com'n on Human Rights and Opportunities Connecticut Supreme Court (2003)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

Plaintiff was hired as a bookkeeper and secretary for the defendant company, and worked exclusively for the company’s president. The president subjected plaintiff to comments about the her clothing and body, quizzed her about intimate details of her sex life, purchased underwear for her, and showed her pictures of naked women. Some of this behavior was done in front of other employees. In response, plaintiff began wearing baggy clothing to work and told the president that his behavior made her uncomfortable. Subsequently, in a discussion about plaintiff’s work performance, the president told plaintiff that he was happy with her work and that she may receive a raise if her performance continued. Two days after this discussion, plaintiff met with the president again to discuss her discomfort at work due to his comments. Several days later, the president terminated plaintiff’s employment. Plaintiff sought back pay and reimbursement to the state for unemployment compensation benefits. The trial court granted back pay but did not order reimbursement. Defendant appealed against having to provide back pay, arguing that under Gen. Stat. § 46a-86, an order of reinstatement to the employment position is a prerequisite for back pay or reimbursement, and the court had not ordered reinstatement. The court rejected this argument and found it could order back pay and reimbursement even though reinstatement to the position was not ordered by the trial court.



Schuster v. Derocili Delaware Superior Court (2001)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

Here, the plaintiff was an at-will employee whose contract could be terminated by either party giving thirty days written notice. The plaintiff mainly worked for the defendant, who was the president and controlling shareholder of the company. The plaintiff alleged the defendant made sexual comments and advances towards her a few weeks after she commenced work and also touched her inappropriately. The plaintiff told the defendant his behavior made her uncomfortable but he did not stop. Subsequently, the plaintiff began recording the defendant’s conduct in a journal and rejecting his advances more forcefully. The defendant subsequently fired the plaintiff for substandard job performance. Under 19 Del. C. § 711, an employer may not discriminate against an employee based upon gender. The defendant argued that there could be no common law cause of action for employment discrimination because there was already a statutory scheme, and the plaintiff was required to abide by the specific procedures of that statute to bring such a claim. Specifically, the defendant argued that judicial review is only available after the Delaware Department of Labor Review Board hears the matter. Plaintiff based her theory on a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing derived from the employment contract and as such, her claim did not arise directly from § 711. The court found that the plaintiff had a common law cause of action and she could bring her claim.



Kopenga v. Davric Maine Corp. Maine Supreme Court (1999)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff applied for a job to work at the defendant’s race track as a security officer. The defendant’s director of security informed the plaintiff that he normally did not hire women and instead employed her in the dispatch hour to answer telephones and complete paper work. The plaintiff had a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and experience in security work. The plaintiff subsequently requested to work the late night security shift at the stable gate to work additional hours. Her request was denied as the director did not hire women for this position. When the general manager learned of the incident, he informed the director that he violated company policy and directed him to change his discriminatory practices. Ultimately, the plaintiff left the company due to disputes over her work assignments and she filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and sued the defendant. The trial court determined that but for the director’s gender discrimination, the plaintiff could have worked an additional sixteen hours each week for thirty-three weeks and that she would have earned overtime. The Supreme Court of Maine held that the plaintiff was entitled to back pay for these lost wages under 5 M.R.S.A. § 4613.



FBG Serv. Corp. v. Anderson Nebraska Court of Appeals (1993)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Anderson worked the night shift at FBG Service Corp (“FBG”). A review conducted in November 1988 stated that Anderson’s work was “excellent.” In early or mid-July 1989, a coworker recommended Anderson for the recently vacated job of daytime supervisor, and Anderson expressed interest. The person with hiring authority told coworkers that he preferred a man for the job as it involved heavy lifting. A month later, the firm hired a man with 21 years of experience in the military and 18 years of experience in repairing machinery for a “janitorial” position at a rate of $4 an hour.



Craine v. Trinity College Supreme Court of Connecticut (2002)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Here, the plaintiff was hired by the defendant as an assistant professor. Throughout her employment, she was reappointed and complimented by the appointments and promotions committee. In her positions, the plaintiff taught, researched, and participated in service efforts for the defendant. Id. at 629-30. Despite that the plaintiff published several articles, taught students and supervised student research, during her tenure review in her sixth year of employment, she was denied tenure. Id. at 632-33. The tenure committee found the plaintiff was a “good teacher but not an extraordinary one,” and found her service to the school to be adequate. However the committee found her research and scholarship was inadequate, since she had only published one article in a refereed professional journal (notwithstanding that she had other publications). Id. at 634. The plaintiff claimed that the tenure process as it applied to her was discriminatory. The court noted that to establish a prima facie case of gender discrimination in the work environment, a plaintiff must show: “(1) she was a member of a protected class; (2) she was qualified for her position; (3) she was discharged; and (4) the termination occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.” Id. at 225-26. The court noted to meet the fourth element, the plaintiff must show that “she was treated less favorably than comparable male employees in circumstances from which a gender-based motive could be inferred.” Id. at 638. Once a prima facie case is established, to succeed on a gender discrimination claim, the plaintiff must go further to show that the defendant was motivated by an intent to discriminate against the plaintiff in its acts.



Northtown Ford v. Illinois Human Rights Commission Court of Appeals Fourth District (1988)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Illinois Human Rights Commission (HRC) filed a suit against Northtown Ford alleging discrimination against an employee who had been terminated with regard to sick leave benefits and salary, sex discrimination for reduction in salary, and retaliation. The administrative law judge entered a judgment in favor of the employee for salary claims and sick leave benefits, and the HRC affirmed. The Court of Appeals decided that the employee was allowed to amend the complaint because the amended claim was reasonably related to the original claim.



Affaire B.S. C/ Comission de P Court of Appeal of Burkina Faso at Ouagadougou (2003)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Court found that the employer had acted inconsistently in offering Mrs. B.S. one-month extensions on her fixed term contract and then ending her contract at a time when she would otherwise have begun maternity leave on the grounds that there were no more project-related funds to cover her employment.  This inconsistent behavior supported the finding that Mrs. B.S. had been unfairly dismissed because of pregnancy.  Under Article 33 of the Labor Code, the Court awarded damages to Mrs. B.S. for unfair dismissal.  Furthermore, the Court faulted the employer for having violated Article 84 of the Labor Code which states that pregnant employees must enjoy maternity benefits under the Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale, including 14 weeks of paid leave, and awarded Mrs. B.S. the maternity benefits that she would have received had she not been unfairly dismissed.



Affaire Zabsonre Asseta C/ Direction Regionale de la Santé de Tenkodogo Court of Appeal of Burkina Faso at Ouagadougou (2001)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Mrs. Z.A. contended that she had been unfairly dismissed for having refused sexual advances by the personnel manager.  The Court found that Mrs. Z.A. did not have the obligation to prove that she had been the subject of sexual harassment.  Her employer had the burden of proof to show that she had been dismissed fairly.  The Court found that Mrs. Z.A. had been dismissed because she did not submit to her personnel manager's sexual advances, and therefore awarded her punitive damages in addition to six months pay.



Reports

Analysis of the precedents of the Cantonal Courts on the Gender Equality Act (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The study is an in-depth analysis of 190 records of cantonal conciliation hearings and judgments under the Federal Gender Equality Act, 1996 (the “Act”) over the period of 2004 to 2015 by authors Karine Lempen (Law Professor, University of Geneva) and Aner Voloder (Lawyer, Office for Gender Equality of the Municipality of Zurich).  Among the major findings and conclusions reached in the study are the following:

Proceedings under the Act are nearly always brought by private individuals (mainly women) and very rarely by organizations, notwithstanding the provision of the Act authorizing court actions relating to gender discrimination to be brought by organizations. Individuals bringing a case of gender discrimination to the courts most commonly complain of pay discrimination or discriminatory dismissal, and in the vast majority of cases employment has ceased before the court issues its judgment.  Bringing an action under the Act very often entails losing one's job. Almost one-third of discrimination cases relate to pregnancy or maternity, with discrimination often occurring on return to work after maternity leave and the mother being dismissed by the employer. Discriminatory or constructive dismissal cases are often adjudged solely under Swiss employment laws rather than under the specific provisions of the Act. In some cases this has resulted in a failure to relax the plaintiff’s burden of proof as provided in the Act. Most persons bringing proceedings for gender-based discrimination do not win their cases, with the analysis showing that 62.5% of rulings enforcing the Act find mostly or entirely against the claiming employee. Similarly, it is not unusual for the employee in the action to be ordered to pay costs which may amount to several thousand Swiss francs. The protection in the Act against constructive dismissal has proved to be fairly ineffective in practice, with court actions rarely being brought under that provision and all but one of such actions failing. The failure rate is particularly high (82.8%) when the alleged form of discrimination is sexual harassment, with the courts often failing to recognize that the intention of procuring sexual favors is not necessary to a finding of a hostile working environment, and therefore of sexual harassment under the Act.  Moreover, it is rare for judgments to assess the extent to which the employer has met its obligation to prevent harassment. The special compensation allowed under the Act for sexual harassment is rarely awarded.

Based on the conclusions reached in the study, the authors make a number of recommendations -- for amendments to the Act and other specific legislative changes, improved training of the judiciary with regard to the Act, actions by Swiss equality offices (including improved data collection, more in-depth study of maternity-based discrimination in Switzerland and actions to raise awareness generally of the Act and the rights it provides), and universities (to require study of the Act as part of the bachelor’s degree course of study in law) -- in order to improve access to justice for people discriminated against on grounds of gender in working life.



Gender Issues and International Legal Standards: Contemporary Perspectives (2010)

Gender discrimination, Employment discrimination



Exclusion of women from the legal profession in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and South Africa (2012)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices

Although great strides have been made in breaking down the barriers that have previously kept women from being able to have the same rights and privileges to work in the legal profession that men enjoy, there is still progress to be made.



Memoranda

Maternity Benefits: International and Regional Standards and Guidelines on Maternity Benefits and Country Samples of Best Practices (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Adequate and sufficient maternity leave, coupled with appropriate accommodations on return to work, are essential to women’s physical and psychological wellbeing after giving birth. This memorandum outlines the international and regional framework relating to maternity benefits and provides country illustrations of best practices from Sweden, Croatia, Chile, South Africa, and Vietnam.



Exclusion of women from the legal profession in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and South Africa (2012)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This memorandum provides a brief overview of the key statutes, cases, and legal arguments that sanctioned the exclusion of women from the bar and, by extension, the bench, in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.



International Case Law

The Case of Emel Boyraz v. Turkey European Court of Human Rights (2015)

Employment discrimination

The case concerned a dismissal from public sector employment – a State-run electricity company – on grounds of gender. Ms Boyraz, the applicant, had worked as a security officer for almost three years before being dismissed in March 2004 because she was not a man and had not completed military service. In the Court’s opinion, the mere fact that security officers had to work on night shifts and in rural areas and had to use firearms and physical force under certain conditions had not in itself justified any difference in treatment between men and women. Moreover, the reason for Ms Boyraz’ dismissal had not been her inability to assume such risks or responsibilities, there having been nothing to indicate that she had failed to fulfil her duties, but the decisions of Turkish administrative courts. The Court also considered that the administrative courts had not substantiated the grounds for the requirement that only male staff could be employed as security officers in the branch of the State-run electricity company. The Court therefore concluded that the difference in treatment of which she had been a victim had not pursued a legitimate aim and had amounted to discrimination on grounds of sex. Consequently, there had been a violation of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8.



Mayr v. Bäckerei und Konditorei Gerhard Flöckner OHG European Court of Justice (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Ms. Mayr was employed as a waitress with Konditorei Gerhard Flöckner, and was terminated while undergoing in vitro fertilization. Ms. Mayr then filed suit to recover payment of her salary and pro rata annual remuneration, arguing that from the date on which in vitro fertilization of her ova took place, she was entitled to the protection against dismissal provided by Austrian legislation. After proceedings in the lower courts, the Austrian Supreme Court referred to the European Court of Justice the question of whether a female worker is entitled to protection from dismissal where her ova have been fertilized but not yet transferred to her uterus. The European Court of Justice answered the question in the negative. But the Court also held that EU Directives on the implementation of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and working conditions preclude the dismissal of a female worker who is undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment where it is established that the dismissal was based on such treatment.



Pensionsversicherungsanstalt v. Kleist European Court of Justice (2010)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Mrs. Kleist, who was employed as chief physician for the pension insurance institution, was terminated pursuant to a policy requiring termination of all employees, whether male or female, upon reaching the age at which they could draw a public retirement pension. Mrs. Kleist argued that the termination policy was discriminatory because, under the pension statute, women were able to draw a pension at an age five years younger than men; thus requiring their termination five years earlier. After proceedings in the lower courts, the Austrian Supreme Court referred to the European Court of Justice the question of whether the policy constituted prohibited discrimination on the grounds of sex. The Court answered the question in the affirmative, holding that since the criterion used by such a policy is inseparable from the worker’s sex, there is a difference in treatment that is directly based on sex. Having found direct discrimination, the Court also held that the difference in treatment could not be justified by the objective of promoting employment of younger persons.



Elisabeth de Blok et al. v. The Netherlands CEDAW Committee (2014)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Elisabeth de Blok and five other nationals of the Netherlands are self-employed women who gave birth between 2005 and 2006. Until 31 July 2004, self-employed persons were compulsorily insured against the risk of loss of income as a result of incapacity for work under the Incapacity Insurance Act. Under the Work and Care Act, self-employed women were also entitled to a State maternity benefits. On August 1, 2004, the Discontinuation of Access to Incapacity Insurance Act entered into force, ending the entitlement of self-employed women to maternity benefits. The six self-employed women complained to the District Court of The Hague, claiming that the State should have ensured an adequate maternity benefit scheme in keeping with article 11(2)(b) of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women. The District Court declared the claim unfounded. The Court of Appeal of The Hague upheld the judgment. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, ruling that the provisions of article 11(2)(b) of the Convention were insufficiently precise, thus making them unsuitable for direct application by national courts. In their complaint to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the six women argued that the State party violated their rights under article 11(2)(b) of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women by removing the existing maternity leave scheme applicable to self-employed women up to 2004. The Committee held that article 11(2)(b) is applicable also to self-employed women and not to female employees exclusively. Further, the Committee held that, contrary to the State party’s view, the provision was directly applicable. The Committee concluded that the State party’s failure to provide maternity benefits affected pregnant women adversely and therefore constituted direct sex and gender-based discrimination against women. The Committee recommended that the State party provide reparation, including monetary compensation, for the loss of maternity benefits to the six women. The Committee noted that the Sate party amended its legislation in June 2008 to ensure that a maternity leave scheme is available also to self-employed women. However, the Committee invited the State party to address and redress the situation of women similarly situated to the authors, who are self-employed and gave birth between 1 August 2004 and 4 June 2008, when no compensation scheme for self-employed women was in place.



Siliadin v. France European Court of Human Rights (2005)

Employment discrimination, Trafficking in persons

Domestic slavery. The applicant arrived in France in 1994 aged 15 years with a passport and a tourist visa. She had agreed to work for Mr. and Mrs D. until the cost of her air ticket had been reimbursed. During this time, Mrs. D. was to attend to her immigration status and find her a place at school. In reality her passport was taken away and she became an unpaid housemaid for Mr. and Mrs. D. She worked seven days a week, without a day off, and was never paid, except by Mrs. B.’s mother who gave her one or two 500 FRF notes. At an initial hearing, Mr. and Mrs. B. were convicted; however, this was overturned on appeal. The Court of Appeal ruled that the additional investigations and hearings had shown that, while it did appear that the applicant had not been paid or that the payment was clearly disproportionate to the amount of work carried out, in contrast, the existence of working or living conditions that were incompatible with human dignity had not been established. The European Court of Human Rights rejected this decision and held that in this case there had been a domestic slavery to the fore. The Court focused on the vulnerable nature of the applicant and the fact that the work being carried out without remuneration and against her will. This case brings the issue of domestic slavery to the fore. In a report by the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men it was observed that 95% of the domestic slavery victims taken up by the Committee against Modern Slavery since 1994 were women. The case also demonstrates the specific threat that domestic slavery poses to women and highlights that over 4 million women worldwide are sold into domestic slavery each year.



France v Stoeckel, Court of Justice of the European Communities, 1991 Court of Justice of the European Communities (1991)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Gender discrimination, employment discrimination. France had a long industrial and legal tradition prohibiting night work for women, accompanied by legislation which was aimed at protecting female workers. Alfred Stoekl, the manager of Suma SA, Obenheim, a business concerned with the packaging of audio and video cassettes, violated the ban by hiring female night workers and invoked the Equal Treatment Directive in his defense. The court held that in terms of protecting female workers, discrimination is only valid if there is a justified need for a difference of treatment as between men and women. However, whatever the disadvantages of night work may be, it does not seem that, except in the case of pregnancy or maternity, the risks to which women are exposed when working at night are, in general, inherently different from those to which men are exposed. Article 5 of Council Directive 76/207 on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions is sufficiently precise to impose on the member-States the obligation not to lay down by legislation the principle that night work by women is prohibited, even if that is subject to exceptions, where night work by men is not prohibited. This case is important as its judgment led to France rejecting legislation prohibiting women from night work with effect from February 1993.



Brooks v. Canada Safeway Ltd. Supreme Court of Canada (1989)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Three female Safeway employees filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission stating that the company plan discriminated based on sex and family status by denying benefits for loss of pay due to accident or sickness during a 17-week period during pregnancy (even if the accident or sickness at issue was unrelated to the pregnancy). The Commission’s adjudicator dismissed the claims, and this decision was upheld by the Court of the Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada decided that Safeway’s plan did discriminate against pregnant women. Noting that “it cannot be said that discrimination is not proven unless all members of a particular class are equally affected,” the Supreme Court of Canada determined Safeway discriminated against the employees on the basis of sex under the Manitoba Human Rights Act.



Case 43/75, Defrenne v Sabena [1976] ECR 455 European Court of Justice (1976)

Employment discrimination

D worked as a flight attendant for the airline Sabena. The airline paid her less than her male colleagues who did the same work. The ECJ held that Article 119 of the Treaty of the European Community was of such a character as to have horizontal direct effect, and therefore enforceable not merely between individuals and the government, but also between private parties. Article 157 TFEU (119 TEEC, 141 TEC) was invoked which stated "Each Member State shall ensure that the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value is applied".



R.K.B. v. Turkey CEDAW Committee (2012)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

R.K.B.’s employer dismissed her but not the male colleague whom she was accused of having an affair with, and threatened to “spread rumours about her relationships with other men” to pressure her to sign a document, attesting that she had been paid all her benefits upon termination. R.K.B. filed a claim to the Kocaeli 3rd Labour Court against her employer alleging unfair termination based on gender stereotypes. The Court decided that the termination of her contract was not justified but not dismissing the male colleague was not discriminatory. R.K.B. appealed to the Court of Cassation, which dismissed the appeal without reference to gender discrimination. The CEDAW held that the Turkish court violated Articles 5(a), 11(1a) and 11(1d) of CEDAW by basing their decisions on gender stereotypes, tolerating allegations of extramarital relationships by male employees but not by female employees. It recommended adequate compensation to be paid to R.K.B, issued the State to take measures to implement laws on gender equality in the work environment; and to provide training to judges, lawyers and law enforcement personnel on women’s rights and gender-based stereotypes. The decision is of particular importance in a country where almost 80% of women are unemployed (Richinick) and where women’s participation in the labor force has been declining. It also stresses that mere adoption of laws is not enough to protect rights – implementation is the key. The decision also emphasizes the role of the courts (and not the executive branch) as ultimately responsible for rights’ violation.



Dekker v Stichting VJV Supreme Court of the Netherlands (1990)

Employment discrimination

D, when pregnant, applied for employment as an instructor in a youth training centre with Stichting Vormingscentrum voor Jong Volwassenen (VJV). VJV considered D to be the best candidate for job, however, as the selection committee had been informed by D that she was pregnant VJV declined to offer her employment. The ECJ held that an employer who acts in the manner VJV did was in breach of the Equal Treatment Directive, and in direct contravention of the principle of equal treatment embodied in Articles 2(1) and 3(1) of Council Directive 76/207/EEC if he refuses to employ a female candidate based solely on the possible adverse consequences of her pregnancy, owing to rules on unfitness for work adopted by the public authorities, which assimilate inability to work on account of pregnancy and confinement to inability to work on account of illness. Further, the ECJ held that the application of the Equal Treatment Directive would not differ where in the circumstances described above no male applied for a post. If a woman is refused employment due to matters relating to her sex, for example pregnancy, it is always discriminatory



Case C-136/95, Thibault [1998] ECR I-2011 European Court of Justice (1998)

Employment discrimination

T was employed by the CNAVTS as a “rédacteur juridique” (official responsible for legal drafting). According to a CNAVTS policy, any employee, after six months service, was automatically entitled to assessment of his/her performance in order to evaluate the possibility of promotion. T was on leave for over six months of the year because of both sickness and pregnancy and was denied assessment. However, had she not taken her maternity leave, she would have accumulated the required six months period necessary for the assessment. According to the relevant French legislation in force at that time, an employee was entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave, which could be extended to 28 weeks, and that this period was “to be treated as period of actual work for the purpose of determining a worker’s rights by virtue of length of service” (L 123-1(c) Code du travail). T brought the case before the Conseil de Prud’hommes (Labor Tribunal) in Paris, which upheld her claim and ordered CNAVTS to compensate her. SNAVTS appealed to the Cour de Cassation (court of Cassation), which set aside the previous judgment and referred the case to the Conseil de Prud’hommes of Melun which reiterated the Paris tribunal’s conclusion. CNAVTS again appealed to the Cour de Cassation which referred the case to the ECJ. The ECJ held that the Equal Treatment Directive allows Member States to guarantee women specific rights on account of pregnancy and maternity. These rights are constructed so as to ensure the implementation of the principle of equal treatment between men and women. The Court stressed that, seen in this light, “the result pursued by the Directive is substantive, not formal equality”. The Court stated that Member States enjoy discretion on how to implement these rights; however, this discretion must be exercised within the boundaries prescribed by the Directive. Thibault marked the return of the pivotal principle that discrimination on grounds of pregnancy and maternity leads to direct discrimination which had been watered down since its establishment in Dekker.



Case C-243/95, Hill and Stapleton v. Revenue Commissioners [1998] ECR I-3739 European Court of Justice (1998)

Employment discrimination

Job-sharing was introduced into the Irish Civil Service in 1984. Job-sharers work half the number of hours of full-time workers and are paid the same hourly rate. The scale of annual incremental salary increases for job-sharers are parallel to that for full-time workers with each point on the job-sharers scale representing 50% of the corresponding point on the full-time scale. 98% of job-sharers in the Irish Civil Service are women. According to the national referring tribunal a job-sharer can acquire the same experience as a full-time worker. When H and S transferred from job-sharing to full-time work they were initially assimilated to the same point on the full-time incremental scale as that which they had occupied on the job-sharers' scale. They were both subsequently reclassified at a lower point on full-time scale on the grounds that two years on the job-sharers' scale represented one year on the full-time scale. The questions posed to the ECJ by the Labor Court in Ireland arose from the decision by H and S to contest their reclassification. The Court took the view that workers who transferred from job-sharing, where they worked 50% of full-time hours and were paid 50% of full-time pay, to full-time work, were entitled to expect both the number of hours that they worked and the level of their pay to increase by 50%, in the same way as workers converting from full-time work to job-sharing would expect these factors to be reduced by 50%, unless a difference of treatment can be justified. Such development did not occur in this case, with the result that, as former job-shares are paid less than twice their job-sharing salary, their hourly rate of pay as full-time workers is reduced. Within the category of full-time workers, therefore, there is unequal treatment, as regards pay, of employees who previously job-shared, and who regress in relation to the position which they already occupied on the pay scale. In so finding, the Court observed that the use of the criterion of actual time worked during the period of job-sharing fails to take account, inter alia, of the fact that job-sharing is a unique category of work, given that it does not involve a break in service, or of the fact that a job-sharer can acquire the same experience as a full-time worker. Furthermore, a disparity is retroactively introduced into the overall pay of employees performing the same functions so far as both the quality and quantity of the work performed is concerned. In such a case, application of provisions of the kind at issue before the national tribunal result in discrimination against female workers which must be treated as contrary to Article 119 of the Treaty. The Court of Justice concluded that it would be otherwise only if the difference of treatment which was found to exist between the two categories of worker were justified by objective factors unrelated to any discrimination on the grounds of sex. It added that it is for the national tribunal to decide if any such objective factors exist.



Case 171/88, Rinner-Kühn [1989] ECR 2743 European Court of Justice (1989)

Employment discrimination

At issue was a challenge to a German statute requiring employers to pay up to six weeks of annual sick leave for employees who worked more than ten hours per week, or more than forty-five hours per month. R-K sued her employer, an office cleaning company for whom she worked ten hours per week, after her request for eight hours of sick pay had been refused. Her claim was that, if Article 141 covered statutory-mandate sick pay provisions, the German legislation discriminated indirectly against women. The ECJ held that Article 141 covered sick pay, and that consequently the statute “must, in principle, be regarded as contrary to the aims of Art.[141]”, unless the German government could muster an argument to the contrary. The Court rejected the government’s submission that compared to full-time workers, part-timers “were not as integrated in, or as dependent on, the undertaking employing them”, declaring that “these considerations, in so far as they are only generalizations about certain categories of workers, do not enable criteria which are both objective and unrelated to any discrimination on grounds of sex to be identified.” It then announced a variation of the least-means proportionality test developed in Bilka. To mount a successful defense, Member States must convince a judge that the legislative “means chosen meet a necessary aim of its social policy,” and that these means “are suitable and requisite for attaining that aim.” The national judge has a duty to apply this test. The Court thus extended the Bilka framework to the judicial review of statutory-mandate social policy.



Driskell v. Peninsula Business Services & Others Employment Appeal Tribunal (2000)

Employment discrimination

D described, amongst others, how her manager suggested the day before her appraisal interview that, at that discussion, she should wear a short skirt and a low-cut or see-through blouse – the inference being that doing so would further her chances of a favorable appraisal. The EAT held that the “lewd words” acted as a detriment. The Court concluded that the correct approach when dealing with a course of conduct of harassment should be to limit judgment to the finding of all facts that are prima facie relevant. The judgment said that the facts of a case in which harassment is alleged “may simply disclose hypersensitivity on the part of the applicant to conduct which was reasonably not perceived by the alleged discriminator as being to her detriment... no finding of discrimination can then follow”. The Court confirmed that the ultimate judgment of whether there was sexual discrimination reflects an objective assessment by the tribunal of all the facts, however important the applicant’s subjective perception.



Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford Supreme Court of Canada (2013)

Employment discrimination

Three women challenged three Canadian Criminal Code provisions that indirectly restricted the practice of prostitution by criminalizing various related activities. Section 210, which prohibited the operation of common “bawdy-houses,” prevented prostitutes from offering their services out of fixed indoor locations such as brothels. Section 212, which prohibited “living off the avails” of prostitution, prevented anyone, including “pimps,” from profiting from another’s prostitution. Section 213, which prohibited “communicating” for the purpose of prostitution in public, prevented prostitutes from offering their services in public, particularly on the streets. On December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decided that all three laws were unconstitutional, reasoning that the laws infringe on sex worker’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by depriving them of “security of the person” in a way that is not in accordance with the “principles of fundamental justice.” Starting from the position that prostitution is legal in Canada, the Court declared that the three laws: “Do not merely impose conditions on how prostitutes operate. They go a critical step further, by imposing dangerous conditions on prostitution; they prevent people engaged in a risky – but legal – activity from taking steps to protect themselves from the risks.”



Johnstone v. Canada (Attorney General); Hoyt v. Canadian National Railway Federal Court of Appeals and Human Rights Tribunal (2013)

Employment discrimination

In both cases, female employees sought accommodation from their employers to attend to their childcare responsibilities. In both cases, the employers refused the employees’ requests and forced the employees to either accept part-time work or an unpaid leave to care for their children. The human rights tribunal in Hoyt and the Federal Court in Johnstone found that the employees had been discriminated against on the basis of family status when they were denied full-time employment status. The employers failed to show that they would have suffered undue hardship by adjusting the female employees’ work schedules.



Bullock v. Department of Corrections Human Rights Review Tribunal (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices

Ms. Bullock, the plantiff, was made to sit in a row behind the male employees and was not given a speaking role in a company event. The plantiff believed the her employer was participating in gender discrimination and attempting to justify this as a company policy that followed traditional Mauri customs. The tribunal ruled that Ms. Bullock's employer was in fact practicing gender discrimination according to the Human Rights Act of 1993.



Zwaan-de Vries v. The Netherlands Human Rights Committee (1987)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

F.H. Zwaan-de Vries is a Netherlands national who worked for several years before becoming unemployed. Zwaan-de Vries qualified for unemployment benefits under the Unemployment Act until 1979, at which time she applied for continued support through the Unemployment Benefits Act (WWV). The Municipality of Amsterdam rejected her application in accordance with section 13 subsection 1 of WWV (the “breadwinner” clause) because she was a married woman. The WWV provision that required applicants to prove that they are the family’s “breadwinner” in order to qualify for benefits did not apply to married men. On appeal, the Municipality of Amsterdam affirmed the rejection, after which the author appealed to the Board of Appeal in Amsterdam. The Board of Appeals held that Zwaan-de Vries’ complaint was invalid, and the Central Board of Appeal affirmed this holding. In her complaint to the Committee, Zwaan-de Vries argued that the Netherlands violated article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights under which all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In interpreting the scope of article 26, the Committee took into account the “ordinary meaning” of each element of the article in its context and in light of its object and purpose, noting that article 26 derives from the principle of equal protection of the law without discrimination as contained in article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Thus, article 26 is concerned with the obligations imposed on States in regard to their legislation and its application. The Committee cited Hendrika Vos v. The Netherlands for the principle that differentiation based on reasonable and objective criteria does not amount to prohibited discrimination within the meaning of article 26. However, since the WWV required only women to prove their status as “breadwinner”, the differentiation was not reasonable. Therefore, the Netherlands violated article 26 of the Convention when it denied Zwaan de Vries a social security benefit on an equal footing with men.



S.W.M. Broeks v. The Netherlands Human Rights Committee (1987)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

S.W.M. Broeks, a married Netherlands national, worked as a nurse for several years before her employer dismissed her for reasons of disability. Broeks received benefits under the Netherlands social security system for five years before her unemployment payments were terminated under Netherlands law. Broeks contested the termination in domestic courts, but the Central Board of Appeal confirmed the decision of a lower municipal court not to continue unemployment payments to Broeks. In her complaint to the Committee, Broeks claimed that the Netherland’s Unemployment Benefits Act (WWV) made an unacceptable distinction on the grounds of sex and status, and discriminated against her as a woman in violation of article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights under which all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to its protections. Broeks argued that because she was a married woman at the time of the dispute, the law excluded her from continued unemployment benefits. Under section 13 subsection 1 of the Unemployment Benefits Act (WWV), a married women, in order to receive WWV benefits, had to prove that she was a “breadwinner” – a condition that did not apply to married men. The Committee concluded that the differentiation that appears to be one of status is actually one of sex, placing married women at a disadvantage compared with married men, amounting to a violation of article 26 of the Covenant.



Arjona Camacho v. Securitas Seguridad España, SA European Court of Justice (2015)

Employment discrimination

Ms. Arjona Camacho was dismissed from her position as a security guard at a juvenile detention center. The Social Court No. 1 of Cordoba in Spain found that her dismissal constituted discrimination on the grounds of sex, and referred to the European Court of Justice the question of whether EU law (specifically Article 18 of Directive 2006/54/EC) requires a national court to grant punitive damages, i.e., damages that go beyond the amount necessary to compensate the actual loss and damage caused by the discriminatory act, even when the concept of punitive damages does not exist within the legal tradition of that national court. The European Court of Justice found that, although punitive damages may be awarded under such circumstances, they are not required under EU law. If the national law does not provide a ground for the award of punitive damages, EU law does not independently provide such a right.

La Sra. Arjona Camacho fue despedida de su puesto como guardia de seguridad en un centro de detención juvenil. El Juzgado de lo Social Nº 1 de Córdoba en España determinó que su despido constituía una discriminación por motivos de sexo y remitió al Tribunal de Justicia de las Comunidades Europeas la cuestión de si la legislación de la UE (específicamente el artículo 18 de la Directiva 2006/54 / CE) exige una tribunal nacional para otorgar daños punitivos, es decir, daños que van más allá del monto necesario para compensar las pérdidas y daños reales causados ​​por el acto discriminatorio, incluso cuando el concepto de daños punitivos no existe dentro de la tradición legal de ese tribunal nacional. El Tribunal de Justicia de las Comunidades Europeas determinó que, aunque en tales circunstancias se pueden otorgar daños punitivos, no están obligados por la legislación de la UE. Si la legislación nacional no proporciona un motivo para la concesión de daños punitivos, la legislación de la UE no puede proporcionar dicho derecho de forma independiente.



Articles

Judging Women (2011)

Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Employment discrimination

By Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Mirya Holman, & Eric A. Posner. 8 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 504-532 (2011).