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ADA

- A police officer who sued his employer after he was fired for driving while drunk may not sue under the ADA, according to a federal appeals court. The court ruled that the officer was fired for misconduct—his drunk driving caused an accident in which two people were injured—not for having a disability.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Sex Discrimination

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a hotel employee may pursue her sexual discrimination suit against her manager. The court ruled that the manager could have discriminated against a female employee when he fired her because she lacked the feminine “Midwestern girl look” he deemed necessary to serve as a front desk employee. The court noted that discrimination is present when gender plays a part in an adverse employment action. (Lewis v. Heartland Inns of America, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, No. 08-3860, 2010)

Elsewhere in the Courts: Sexual Harassment

- Reversing a lower court’s decision, a federal appeals court has ruled that a police department cannot be held liable after a deputy sexually assaulted a woman he had arrested. The woman sued the police department and the sheriff for failing to properly train the deputy. The appellate court ruled that such training is unnecessary because the prohibited actions are so obviously wrong. The court also noted that it was illogical to assume that by failing to tell the deputy that sexual assault was wrong, the sheriff would cause the deputy to engage in that behavior. (Parrish v Ball, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, No. 08-3517, 2010)

Retaliation

- A worker who was terminated after she gave corporate investigators pertinent information bolstering a sexual harassment allegation brought by another woman against her boss has now been awarded $1.5 million by a Tennessee jury. The case had gone all the way to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the woman’s right to a retaliation claim.

Duty of Care

- Corporations operating in global markets may not fully appreciate their duty of care to employees operating in those markets. A new white paper explores that responsibility from a legal, ethical, and cost-benefit perspective when employees travel and work abroad.

Drug Testing

- New York City’s police commissioner does not have to consult the police union before changing the department’s drug testing methods, according to the state’s highest court. The commissioner plans to phase out the use of urinalysis and to begin using other methods including analyzing hair samples.

Morning Security Brief: Terrorists Convictions, Pirate Tribunals, and Executive Protection

- Egypt convicts Hezbollah-backed terrorists, the United Nations Security Council pushes for stronger action against pirates, and companies cut back on executive protection.

Putting Duty of Care on the Radar

- Companies must be aware of their legal obligations to protect employees who are living or traveling abroad for business.

Attorney Requests Access to Computers of Possible "Voyeur" School Administrator

- An attorney for a student who was surreptitiously photographed via a school-issued laptop has requested additional discovery after learning that the school took thousands of photos of other students.

Workplace Violence

- A company’s fear of workplace violence was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for firing an employee who had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, a federal district court has ruled.

Sexual Harassment

- An employee can pursue her sexual harassment claim against her company even though she never reported the problem, a federal appeals court has ruled. The court ruled that because the employee’s supervisor took actions indicating that he knew about the harassment, he could not later claim ignorance.

Religious Discrimination

- An employee who was fired for repeatedly violating her company’s overtime policy may not sue for religious discrimination, according to a federal appeals court. The employee, a conservative Christian, claimed that her employer took action against her because of her condemnation of homosexuals.

Senate Hearing Weighs Closing Video Surveillance Loophole

- Lawmakers examined whether a decades-old wiretapping statute needs revision in light of a suburban Philadelphia high school that allegedly used a webcam to spy on a student.
 




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