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Preventing Squatting in Britain

- A real estate bust has led to increased squatting in the United Kingdom, but the private sector is offering innovative solutions.

Retaliatory Discharge

- An employee who was fired after she complained that her manager was illegally discriminating against job applicants may not sue her employer for retaliatory discharge. Though the employee did engage in a protected activity, the court determined that she was fired by an upper-level supervisor for misuse of the company’s computer system. The court found that the supervisor had no knowledge of the employee’s complaints and that the timing was coincidental. (Lakeside-Scott v. Multnomah County, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 05-35896, 2009)

Elsewhere in the Courts: Discrimination

- In an agreement with the EEOC, YRC Inc. will take steps to enhance diversity to end an investigation into sexual discrimination in its hiring practices. Without admitting wrongdoing, the trucking company agreed to improve its work environment for women and minorities, provide new diversity training for managers, enhance recruiting of women and minorities, and develop new programs to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Employment

- A federal appeals court has ruled that the City of Chicago did not violate the rights of two officers deployed overseas with the U.S. Armed Forces when it asked them to travel to take a test for possible advancement with the police. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act, workers who are serving in the military may not be denied any benefit of employment because of their service. The officers argued that because they had to travel from their places of deployment to take the advancement test, their coworkers based in Chicago had an unfair advantage. The court ruled that the police department did not violate the law because the opportunity to take the test, not the location or circumstances, was the benefit of employment. (Sandoval v. City of Chicago, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, No. 08-2699, 2009)

Negligent Hiring

- In a California decision, an appeals court has ruled that a company cannot be held responsible for the actions of a former employee. In the case, a man who became romantically involved with a client shot and killed her two years after he was fired from his job.

Religious Discrimination

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a police department did not discriminate against a Muslim officer when it refused to let her wear a head covering as part of her uniform. The court ruled that allowing the officer to wear the head covering would compromise the city’s interest in maintaining religious neutrality.

Decision Could Determine How Much Awarded in Whistleblower Suits

- The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that could decide how much money whistleblowers can recover when they uncover government or corporate abuse or waste, reports Bloomberg.com.

Whistleblower Protections Denied Fired Air Marshal

- The decision on Tuesday by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) to deny whistleblower protections to a former federal air marshal is the final blow against such protections, argues a whistleblower defense organization.

ACLU Says Terrorism Finance Laws Violate Muslim Rights

- A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) criticizes federal terrorism financing laws for undermining the ability of Muslims to practice their constitutional rights of worship and association.

U.K.: Secret Evidence Violates Human Rights, Law Lords Say

- Britain's law lords ruled unanimously yesterday that the use of secret evidence to impose control orders on terrorism suspects, which drastically restricts civil liberties, violated their human rights.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Religious Discrimination

- A federal appeals court has found that a city’s requirement that firefighters be clean-shaven violates the religious rights of employees. The court upheld a summary judgment in favor of the firefighters, ruling that the city could not prove that beards presented a safety issue when using firefighting equipment. (Potter v. District of Columbia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, No. 07-7163, 2009)

Elsewhere in the Courts: Discrimination

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a security guard who was terminated after he failed a hearing test has no standing to sue his employer for discrimination. The security officer, who wore a hearing aid, was assigned to guard a federal building. Under federal law, guards must have adequate hearing without the use of a hearing aid. The court determined that the policy was consistent with business necessity given “the tremendous harm that could result if a security officer could not perform the essential functions of his job at any given moment.” (Allmond v. Akal Security Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, No. 07-15561, 2009)

Concealed Weapons

- Two recent appellate decisions address the right of employers to prevent workers from bringing firearms onto company property. In one, a court upheld an Oklahoma law giving employees the right to have firearms in their cars at work. In the other, a court determined that Ohio state law does not protect an employee who was fired for violating the policy against keeping a gun in his car in a company parking lot.
 




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