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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Title VII Definition of Respondent

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, what is the definition of the term “respondent”? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).

DEFINITION OF STATE

The relevant law is found under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and it defines the term “respondent” as follows:
...
(n) The term “respondent” means an employer, employment agency, labor organization, joint labor-management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining program, including an on-the-job training program, or Federal entity subject to section 2000e–16 of this title.
...
42 U.S.C. § 2000e (emphasis and hyperlinks added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Disparate Treatment: A Closer Look


by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination, how does a plaintiff establish a prima facie case of disparate treatment? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


THE MCDONNELL DOUGLAS FRAMEWORK

The McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework (Framework) has three steps:
STEP 1The "plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination, which creates a presumption of discrimination." Scrivener v. Clark College, 181 Wn.2d 439, 446, 334 P.3d 541, (2014) (citing, Riehl, 152 Wn.2d at 149-50; Kastanis v. Educ. Emps. Credit Union, 122 Wn.2d 483, 490, 859 P.2d 26, 865 P.2d 507 (1993)) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 2"[T]he burden shifts to the defendant, who must articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action." Mikkelsen, 189 Wn.2d at 527 (Wash. 2017) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 3"[I]f the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must produce sufficient evidence showing that the defendant's alleged nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action was a pretext." Id. (internal citations omitted) (emphasis & hyperlink added). 

(To learn about the entire Framework and how it is applied, read our recent article entitled: The McDonnell Douglas Burden-Shifting Framework)


DISPARATE TREATMENT

Disparate treatment is a legal theory that occurs "when an employer treats some people less favorably than others" because of membership in a protected class. Alonso v. Qwest Communications Company, 178 Wn.App. 734, 753-54, 315 P.3d 610 (Wash.App.Div. 2 2013). "To esablish a prima facie disparate treatment case, a plaintiff must show that his employer simply treats some people less favorably than others because of their protected status." Id. (citing Johnson v. Dep't of Soc. & Health servs., 80 Wn.App. 212, 226, 907 P.2d 1223 (1996)) (hyperlink added). There are several formulations for the elements of a prima facie case of disparate treatment. For example, take our disparate treatment tests based on (1) adverse employment action and (2) termination of employment:



LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Tort of Battery

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Washington State laws, what is the tort of batteryHere's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


DEFINITION OF A TORT

A tort is "[a] civil wrong, other than breach of contract, for which a remedy may be obtained, usu. in the form of damages; a breach of a duty that the law imposes on persons who stand in a particular relation to one another." Black's Law Dictionary 1526 (8th ed. 2004).


THE TORT OF BATTERY

In Washington State, a "battery" is a tort defined as "an intentional and unpermitted contact with the plaintiff's person." Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc., 180 Wn.2d 481, 504, 325 P.3d 193 (2014). The plaintiff must show that the defendant did the following to establish liability for battery:
(a) he [or she] acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the [plaintiff or a third party], or an imminent apprehension of such contact, and
(b) a harmful or offensive contact with the [plaintiff] directly or indirectly results.
Id. (citing Restatement (Second) of Torts § 13 (1965)).


THE INTENT ELEMENT

Establishing intent on the part of the defendant is an element of battery. "[T]he 'intent' element of battery is satisfied where a defendant knows to a 'substantial certainty' that his actions will result in the harmful or offensive touching." Id. at 504-05 (internal citations omitted). Thus, an individual "commits a battery where he or she performs '[a]n act which, directly or indirectly, is the legal cause of a harmful contact with another's person' and that act is intentional, is not consented to, and is otherwise unprivileged." Id. at 505 (citing, Garratt v. Dailey, 46 Wn.2d 197, 200, 279 P.2d 1091 (1955) (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 13 (1934)) (internal quotation marks omitted). And "[t]hese elements are met where the plaintiff's consent to the contact is procured by fraud or duress." Id. (citing, Garratt, 46 Wn.2d at 201 (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 13(b)) (internal quotation marks omitted).


THE OFFENSIVE CONTACT ELEMENT

"A bodily contact is offensive if it offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity." Id. (citing, Restatement (Second) of Torts § 19). Accordingly, "an offensive contact does not have to result in physical injury to constitute a battery." Id. (referencing, Seigel v. Long, 169 Ala. 79, 53 So. 753 (1910) (facts established claim for battery where defendant pushed plaintiff's hat back in order to see his face); Crawford v. Bergen, 91 Iowa 675, 60 N.W. 205 (1894) (facts established claim for battery where defendant placed his hand on the plaintiff's shoulder and asked him an insulting question)).


EXAMPLE: KUMAR v. GATE GOURMET, INC.

In Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc., the employer (Gate Gourmet, Inc.) prohibited employees from both bringing food with them to work and leaving the premises to obtain food -- the policy was based upon security concerns. A group of employee-plaintiffs decided to sue their employer for violation of their religious beliefs when the employer provided them with beef/pork-based foods (in violation of their religion) for lunch that were deceptively designated by the employer as turkey-based, and the vegetarian options actually included animal by-products. When the employees complained, the employer refused to alter the plaintiffs' meals.

One claim, inter alia, was based on the tort of battery. Accordingly, the employees essentially alleged that "Gate Gourmet deceived them into eating food in violation of their religious beliefs, knowing that this would cause an offensive contact." See id. at 505. The Washington State Supreme Court held that the "allegations are sufficient to support a claim for battery at this stage." Id. 


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Title VII: Determining if a Labor Organization is Engaged in an Industry Affecting Commerce

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when is a labor organization deemed to be engaged in an industry affecting commerce? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).

DEFINITION OF INDUSTRY AFFECTING COMMERCE

The relevant law is found under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and it mandates when a labor organization is deem to be engaged in an industry affecting commerce as follows:
...
(e) A labor organization shall be deemed to be engaged in an industry affecting commerce if (1) it maintains or operates a hiring hall or hiring office which procures employees for an employer or procures for employees opportunities to work for an employer, or (2) the number of its members (or, where it is a labor organization composed of other labor organizations or their representatives, if the aggregate number of the members of such other labor organization) is (A) twenty-five or more during the first year after March 24, 1972, or (B) fifteen or more thereafter, and such labor organization
(1) is the certified representative of employees under the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended [29 U.S.C. 151 et seq.], or the Railway Labor Act, as amended [45 U.S.C. 151 et seq.];
(2) although not certified, is a national or international labor organization or a local labor organization recognized or acting as the representative of employees of an employer or employers engaged in an industry affecting commerce; or
(3) has chartered a local labor organization or subsidiary body which is representing or actively seeking to represent employees of employers within the meaning of paragraph (1) or (2); or
(4) has been chartered by a labor organization representing or actively seeking to represent employees within the meaning of paragraph (1) or (2) as the local or subordinate body through which such employees may enjoy membership or become affiliated with such labor organization; or
(5) is a conference, general committee, joint or system board, or joint council subordinate to a national or international labor organization, which includes a labor organization engaged in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of any of the preceding paragraphs of this subsection.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e (emphasis and hyperlinks added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.