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April 2016 Archives

Kristen Griest - The Army's First Female Infantry Officer

Congratulations to Captain Kristen Griest, who's about to become the Army's first female infantry officer! As a veteran, I'm heartened to see our nation's military recognizing the potential of all its members to serve fully and honorably. As a Marine Corps veteran, I reluctantly say: "Rangers lead the way!"

Tom Brady's case illustrates the highly-deferential attitude of courts toward employment-related arbitration

Tom Brady, the New England Patriots' star quarterback and a former player at the University of Michigan, will be on the sidelines more than anticipated next season because of his alleged involvement in "deflategate," the widely-publicized incident during the 2015 AFC Championship Game in which 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Patriots were not inflated in accordance with NFL regulations.

NachtLaw Stands Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination

While those who are LGBT have won important legal victories in recent years, LGBT employees still lack full protection against discrimination in the workplace. However, NachtLaw attorneys can help LGBT employees to claim that they are being discriminated against on the basis of their gender, including transgender employees, or because employees fail to conform to gender norms and stereotypes under the Supreme Court's Price v. Waterhouse precedent.

Race Discrimination- Bad for Business and Illegal

In 1980, an African-American couple, Harold and Shirley Ledsinger, were thrown out of an auto parts store. The owner allegedly called Harold a "n*****" in front of others, told him to get his "black a**" out of the store, and added that he "did not want or need n***** business." The Michigan Court of Appeals said that the Ledsingers could bring suit under a section of Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which makes it illegal to "deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation or public service because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, or marital status." They were able to seek "compensatory and exemplary damages ... for the indignity and anguish caused by discrimination" as well as reasonable attorney fees.

EEOC Takes Aim at Disability Discrimination

With two settlements and a new lawsuit, the EEOC reminds employers that disability discrimination will not be tolerated. On March 31, 2016, the EEOC filed suit against C&A Tool Engineering, Inc., alleging that it withdrew a job offer because the applicant's physical exam showed a vision impairment. In filing suit, Kenneth Bird, the EEOC's Indianapolis District Office's acting regional attorney, commented, "Employers cannot and should not consider impairments that do not affect job performance in their hiring decisions." Shortly thereafter, on April 6 and April 7, 2016, the EEOC announced the settlement of two other disability discrimination lawsuits, one for an employer's alleged failure to accommodate a deaf employee and the second for an employer's alleged failure to allow an employee to return to work unless he agreed to take his medication at work and under the employer's observation. In settling the second case, EEOC senior trial attorney Omar Weaver remarked, "An employer cannot single out an employee who has a disability and impose a unique and over-protective rule on that person as a condition of employment."

Everyone Counts

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected what was widely viewed as an effort to manipulate voting district lines in Texas to favor the conservative vote. In Evenwel v. Abbott, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Texas's existing Senate map, which attempted to equalize its voting districts based on total population rather than just the population of registered voters. The Court found that the map, which considered the total number of residents, was consistent with the principle of "one person, one vote." In doing so, the opinion's author, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reminded us that, "As the Framers of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible or registered to vote . . . By ensuring that each representative is subject to requests and suggestions from the same number of constituents, total-population apportionment promotes equitable and effective representation.

Amnesty Offered for Failure to Pay Fines and Costs at Ingham County District Courts

Ingham County, MI--The 54A, 54B, and 55th District Courts are spring cleaning and want to help county residents clean up their records. The courts are offering an amnesty program for those that have a warrant for their arrest for failure to pay fines and costs. 54A and 54B Courts offer their program online. The 55th District Court offers the program for individuals who appear at the court and meet with collections personnel.

NachtLaw Protects Learning Disabled Students

If you are the parent of a learning disabled student, you know how difficult it is to find services to deliver the mandate of a "Free Appropriate Public Education" or "FAPE" under special education laws. While federal laws apply to any school receiving federal funds, many private schools do not receive such funds. In such cases, the only protection families have is to apply Michigan's disability discrimination law, the "Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act" or "PWDCRA."

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