… that an employer violated California state law by asking applicants whether they had previously used a false Social Security Number? Guerrero v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (N.D. Cal. July 21, 2015). The Court ruled that such a question had a disparate impact on Latinos compared to any other protected class. The Court stated that an employer “has not met its burden of effectively linking Guerrero’s Social Security Number misuse to the ability to maintain integrity, honesty, and good judgment as a corrections officer. Thus, CDCR’s decision based on [this question] amounted to an arbitrary barrier to employment in violation of Title VII.” The Court added that had the employer inquired as to why a previous Social Security Number used by Guerrero was false, the employer would have realized that that was the number supplied by his parents when he was eleven years old.

… that a former union official in Philadelphia was sentenced to nineteen years in jail for extortion, arson and assaults? U.S. v. Dougherty (E.D. Pa. July 20, 2015). Joseph Dougherty was a business manager of the Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Worker’s Local 401 in Philadelphia. In addition to nineteen years in jail, Dougherty was ordered to pay over $558,000 in restitution. He was convicted of arson at a warehouse that was under construction and also attempted arson at a commercial building that was under construction. He was also convicted of assaulting non-union employees with a baseball bat. Under Dougherty’s leadership, the Local created “goon squads” including one squad that used the acronym “THUGS – The Helpful Union Guys.

… that a supervisor’s claim of sexual harassment by a subordinate will go to trial due to the employer’s failure to remedy this situation? Simmons v. DNC Hospital Management of Oklahoma, LLC (E.D. Okla. July 20, 2015). The supervisor reported that her subordinate repeatedly asked her out for dates, made sexual overtures to her and made aggressive, threatening statements to her. The supervisor was disciplined when the employer became aware that she had a relationship with another employee whom she supervised. The Court found that the supervisor continuously “complains of harassing and/or statements on every occasion … clearly, [the employer] did not take adequate action to stop the harassment as the harassment continued for months.” We all understand the fact that a subordinate may be a source of sexual harassment toward a supervisor. What we don’t quite understand is why the subordinate was not terminated for such behavior. Frankly, it is our observation that employers overall are too tolerant of inappropriate and disrespectful behavior from subordinates. The employer is not an employee’s workplace concierge. Just as supervisors and managers are held accountable for a certain standard of behavior, so should employees be held accountable for their behavior toward supervisors and managers.