After accusations emerged that Veteran's Affairs Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson was creating a "hostile work environment," his Senate Confirmation Hearing was postponed indefinitely. On Thursday, April 26, Jackson withdrew his nomination but denied the allegations against him which included accusations of mishandling prescription pain medications, intoxication on an overseas trip and creating a toxic work environment. Jackson has also withdrawn from his position as White House physician to President Trump. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and President Trump have defended Jackson's reputation.
Sex, Age Bias Lawsuit Against FBI Not Allowed to Move Forward
Former FBI employee Teresa Shobney will not be allowed to move forward with her age and sex bias case against the FBI. Shobney, a former auditor in the FBI's El Paso, Texas field office, claimed that her supervisor Eliasib Ortiz "yelled at her" several times over a 16-month period and gave her a low performance score. She also claimed that a second supervisor filed an unflattering statement during a different discrimination complaint process as well as diminished her supervisory authority. The lawsuit, filed in July 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, brought claims against the FBI and Attorney General Jeff Sessions for sex and age discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment. However, Judge David Campos Guaderrama said that Shobney failed to tie the allegedly discriminatory actions of the supervisors to her protected status as an older female employee. Judge Guaderrama said that Title VII does not serve as a "general civility code" and that the hostility between Shobney and the two supervisors was based on personal conflict and not discrimination.
Three Wage Suits in Two Days Against Domino's
Domino's pizza franchisees in Colorado are facing three wage suits that were filed within a two day period by delivery drivers claiming that they are being paid less than minimum wage as a result of a flawed reimbursement formula. According to the complaints, franchisees provided expense reimbursement based on the number of deliveries a drive completed instead of using a business mileage estimate established by the Internal Revenue Service or another rate designed to approximate actual automobile wear and tear. The drivers claimed that paying drivers by the number of deliveries does not account for lower gas mileage and higher repair costs associated with operating a vehicle for deliveries.
Minnesota Could Make It Easier to Prove Harassment
Minnesota could be the first state in the U.S. to reject the "severe or pervasive" legal standard in sexual harassment cases. Under current federal law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent, workers that allege on-the-job harassment must be able to prove that the conduct was particularly offensive enough or occurred often enough to create a hostile work environment. Minnesota's state proposal specifies that showing that is not required. The bill will relieve employees of the legal threshold established in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986). In that case, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that sexual harassment is a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and set forth legal foundations for sexual harassment claims in the workplace. However, the decision specifies that victims are responsible for demonstrating that the harassing conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive enough to affect the terms and conditions of employment and create a hostile work environment. If approved, the bill would go into effect on August 1, 2018, but would bar any retroactive application. The proposal originally emerged in response to a hearing by Minnesota's Republican Majority Leader Joyce Peppin whose House Subcommittee on Workplace Safety and Respect examined a sexual harassment scandal surrounding two lawmakers in the Minnesota legislature. The lawmakers were forced to resign, and the legislature adopted new training, reporting, and investigative protocols to deter and manage incidents of harassment.