The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on Monday, June 15, in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, ruling that the prohibitions against discrimination “because of sex” contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) extend to protect gay and transgender employees against workplace discrimination. Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the Court with Justices Alito and Kavanaugh each issuing dissenting opinions. In each of the three consolidated cases upon which this opinion was rendered, an employee had been terminated from employment for being gay or transgender.

The three employees brought suit in three different jurisdictions. In one case, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Title VII’s protections did not prohibit employers from firing employees for being gay, and dismissed the lawsuit. In the other two cases, the Second Circuit and Sixth Circuit ruled that Title VII did provide the alleged protections and had permitted the cases involving those two employees to proceed. These inconsistent rulings, therefore, set the following question before the Court:

Is it legally permissible under Title VII’s language prohibiting discrimination “because of sex” for an employer to take an adverse action against an employee merely because the employee is gay or transgender? 


Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules that Title VII Protects LGBTQ Employees

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new guidance regarding an employer’s obligation to record all COVID-19 illnesses among workers if the illness is “work-related.” This new obligation went into effect on May 26, 2020, and supersedes guidance issued in April.

Recordkeeping Obligations

Employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following requirements are met:

When is a COVID-19 Illness Work-Related?


Continue Reading Employer’s Obligation on Reporting COVID-19 as a Work-Related Illness – Updated OSHA Guidance

Join us for a complimentary seminar where we will review a broad range of topics pertaining to significant legislative and regulatory actions and court decisions that occurred in the area of employment law over the past year.

7:00 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Program

Topics will include:

  • FLSA

Join us for a complimentary seminar where we will review a broad range of topics pertaining to accommodation issues under the ADA and provide guidance for employers managing these issues.

7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Program

Our panels will cover a broad range of topics, including:

  • How

I’m excited to be speaking next week at the 2019 MidSouth Employment Law Conference. My session entitled, “Anatomy of an Employment Lawsuit,” will provide attendees with an informative, step-by-step breakdown of the employment lawsuit process, practical guidance for managing litigation, and best practices to foster a company culture which limits the occurrence of such suits

The Supreme Court ruled on April 24, 2019 that an arbitration agreement which is ambiguous as to whether the parties had agreed to class arbitration was insufficient to require a party to participate in class arbitration.

In the 2011 case Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. Animal Feeds Int’l Corp., 559 U.S. 662 (2011) the Supreme Court decided that “silence” in an arbitration agreement regarding the issue of class arbitration meant that a party could not be compelled to engage in class arbitration.  In the more recent case of Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, an employee had sought to compel his employer to arbitrate on a class basis claims arising out of the release of personal data belonging to its employees.


Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules on Enforcement of Class Arbitration

Join us in Nashville on January 29 for a complimentary seminar reviewing 2018 employment law developments and looking forward to issues likely to be further addressed in 2019.

7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast 
8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Program

This event will be held at our Nashville Bass, Berry & Sims office.

Topics will include:
Continue Reading EVENT: Labor and Employment Law Update – 2018 in Review and What’s to Come in 2019

In an article published in the Nashville Business Journal’s Largest Employers special report on July 6, 2018, I provided a column highlighting three important questions for employers to ask as they strive to reduce harassment in the workplace and cultivate a healthy workplace environment. The effectiveness of an anti-harassment policy often comes down to employee perception of how the policy is enforced, trained and embraced by leadership, so it is important that employers are mindful of the answers to these questions:

Continue Reading How to Reduce Harassment in the Workplace

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Chris Lazarini commented on a case in which a former financial advisor of JPMS claimed his employment was terminated based on racial discrimination. Through application of the three-part burden shifting analysis developed in McDonnell Douglas Corp. V. Green, the court found no evidence of discrimination and upheld the termination due to the financial advisor’s violation of the company’s document integrity policies and not his race.

Continue Reading Chris Lazarini Comments on Direct vs. Circumstantial Evidence in Discrimination Case

In an article published in the Spring 2017 edition of Employment Relations Today, Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Kimberly Veirs discussed ways employers can avoid retaliation claims in her article “Avoiding Workplace Retaliation: Guidance for Employers.” Workplace retaliation remains the most commonly reported complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by U.S. employees across all industries. Following a slew of these claims and high-profile court cases, the EEOC issued detailed enforcement guidance in August 2016 – its first such guidance since 1998. With workplace retaliation included as one of the commission’s substantive priorities in the Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2017-2021, the EEOC remains focused on ensuring that employees and job applicants are able to challenge discrimination without fear of retribution.

Continue Reading Avoiding Workplace Retaliation: Guidance for Employers