Employment and Work

  • Determined the right to unemployment benefits when a woman is forced to quit job due to domestic violence.
  • Whether the history and Congressional Intent of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to treat pregnant women the same as other temporarily disabled workers.
  • Determined whether an employer violates Title VII when, in making post-Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) eligibility determinations for pension and other benefits, the employer does not restore service credit lost by female employees when they took pregnancy leaves under pre-PDA policies.
  • Outlined the definition of a gender-discriminatory hostile work environment under Title VII.
  • Determined whether an employer who refuses to accept applications from women with pre-school age children violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
  • At issue is delays in the conciliation process for employment discrimination complaints. Women in non-traditional jobs will be particularly harmed by the delays associated with opening conciliation to judicial intervention. Judicial second-guessing of EEOC confidential conciliation deters claims and stymies systemic reform. Congress’ empowerment of the EEOC to pursue claims in its own name and to effect systemic reform without exposing victims is particularly important in non-traditional fields, where retaliation is especially dangerous and female workers are often isolated. Petitioner’s proposals directly subvert the EEOC’s statutorily mandated role in Title VII’s enforcement scheme, exposing women to retaliation and delaying access to justice. Judicial examination of pre-adjudicatory conciliation undermines judicial economy, a crucial stated goal of such conciliation.Women in blue-collar, non-traditional jobs face employment barriers more perilous than the glass ceiling, most notably severe sexual harassment and the threat that gender discrimination will escalate into workplace violence. Non-traditional industries have both low numbers of female employees and some of the highest rates of gender discrimination. In some male-dominated occupations, women experience levels of discrimination more than three times greater than the national average. Worse still, many non-traditional jobs require collaboration among coworkers to prevent significant safety risks; in these workplaces, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation may have potentially lethal consequences. Women working in these fields need the promise of confidentiality and systemic reform that Title VII specifically directs the EEOC to provide.
  • Concerns sex discrimination and retaliation claims by a woman construction worker who was assaulted by a co-worker and fired by her employer.
  • Determined the right of a female laborer to bring claims of sex discrimination for being forced by her employer to do the most menial work on a job site while being denied more lucrative opportunities
  • Determined whether money awarded for lost compensation during the period between judgment on an employment sexual harassment case and reinstatement of an employee constitute an element of compensatory damages under the Civil Rights Act of 1991, such that it is subject to the Act's statutory cap on such damages.
  • The case concerns whether long-term home health care workers employed by third-party agencies are entitled to the federal minimum wage and overtime. The health care industry has challenged Congress’s and the Department of Labor’s efforts to provide overtime and sick leave to home health care workers, who are overwhelmingly women of color and live below the poverty line, even though they work full time. The industry should not be permitted to prevent these women from rising out of poverty.
  • Determined whether New York City's physical exam for firefighting discriminated against women applicants for firefighting positions.
  • Addressed the right of domestic violence victims to protection from employment discharge under North Carolina public policy.