Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

The status of an employee as a supervisor or nonsupervisor can have a significant impact on the outcome of a discrimination, harassment or retaliation case. For example, if an employee who commits a hostile work environment is a supervisor, the employer could be deprived of valuable legal defenses like the Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense. A recent case from

In an issue of first impression in this Fifth Circuit, the Court held that a volunteer firefighter making a Title VII claim of sexual harassment is not an “employee” for purposes of the statute and therefore had no legal claim.

The case arose from a suit filed by a former firefighter for the Livingston Parish

Last week the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a widely criticized trial court ruling that had held that a discharge of an employee because she was lactating or expressing breast milk did not constitute unlawful sex discrimination.  In EEOC v. Houston Funding, II, Ltd, the employer moved for summary judgment arguing that Title VII did

In a recent case from the Fifth Circuit, the Court held that attorney’s fees are not recoverable for a prevailing plaintiff in a Title VII mixed-motive retaliation case. In Carter v. Luminant Power Serv. Co., the plaintiff employee brought a Title VII discrimination and retaliation claim alleging that he was disciplined for his complaints of

Last term the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the existence of the ministerial exception to many of the federal employment discrimination laws. This week, the Fifth Circuit took up the application of the ministerial exception for the first time since the Supreme Court’s opinion in Hosanna-Tabor and applied the exception broadly.

Philip Cannata was the Music

Some of you may be surprised to learn that conventional wisdom was that claims arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the federal law requiring the payment of minimum wage and overtime to most employees) cannot be released or waived without court or Department of Labor supervision. I certainly thought that until several years ago when I had

Common law employment claims have certain advantages for plaintiffs over statutory discrimination, harassment or retaliation claims.  For starters, there are no administrative prerequisites to exhaust and the kinds of damages one can seek for common law claims can sometimes be be more "creative" than the straight forward, capped damages recoverable under statutory claims.  In my nonscientific, anecdotal

This week the Fifth Circuit held that a cause of action exists for hostile work environment under the ADEA –the first such express holding in the Circuit.  In Dediol v. Best Chevrolet, the plaintiff filed a hostile work environment and constructive discharge claim against the employer.

During the brief two months of employment, Dediol

The Fifth Circuit held today that a spouse of a successful Title VII plaintiff cannot maintain a legal claim for loss of consortium (i.e., loss of spousal services) under state and federal law.  In Barker, Tracey Barker was a civilian worker employed by Halliburton (aka KBR).  She claimed she was subjected to sexual harassment, retaliation and

Federal law prohibits private employers from terminating the employment of or discriminating with respect to employment against an individual because the individual is or was a debtor under the Bankruptcy Code.  In a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the appellate court held that the anti-discrimination provisions of the