News & Commentary

December 1, 2016

Alexa Kissinger

Alexa Kissinger is a student at Harvard Law School.

Yesterday the Seventh Circuit heard oral argument in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College which poses the question of whether Title VII prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Earlier this summer, a panel of three Seventh Circuit judges upheld the lower court’s decision finding that that Hively failed to state a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, holding that precedent bans workplace discrimination by sex but not sexual orientation. The Seventh Circuit then granted Hively’s petition for a rehearing en banc. Although the EEOC’s 2015 opinion in Baldwin found that discrimination based on sexual orientation is necessarily a form of sex discrimination covered by Title VII, a federal circuit has yet to rule similarly. Read The Chicago Tribune’s excerpts from the oral argument here.

After surviving a challenge for a preliminary injunction, OSHA’s anti-retaliation rule takes effect today. Pursuant to this new Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Regulation, OSHA may now investigate complaints by employees who suffered retaliation for reporting an injury by virtue of an employer’s policies. According to The National Law Review, OSHA can now issue citations and penalties and require employers to take measures including reinstatement and compensation for terminated employees, payment of revoked incentives, and other appropriate remedies. The regulation also includes a tracking component by which employers are required to provide employees with data regarding injury reporting, and the content of anti-retaliatory provisions. Although the rule goes into effect, a permanent injunction may still be possible at a later date.

Yesterday, Major League Baseball reached a collective bargaining agreement with the players union. According to USA Today, the agreement, which still needs to be ratified by some players, does not contain any major changes from the current agreement. Minor changes include making free agency virtually unrestrictable and a $6 million cap on teams’ annual international spending.

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