June 12, 2018: In spite of the recent Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece Bakeshop Ltd., the Sixth Circuit has recently reaffirmed that LGBTQ individuals are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes case, the Court held that terminating an employee because that employee was going to transition from male to female was unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII.
June 6, 2017: The Ingham County Prosecutor has decided to go forward on the criminal sexual assault case involving three MSU student athletes. Although the criminal prosecution is important, the victim should consider a civil lawsuit against these three football players. In the event the perpetrators are allowed to plead to lesser charges, the victim can still have her day in court.
September 2, 2015: California judge permits Uber-drivers to maintain lawsuit against Uber in which they claim that they were wrongfully classified as independent contractors, as opposed to employees. While this case is proceeding under California state law, there could be implications for Uber-drivers under other states’ respective minimum wage laws and possibly a suit under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
July 1, 2015: The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the National Labor Relations Board had jurisdiction over an Indian tribe’s operation of a casino on tribal land based on earlier precedent. In other words, employees of casinos on tribal land are entitled to all of the protections of the NLRA, including the right to organize.
Given that the Sixth Circuit’s reluctance to rely on earlier precedent, this case will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court when it returns for the fall term.
June 26, 2015: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Michigan’s (and all other states’) ban on same-sex marriage, basing its decision on due process, equal protection and privacy grounds. Justice Kennedy delivered the majority opinion of the Court.
However, the LGBT fight is far from over. In Michigan, there are still no protections for LGBT members under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Meaning, an employer can terminate a LGBT member without any recourse under the law. At this point, it is impossible to tell what effect the Supreme Court’s decision will have on this statute.
May 26, 2015: Law Offices of Lisa C. Ward, PLLC settled a Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) case in the Eastern District Court of Michigan on behalf of former employee for the City of Brighton. The plaintiff alleged, in part, that he was terminated in retaliation for exercising his rights under the FMLA after his wife started to experience serious health issues. The case was settled before trial.