REASON PREVAILS…

Young government proofreader may have to work for a living, after all. The D.C. Circuit dramatically reduced an award of $840,000 in front pay to a proofreader who had won a sexual harassment suit against the Government Printing Office. Awarding the 34-year-old employee 26 years of front pay, until her retirement age, was "unduly speculative," the court wisely said. Even a sincere intention to stay on a job until retirement should not entitle one to front pay "for the remainder of her work life."

"Don Juan" not a protected status? The Michigan Supreme Court has held that termination for adultery is not "marital status discrimination" within the meaning of the state’s civil rights law. The plaintiff, a golf pro at a country club, cheated on his wife with a married woman. He was terminated after he left his wife to move in with his paramour and escorted the latter to club events, causing disapproving talk among the members of the club.

EEOC does good. The EEOC’s Cleveland, Ohio, office has found cause to believe that the National Education Association is failing to reasonably accommodate members’ religious beliefs. The teachers’ union requires annual written filings from members who object to paying dues on religious grounds. A teacher who wanted his dues donated to charity filed the charge against the NEA, saying that the union forced him to wait too long for an accommodation and that the paperwork requirement was too burdensome.

And then some. (Wow. Two "Prevails" for the EEOC? Amazing!) The EEOC also announced that it is formulating a rule that will allow employers to reduce retiree medical benefits, without running afoul of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, once the retiree becomes eligible for Medicare or state retiree health benefits.

REASON FLAILS…

Fitness chain lets itself go. Jazzercise has decided to abandon its requirement that fitness instructors have a "fit appearance" after being charged with weight discrimination by a 240-pound prospective aerobics instructor who was denied a job in San Francisco. (In her defense, she was 5’8".) The resolution of the charge was announced at International No-Diet Day.

" You’ve been a bad employer! Now I’ll have to punish you!" A California jury affirmed a sexual harassment verdict for a former employee of an adult store who alleged that his boss required him to "sample the merchandise" as part of his job duties, which included a variety of S&M toys. The boss also allegedly whipped him with a riding crop when he made mistakes on the cash register.

Ungrateful kids. A group of 40- to 49-year-olds sued their employer for age discrimination because the over-50’s got a better retirement benefit. Sadly, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee) agreed with them. Hats off to dissenter Judge Glen Williams of Virginia (sitting by designation), who pointed out what should have been obvious to all: "[T]he older a person is, the greater his or her needs become."

Stress’d practices. The following nameless employers have been slammed by the courts for allegedly engaging in some conduct that gives companies a really bad name: . . . an employer in Colorado, for going uninvited to an employee’s home five days after he’d suffered a heart attack, barging into his bedroom while he was partially undressed and in bed, and firing him . . . an employer in Delaware, for terminating a manager and offering him a severance agreement with all the proper age discrimination waiver language, but allegedly telling him "off the record" that he had to sign by the end of the next business day or lose his whopping $2,000 in severance pay . . . .

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