From New York to Hollywood and now New Orleans, well-publicized allegations of sexual harassment have dominated the news.  Click here for a recent CNN article on a recent issue.  Sexual harassment is unlawful and can lead to much bigger issues than bad press.   Click here for information on sex-based discrimination from the U.S. Equal Employment

Picture this: former wife sues her ex-husband for cutting and selling timber from a co-owned 120-acre timberland tract. The timberland tract was purchased during the couple’s marriage and was community property. As part of a divorce settlement, the ex-couple remained co-owners of the timberland. Thereafter, the ex-husband had the timber cut and sold – and checks for the timber sold were made payable to the then girlfriend (now wife) of the ex-husband. When the former wife found out, she sued the ex-husband, seeking treble damages (among other things), under Louisiana’s so-called “timber piracy” statute.

As a co-owner, is the ex-husband liable to his former wife under Louisiana’s “timber piracy” statute? This was the issue presented to the Louisiana Supreme Court in the case, Sullivan v. Wallace, 2010-0388 (La. 11/30/10), 51 So.3d 702. The Court concluded that he was not, because the “timber piracy” statute did not apply to suits between co-owners.Continue Reading The Rogue Co-Owner: Cutting and Selling Timber from a Co-owned Tract

In a recent decision from the federal court for the Southern District of Texas, a refinery’s refusal to hire an applicant who admitted to having weakness on the right side of his body did not violate the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). In E.E.O.C vs. Lyondell-Citgo Refining, L. P. (slip copy, 2008 WL 961909), the defendant withdrew a conditional offer of employment based on a third party medical evaluation and determination that the applicant was not medically qualified for an Operator position due to residual right-sided weakness from a blunt force head trauma suffered as a teenager.
Continue Reading Refusal to Hire Impaired Worker Not Disability Bias Under ADA

In a recent decision, the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the notion that temporal proximity standing alone can be sufficient proof of “but for” causation in a Title VII retaliatory discharge claim. In Strong v. University Health Care System, L.L.C., 2007 WL 891148 (5th Cir. (La.)), plaintiff Laurie Strong sued UHS alleging gender discrimination and retaliatory discharge.

Strong worked as a nurse coordinator for UHS, a large Louisiana hospital. She complained to one of her supervisors on December 15, 2003 of alleged gender discrimination by a hospital surgeon, based largely on angry comments by the surgeon on three separate occasions that she was “stupid” and “lazy.” Both before and after the date of this complaint, however, numerous complaints had been made about Strong’s behavior in the workplace by patients, co-workers, supervisors, and physicians. Strong was eventually terminated no March 31, 2004 for poor performance, improper work conduct, arguing with superiors, and obstructing various departmental policies. On November 24, 2004, Strong filed her complaint alleging Title VII and Louisiana law violations.Continue Reading “Temporal Proximity” Alone Insufficient To Prove Retaliatory Discharge Claim