Thursday, December 30, 2010

CASE OF THE YEAR!

Welcome to the first annual Lawffice Space employment law CASE OF THE YEAR (the caps let you know it's important). It's actually a two-for-one as I roll out two cases of the year. First, the Case of the Week that generated the most hits this year. Second, the case that I subjectively dub the most important of 2010.

Hooters Weight Discrimination
The first CASE OF THE YEAR is (drum roll)... Case of the Week # 5 - Smith v. Hooters. A Hooters waitress filed a lawsuit alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of weight. That's not a typical claim as weight is generally not a protected class. It is in Michigan though!

I guess people love to read up on new legal theories and case law in the developing field of weight discrimination. Of course, all of the attention could have something to do with Hooters being one of the parties.... naaaah.

Be sure to check out the full archives of all Cases of the Week (includes this post) and look for new ones every Friday in 2011!

Lewis v. City of Chicago
And my subjective employment law Case of the Year is Lewis v. City of Chicago. I've spilled enough ink (pixels?) on this Supreme Court case (opinion here) that I'll direct you mostly to my previous posts on the subject (see below). But I do want to explain my rationale.

First, Lewis was a rare unanimous decision for the Court as Title VII cases are often sharply divided. Second, it set a clear rule: The statute of limitations for a disparate impact claim begins upon the application of the employer's practice, not the implementation.

What more could you ask for than a nationally binding precedent from a unanimous court with a clear rule of law? Sure, it didn't have the media hype of 2009's Ricci v. DeStefano (See my summaries of those opinions); nor did it generate the controversy of Gross v. FBL (summary here). Sometimes it's just nice to have a solid ruling on which to rely.

For more Lawffice Space coverage of Lewis v. City of Chicago see:
I was also quoted in two Business Insurance articles:
What do you think? Got a better Case of the Year? Drop a comment!

Posted by Philip Miles, an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania in the firm's civil litigation and labor and employment law practice groups.