[This posting is for informational purposes and should not be construed or interpreted as either legal advice on any matter or as in any way creating an attorney/client relationship]
What do a strip club and a statute of limitations have in common? Well, not too much. However, the title of this blog clearly caught your attention, so just keep reading.
First, the statute of limitations.
The U.S. Supreme Court has invited the Solicitor General to submit a brief in Lewis v. City of Chicago, a case that the court is considering for certiorari. The petitioners are African-American applicants for entry-level firefighter positions. They are asking the court to consider whether a plaintiff making a disparate impact claim under Title VII must file an EEOC charge of discrimination within 300 days after the announcement of an employer’s alleged discriminatory practice, or within 300 days after the employer’s use of the discriminatory practice?
Section 706(e)(1) of Title VII provides that a charge must be filed with the EEOC within 300 days after an alleged unlawful employment practice has occurred.
In Lewis, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that an EEOC charge for disparate impact discrimination must be filed within 300 days of the announcement of an alleged unlawful employment practice. Two other circuits (the 3rd and 6th circuits) agree with this approach. Conversely, five circuits (the 2nd, 5th, 9th, 11th and D.C. circuits) have held that new disparate impact claims accrue each time an alleged unlawful employment practice is used to make employment decisions. The Supreme Court would have to resolve the circuit split.
And now we have the strip club.
The EEOC has brought suit in Texas on behalf of a 56-year-old woman against a strip club. The EEOC alleges, in EEOC v. AHD Houston, Inc., that the strip club discriminated against a cocktail waitress because of her age.
According to the EEOC, the waitress, who had worked for the club for 13 years, was subjected to a series of demeaning comments beginning in August 2005. Specifically, a manger often referred to the waitress as “old” and repeatedly questioned her about her age. On at least one occasion, the manager told the waitress that she was exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s disease when she forgot something.
Another manager at the club supposedly participated in the alleged age-based harassment by frequently joking about the waitress’ age and making comments that she was experiencing menopause.
Eventually, the EEOC alleges that the club terminated the waitress’ employment without explanation.
In a comments made to the Houston Chronicle, counsel for AHD Houston told the paper that the club has strict anti-discrimination policies, has zero tolerance for violations, and intends to vigorously defend the case.
The waitress, now 59, is working for a competitor.