A federal district judge has preliminarily approved a settlement in a class action, in which plaintiffs allege that J.Crew violated Massachusetts law by collecting zip codes at check out. While that case is wrapping up, another, involving UPS is heating up as the Supreme Court granted cert to hear the case in the 2014 term.
Let's take a look at the issues in the case, which incidentally, affect most companies operating today.
J.Crew's Zip Code Class Action
Last year, on June 20, 2013, Leah Crohn and Lauren Miller filed a claim against J.Crew alleging that the retailer violated Massachusetts general laws when it collected zip codes from customers as they were completing their credit card purchases at Massachusetts J.Crew stores for "intrusive marketing purposes." The retailer did not ask for the zip codes because they were required to do so by credit card companies, or to verify identity. Instead, according to settlement documents, J.Crew collected the zip codes to "identify that customer's address using commercially available databases," reports the Washington Examiner.
Under the settlement, class members who file valid, timely claims will receive a J.Crew $20 voucher. U.S. District Judge Richard G. Sterns approved the proposed settlement on June 27, 2014, says Top Class Actions.
UPS Pregnancy Discrimination Case
On July 1, 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to a case originating in the Fourth Circuit, to determine "whether, and in what circumstances, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, requires an employer that provides work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations to provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are 'similar in their ability or inability to work.'" Essentially, do employers who make accommodations for people with short-term disabilities also need to make the same accommodations for pregnant workers?
Forbes notes the growing momentum in certain states and cities, which are enacting their own legislation requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers. Even so, the Solicitor General filed an amicus brief asking the Court not to hear the case because of pending guidance from the EEOC, because they think the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act would offer protection for those with "pregnancy-related conditions." It seems now though, the EEOC will wait for the Supreme Court to hear the case, says Forbes. The case will be heard during the Court's October 2014 term and a decision will be issued by June 2015.
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