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Frederick Abrams was a detective with the Connecticut Department of Public Safety who'd tried unsuccessfully since 1998 to join the Department's "Major Crimes Van." The Van unit is an elite squad of detectives that solve major cases; membership in the Van is considered prestigious.

After years of trying -- but failing -- to get into the Van, Abrams sued the Department, claiming that he was denied a job in the Van unit because of his race. Abrams is black.

Relevant here, the District Court for the District of Connecticut granted summary judgment for the Department on the employment discrimination claims. The Second Circuit, however, ruled earlier this month that Abrams' case could move forward.

Fox Searchlight has much to be thankful for right about now, with the Second Circuit granting its motions to appeal both the class certification, and the district judge's grant of summary judgment in favor of the interns, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Two cases, starting in the Southern District of New York, involving questions of whether interns should actually be considered employees are making their way up the appellate ladder -- and companies all over the country are watching closely.

Who knew that those, now ubiquitous, tip jars everywhere in coffee shops could become a federal case? Well they did (on two occasions, but we'll get to that later). Last Thursday, the Second Circuit, in a brief five-page opinion, affirmed a district court's grant of summary judgment to Starbucks.

The intern lawsuits are still at it -- both have different outcomes so far -- but are seeking the same thing -- immediate appeal.

Hearst & Black Swan

In a lawsuit involving magazine interns, a former magazine intern sued her former employer, Hearst, under New York and Federal Law. The Southern District of New York denied plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denied class certification.

Is this the most interesting employment law battle happening in the country today?

We certainly think so.

There are the unpaid Black Swan movie production interns suing Fox Searchlight. There are magazine interns suing over unpaid internships at Hearst and underpaid internships at Conde Nast. There is even a lawsuit against Atlantic Records and Warner Music, filed this week, according to Reuters.

With an economy stuffed with unemployed, desperate recent graduates, and companies reluctant to hire paid labor, we can only imagine that there will be even more to come.

Sotomayor v. New York (No, Not That Sotomayor)

Would Justice Sonia Sotomayor -- the Wise Latina herself -- sue her beloved New York City? Perish the thought. New York, after all, is her beloved world.

But Gladys Sotomayor, a 56-year-old, Hispanic New York City schoolteacher who shares a surname with the Justice, claims that the New York City Department of Education skirted a slew of state and federal law by discriminating against her.

Hofstra Student Worker Can Bring Retaliation Claim After All

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals went meta this week, finding that a former Hofstra grad student could proceed with her retaliation claim against the school.

This is pretty much the Inception of retaliation suits. The student, Lauren Summa, claims that she lost her student job at the University because she filed a retaliation claim against the University after she lost a previous student job.

Take a moment to wrap your head around that.

Court Revives Harassment Claim Based on Saucy Comments

It’s inappropriate for a supervisor to tell his subordinate that her husband was “not taking care of [her] in bed.” That’s a one-way ticket to a sexual harassment lawsuit.

It’s also inappropriate to record your boss without his knowledge or permission. That’s a one-way ticket to termination.

Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a Rochester Police Department employee’s hostile work environment claim, finding that the circumstances surrounding inappropriate statements that started and ended during her employment were sufficient to warrant a trial. The court, however, refused to revive the employee’s retaliation claim, concluding that the Department had cause to terminate her because she admitted to recording Department employees without authorization.

Blogging Unlikely to Lead to Millions

There are good reasons to become a blogger. You like making sassy comments. You have a pipe dream of building an Internet following that will lead to a book deal. You generally enjoy writing.

But you don't go into blogging for the money. Especially not for a piece of a $315 million pie. Seriously. You might have a better shot at winning the Powerball than making it big as a blogger.

No Reasonable Accommodation When Disability Results in Harassment

James McElwee is in his mid-30s with a neurodevelopmental disorder formally classified as Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and informally called an autism spectrum disorder.

In 1996, McElwee began participating in a volunteer program at Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation, where he performed janitorial and housekeeping duties and transported nursing home residents to religious and social events. McElwee competently performed his assigned tasks, and the volunteer program improved his self-esteem.

In 2009, McElwee was dismissed from the volunteer program after engaging in erratic and harassing behavior toward female staff members.