Cosi Asks Judge to Speed up Bankruptcy Hearing So They Can Apply for Restaurant Revitalization Fund Aid

Cosi, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection more than a year ago, has asked a judge to speed up the proceedings so the fast-casual chain can be eligible for federal relief funding for struggling restaurants.

A judge approved Cosi’s motion for an expedited hearing and has scheduled proceedings to take place next Tuesday, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware late last month.

“The Debtors’ only realistic hope of emerging from bankruptcy, and avoiding a conversion and liquidation, hinges on their being able to successfully apply for a grant for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund,” Cosi wrote in its filing. “The Debtors believe that they qualify for a grant of $10 million dollars, which they believe would allow them to confirm, and go effective, on their plan.”

Read the source article at Restaurant Business Magazine

Florida Lawsuit Tests If Sex Discrimination Regulations Apply to Religious Institutions

Shortly after Christie Leonard moved to Manatee County in 2003, she began volunteering for Gospel Crusade, a Bradenton nonprofit that runs The Family Church and Christian Retreat conference center and produces videos for the Christian Television Network.

Leonard operated cameras for the organization, and quickly decided she wanted to move into audio-visual work as a career. After volunteering for six years, she landed a job as a video producer with Gospel Crusade, and later took on more responsibilities in the organization’s accounting department.

In early 2019, Leonard was fired. And in a lawsuit filed later that year, Leonard alleged that the decision to fire her had nothing to do with her job performance. Instead, she says, she was fired because Gospel Crusade president Phil Derstine believed she and a former employee, a woman who had been fired in 2018, were engaged in an “intimate relationship.”

Read the source article at Sarasota Magazine

Opponents of Anti-Racism Education Win Big in Divided Texas School System

Nine months after officials in the affluent Carroll Independent School District introduced a proposal to combat racial and cultural intolerance in schools, voters delivered a resounding victory Saturday to a slate of school board and City Council candidates who opposed the plan.

In an unusually bitter campaign that echoed a growing national divide over how to address issues of race, gender and sexuality in schools, candidates in the city of Southlake were split between two camps: those who supported new diversity and inclusion training requirements for Carroll students and teachers and those backed by a political action committee that was formed last year to defeat the plan.

On one side, progressives argued that curriculum and disciplinary changes were needed to make all children feel safe and welcome in Carroll, a mostly white but quickly diversifying school district. On the other, conservatives in Southlake rejected the school diversity plan as an effort to indoctrinate students with a far-left ideology that, according to some, would institutionalize discrimination against white children and those with conservative Christian values.

Read the source article at NBC News

Virginia Tech Faces Free Speech Lawsuits

Virginia Tech has received lawsuits from the nonprofit Speech First claiming that the university has put overly broad restrictions on student speech and expression.

Speech First is a nonprofit organization that combats restrictions on freedom of speech and other civil rights on college campuses. They aim to fight against arbitrary censorship that violates the First Amendment. Speech First claims that students fear the repercussions for anything they say or do and lose out on a college experience.

Filed on Thursday, the lawsuit Speech First Inc. v. Timothy Sands is aimed at Virginia Tech’s policies on harassment, discrimination and computer use. Speech First claims these policies prohibit the use of free speech and students fear disciplinary repercussions. The lawsuit also targets the university’s ban on distributing literature or petitions without prior approval.

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Walmart Sued by EEOC for Allegedly Violating the Americans with Disabilities Act

Walmart violated federal law by failing to provide an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for an applicant and failing to hire the qualified applicant because he is deaf, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed yesterday.

According to Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago, the EEOC’s pre-suit administrative investigation revealed that after the applicant applied for a position at Walmart Store #2728 in Decatur, Ill., through Walmart’s website, he was contacted by Walmart for an interview. The applicant disclosed he was deaf and requested an ASL interpreter for the interview. This request put an end to the application process – even after the applicant followed up with Walmart.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits workplace discrimination against applicants on the basis of disability.

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The New York State Athletic Commission Faces Lawsuit Over Racial Discrimination and Wage Violations

Two former employees of the New York State Athletic Commission have brought forward a class action lawsuit against the governmental body that oversees combat sports on charges of racial discrimination and multiple wage and hour law violations, has learned. 

In a 28-page lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York on March 5, plaintiffs Dorothea Perry and Jean Seme allege that the NYSAC denied them minimum wage ($15 per hour in 2018) and withheld payment for their work as at-will inspectors, including spread of hours pay and overtime wages. 

Also named in the complaint are the executive director of the NYSAC, Kim Sumbler, and former executive director Anthony Giardina. (Giardina now serves as commissioner of the New York state Tax Appeals Tribunal.) Plaintiffs Perry and Seme, who are both Black, allege that Sumbler and Giardina created a “racially hostile” working environment. They also allege that Sumbler and Giardina “willfully” obstructed them from securing certain job promotions and terminated them on “false pretenses” having to do with their race.

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YU Pride Alliance Sues Yeshiva University and Administration for LGBTQ Discrimination

The YU Pride Alliance, three Yeshiva University alumni and a student announced an LGBTQ discrimination lawsuit against the university, as well as President Ari Berman and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Dr. Chaim Nissel, at a virtual press conference on Tuesday, April 27. The plaintiffs allege that YU illegally discriminated against them when the university thrice rejected their proposal for an official LGBTQ club in 2019 and 2020.

 The plaintiffs — the Alliance, Molly Meisels (SCW ‘21), Amitai Miller (YC ‘20), Doniel Weinreich (YC ‘20) and an anonymous student — are being represented by Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, a litigation boutique in New York City that focuses on civil rights, commercial, criminal and ethics matters. The Alliance is an unofficial student club for providing LGBTQ  student support to “feel visible, respected, and represented,” as per its Facebook page. 

“What I want Yeshiva University students, faculty, staff, and administrators to know is that I am partaking in this case out of love for the university,” Meisels told The Commentator. “The institution has so much potential to be a safe, loving, and supportive environment for queer students and allies. This potential has yet to be realized. Hopefully this case will provide queer students with the club they deserve.”

Read the source article at The Commentator

New Jersey Town Sued for Religious Discrimination in Zoning and Surveillance Practices

The attorney general of New Jersey announced Tuesday that the state has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Jackson Township for discrimination against its Jewish community.

The complaint, filed by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Division on Civil Rights in state Superior Court in Ocean County, names Jackson Township, the Jackson Township Council, the Jackson Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Jackson Township Planning Board, and Mayor Michael Reina as defendants.

According to a press release from the state’s Office of the Attorney General, the defendants used zoning powers to prevent an influx of Orthodox Jews from establishing residency in the township and to make it more difficult to practice their religion, violating New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.

Read the source article at Jewish & Israel News

Supreme Court Considers Freedom of Speech Case Stemming from Student’s Snapchat Profanity

Fourteen-year-old Brandi Levy was having that kind of day where she just wanted to scream. So she did, in a profanity-laced posting on Snapchat that has, improbably, ended up before the Supreme Court in the most significant case on student speech in more than 50 years.

At issue is whether public schools can discipline students over something they say off-campus. The topic is especially meaningful in a time of remote learning because of the coronavirus pandemic and a rising awareness of the pernicious effects of online bullying.

Arguments are on Wednesday, via telephone because of the pandemic, before a court on which several justices have school-age children or recently did.

Read the source article at Associated Press News

Kaiser Permanente to Pay $11.5 Million in Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Prominent Plaintiffs’ law firms Medina Orthwein LLP and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP announced today that Plaintiffs have reached an agreement with Defendants Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, The Permanente Medical Group, Inc., and the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (collectively, “Kaiser Permanente”), in which Kaiser Permanente will pay $11.5 million to settle a class action race discrimination lawsuit. The settlement covers approximately 2,225 African American employees in two job families (Administrative Support and Consulting Services) at each of the Kaiser Permanente entities.

In addition to monetary relief, Kaiser Permanente agrees to institute comprehensive workplace programs to ensure that African American employees’ compensation and opportunities for advancement are fair and equitable. The changes build upon work that Kaiser Permanente announced in 2020 to strengthen its efforts to ensure a racially inclusive workplace. The Agreement between the parties was reached after more than two years of negotiations, and it settles the case, Stewart et al. v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, et al., filed today, in the San Francisco County Superior Court in San Francisco, California.

Read the source article at Yahoo Finance