[JURIST] In an 2-1 opinion written by Judge A. Wallace Tashima, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that a casino's requirement that its waitresses wear make-up while serving beverages does not constitute sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. The case developed after Harrah's Casino, located in Reno, NV, implemented new employee guidelines requiring different gender specific standards for male and female employees. Plaintiff Darlene Jespersen, a bartender for nearly 20 years, refused to wear make-up and was terminated. She claimed that such a policy constituted disparate treatment sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In dismissing the claim, Tashima noted that resolution involves "weighing the relative burdens that particular requirements impose on workers of one sex against the distinct requirements imposed on workers of the other sex." The opinion held that Jespersen did not provide sufficient evidence that a make-up and nail polish requirement imposed a greater burden than men's grooming standards. Read the opinion here. [PDF]
[JURIST] US District Judge Federico Moreno Tuesday postponed the arraignment of Cali drug kingpin Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela until Jan. 28, 2005, giving his attorney time to persuade the Treasury Department to allow Orejuela's assets to pay for his legal defense fees. While attorney Jose Quinon plans to defend Orejuela's plea of innocence to charges of cocaine smuggling and money laundering, he must first clarify the status of Orejuela's assets previously frozen by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. A Treasury department spokeswoman commented that the OFAC has granted licenses in similar cases where the money would be used for legitimate purposes. Orejuela, 65, was extradited to the US earlier this month and is currently jailed in Miami. JURIST's Paper Chase has coverage of the extradition here. Rodriguez and brother Miguel are accused to have produced 80 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the US during the 1990s. AP has more.
[JURIST] The top auditor for the US Department of Transportation says that holiday travel disruptions at US Airways and Comair have prompted a formal investigation into customer service commitments made by the airlines five years ago. Many passengers were left stranded in airports or separated from their baggage this weekend while carriers blamed poor weather, computer breakdowns, and staff shortages. Lawmakers had threatened stricter congressional regulations in 1999 in the wake of high-profile incidents of customers stuck in delayed aircraft. The DOT Inspector General said this would be the first step in a major audit of the entire airline industry's customer service. The Transportation Department's General Counsel and its Office of Aviation and International Affairs are also taking part in the probe. The DOT has released this statement from Secretary Norman Mineta and this response from the Inspector General laying out the terms of the probe. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] Ukraine's prosecutor-general Tuesday opened a criminal probe into the death of Transport Minister Heorhiy Kyrpa, a strong supporter of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Kyrpa was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in his holiday home near Kiev just a day after Viktor Yushchenko won a controversial election re-vote. A spokesman for the prosecutor-general said a gun was found near the body of Kyrpa and the investigation was launched under the article "driving someone to suicide" in the Ukrainian criminal code. BBC News has more.
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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.