News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Trans worker fails to make discrimination case against employer; former DA’s husband gets community service

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Transgender employee failed to show discrimination in case against T-Mobile, appeals court says

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans has dismissed claims brought by Elijah Anthony Olivarez, a transgender employee of T-Mobile USA who alleged that he was fired for taking a long leave of absence after a medical procedure. In its Wednesday ruling, the appeals court held that transgender plaintiffs have to follow the same rules as any other plaintiff who claims sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. “An employer discharged a sales employee who happens to be transgender—but who took six months of leave and then sought further leave for the indefinite future. That is not discrimination—that is ordinary business practice.” (, the May 12 opinion)

Former Los Angeles district attorney’s husband avoids jail after pointing gun at protesters

David Lacey, the husband of former Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, was sentenced Thursday to 100 hours of community service and ordered to take anger management classes for pointing a gun at Black Lives Matter protesters who rang his doorbell in March 2020. Lacey, a former investigator with the district attorney’s office, was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault but requested to enter a diversion program in lieu of jail time. He must also surrender his gun during the program and take a gun safety training course. (The Los Angeles Times, Courthouse News Service)

Death row inmate argues he’s ineligible for death penalty after state law change

On Wednesday, one day after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill that makes it possible for death row inmates to appeal their sentences on grounds of intellectual disability, attorneys for death row inmate Pervis Payne filed a new petition in his case. Payne was convicted of the 1987 deaths of Charisse Christopher and her 2-year-old daughter but has maintained his innocence. His attorneys have long argued that he is intellectually disabled and helped advocate for the change in the state law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that it was unconstitutional to execute prisoners with intellectual disabilities. (The Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Associated Press)

New report shows law firms fall short on paid paternal leave

A report released Tuesday by legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa has shown that gender-neutral parental leave policies are still not the norm in the legal profession. In its survey of 154 law firm attorneys in September and November, the firm found that while 49% of respondents said their firms have paternal leave policies, the most common paternity leave program among the respondents—which 31% said their firm offers—allows for only one to six weeks of paid leave. The survey results additionally showed that 48% of maternity leave policies allow for 14 to 20 weeks of paid leave, but only 26% of paternity leave programs are as generous. (Reuters,, Bloomberg Law)

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