Monday, August 23, 2010

Case Law Update

--Tootill v Securitas Security Servs USA, Inc., Dconn, August 16, 2010: Defendant's motion for summary judgment granted because the plaintiff could not demonstrate that a genuine issue of material fact existed over whether the employer’s reason for terminating him was pretextual. The employee admitted that he manipulated the time sheets of various officers, and that no one with the employer ever made a negative statement about his age; there was no evidence presented as to the actual age of the employee who permanently replaced him.

--Davis v National RR Passenger Corp., DDel, August 16, 2010: Plaintiff prevails in showing a hostile work environment based upon his race, which included incidents of vandalism and theft at his workspace. However, the plaintiff failed in showing that the employer was racially motivated in its decision to discipline him for sleeping on the job failed because he was unable to show that he was treated less favorably than a similarly situated person outside his class. His reliance on a comparator who was a non-supervisory employee failed because that individual was held to a lesser standard than the employee.
(It's always a challenge finding a good comparator.)

--Walton v Best Buy Co., EDMich, August 17, 2010: Female plaintiff, with children, survived summary judgment on her Title VII and Michigan law “sex-plus” discrimination claims against her employer because she presented direct evidence of discriminatory animus by the manager who placed her on her second performance improvement plan, which she was ultimately terminated for failing to meet. The court found she established a prima facie case of sex-plus discrimination based on direct evidence of discriminatory statements made by her manager. It was significant that the manager who allegedly made the statements was the same individual who decided to place the employee on her second performance improvement plan and that the statements were made within a month or two of that decision. The employee presented sufficient evidence to cast doubt on the employer’s proffered reason for discharge – poor job performance – was pretext for discrimination, concluded the court. The record contained sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that the employee’s failure to perform well was due to the fact that the company was not giving her training opportunities that it provided to others and that the reason for failing to train her was that she was a mother of young children.

--Kroll v White Lake Ambulance Auth., WDMich, August 19, 2010: Plaintiff's claim was dismissed with prejudice because she stipulated to summary judgment on her discrimination claim, abandoned her retaliation claim, and failed to adduce evidence of a medical examination or inquiry in violation of the ADA. The employee, who worked as an EMT, alleged that her employer violated the ADA and Title VII when it required her to undergo psychological counseling as a condition of retaining her employment. Specifically, she alleged that her employer required her to attend counseling without proof that her mental health condition posed a direct threat or impaired her ability to perform essential job functions. She also alleged that her employer retaliated against her when she refused to attend counseling. Finally, she claimed that she suffered discrimination in violation of Title VII when her employer compelled her to undergo counseling for having an affair with a married male coworker, while it did not require male employees to undergo counseling for the same behavior.

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