Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Case Updates

Cross v Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Inc., 8thCir, August 12, 2010: a former female casino valet's claims of hostile work environment claims could not withstand summary judgment because the incidents she reported did not rise to the level of a hostile work environment. The Plaintiff also could not not establish that the casino knew or should have known about other alleged incidents of harassment that she failed to report. This case has some outrageous facts and demonstrates the high burden plaintiffs' face in hostile work environment claims. The plaintiff could only cite four incidents over two years and this was not enough to survive summary judgment.

Mitchell v University Med Ctr, Inc., WDKy, August 9, 2010: A devout Christian nurse, who resigned after being ordered not to discuss with coworkers her religious views about the coming of the end of the world, was unable to pursue her Kentucky law claims that the hospital failed to reasonably accommodate her religion or that it unlawfully discriminated against her based on her religious beliefs. The nurse’s First Amendment claim that the hospital violated her right to free speech was also dismissed because the hospital was not a government actor and its actions did not amount to state action.

Bonfiglio v Michigan Underground Specialists, EDMich, August 12, 2010: Because they were admittedly replaced by younger workers, two employees made out a prima facie case of age-based discrimination to rebut their employer’s claim that they were terminated in a reduction in force, thereby defeating the employer’s motion for summary judgment. One was terminated when he was 52 years old, and the employer hired an employee who was 36 years old to replace him. The other was 72 years old at the time of his termination, and the employer hired a 23-year-old employee to replace him. After the employees’ terminations, the employer terminated several other employees under a purported general downsizing. Although the employer claimed that both employees were terminated due to the reduction in force, the court cited evidence that this reason had no basis in fact because the employees were admittedly replaced in their positions. In addition, when considering the whole of the employer’s reduction efforts, the court noted that the oldest employees were terminated.

Dreshman v Henry Clay Villa, WDPa, August 11, 2010: A male nurse who had previously been an exotic dancer, and who was discharged from his employment at a nursing home, was unable to proceed with his claims that he was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment because the conduct alleged was not sufficiently severe and pervasive. Once again, as in the first case cited above, not enough incidents, too large of gaps in between incidents and not enough complaining to management.

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