Monday, September 27, 2010

Employment Case Law Update

--Hertz v Luzenac Am, Inc., DColo, September 21, 2010: In a complex pattern of litigation, a former employee successfully sued former employer for Title VII religious bias and retaliation. Former employee then went to work for a competitor. Court ruled former employee was unable to pursue his subsequent Title VII allegation asserting that the former employer violated Title VII by unlawfully retaliating against him when it filed a lawsuit against the competing business.
From CCH Work Week on this decision: The court rejected the employer’s assertion that the employee’s claim should be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, as well as its contention that the retaliation claim was precluded by a prior Tenth Circuit ruling that the former employer’s efforts to protect its trade secrets was not an improper use of the legal process. However, the court ultimately ruled the employee could not proceed with his retaliation claim because the alleged adverse employment action complained of – the employer’s act of filing a lawsuit against the competitor – would not have dissuaded a reasonable worker from supporting a charge of discrimination under the circumstances. Further, the employee’s claim of retaliation was not based on his position as an employee, “but rather is grounded in his posture as an improper competitor.”

As a side note, this opinion has a good discussion on exhausting administrative remedy before filing a Title VII claim in federal court.

--Stickhost v 3-D Leasing, Inc., CDIll, September 21, 2010: Motion to dismiss denied. And a good section on pleading with specificty in response to a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
Specifically, the defendants argued that the plaintiff failed to assert a "serious health condition" for purposes of the FMLA. The court rules that gallstones could be a health condition eligible for medical leave under the meaning of the FMLA.

--Barnhart v Town of Parma, WDNY, September 22, 2010: Two male mechanical equipment operators who were employed by a town’s highway department failed to make out Title VII and New York state law claims that they were unlawfully retaliated against for complaining that their male supervisor harassed and discriminated against them on the basis of their gender. Simply, the plaintiffs failed to show up retaliatory conduct given the nature of their jobs and the way the employer administered vacation.

--Gossett v Tractor Supply Co, Inc., TennSCt, September 20, 2010: The McDonnell Douglas approach to allocating burden of proof in a Title VII discrimination case does not apply at the summary judgment stage of discrimination and retaliation claims brought under Tennessee law, the Tennessee Supreme Court held, 3-2. Moreover, Tennessee law does not require that an individual report allegedly illegal activity in order to maintain a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. Thus, the appeals court properly reversed summary judgment in favor of an employer on an inventory control manager’s claim that he was fired in retaliation for refusing to change his inventory reserve analysis, which would be used in the company’s quarterly earning report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

No comments:

Post a Comment