Monday, November 22, 2010

Employment Case Law Update

--Alvarez v Des Moines Bolt Supply, Inc., 8thCir, No. 09-1465: 8th Circuit affirms summary judgment for employer after Plaintiff failed to support a reasonable inference that she was suspended in retaliation for making a complaint of sexual harassment. Summary judgment was also affirmed on Plaintiff's constructive discharge claim.
There was evidence that Plaintiff engaged in activity in violation of employer policy, which is what led to a 5-day suspension, and thus the issue was ultimately whether Plaintiff was suspended for filing a charge of harassment or in retaliation. The Court found the employer's reason to be the real reason and also noted that had the supervisor accused of sexual harassment been the only one suspended, rise to a charge of sex discrimination could have occurred.

--Gallo v W.B. Mason Co., Inc, DMass: Plaintiff's gender-based associational discrimination claim fails because his complaint alleged that he was fired because he protested discrimination against female employees, not because he was a male associating with females. Thus, the court held, "[t]here is no allegation that he was discriminated against on the basis of his gender."

--Alastra v National City Corp., EDMich: Plaintiff, who suffers from epilepsy with grand-mal seizures, allowed to proceed forward on her disability discrimination claim. The court rejected the bank's assertion that the employee was not qualified due to her absences, finding that the requirement of not incurring 10 absences in one year was not an essential function of the part-time teller position. The court also rejected the employer's contention that providing coverage for full-time employees, regardless of the time of their shifts, was an essential function of her job. Even if the ability to incur less than 10 absences in one year were an essential function, the court found that the employee could have met the requirement had she been provided with a later start time. The employee presented sufficient evidence to support a finding that the bank failed to reasonably accommodate her disability by not scheduling her for shifts that began at 10:00 a.m. or later. She sufficiently disputed the bank's assertion that the requested accommodation was unreasonable because it would impose an undue hardship.

Enochs Law Firm

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