Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Employment Case Law Update

--Hart v Family Dental Group, 2ndCir: In affirming a district court’s grant of judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiff's Sec. 4312(A) of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held there was no reasonable basis to find a violation because the plaintiff was reinstated with the same title, pay, and employment terms upon his return from active duty in Iraq. The twist in this case takes place when the plaintiff was informed that he was being terminated 60 days after he returned to work for the defendant. The plaintiff questioned the legality of his termination so the defendant shortened the termination from 60 to 30 days, which prompted suit under USERRA. The Dept. of Labor informed the defendant that it had to employ the plaintiff for at least 180 days upon his return from active service, which it did, and once the 180 days were up it re-terminated the plaintiff. In ruling in favor of the defendant-employer the 2nd Circuit noted that USERRA only requires an employer to re-employ a member of the armed services for 180 days (unless they can terminate for cause) and that is what was done here. Nothing more is required of the employer.

--Khufu v Jones Retail Corp, DHaw: Defendants' motion for summary judgment DENIED in part, GRANTED in part on plaintiff's race, color, age, hostile work environment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and state law claims. As is common with a lot of employment cases, this case presents an employment history marred with disciplinary actions and questionable employer conduct. This case also highlights the blunder commonly made by plaintiffs when they fail to properly check all the relevant "boxes" in EEOC complaints in order to properly exhaust administrative remedies in order to file suit in federal court.

In claiming race discrimination under Title VII the plaintiff relied upon the Supreme Court's recent cat's paw decision in Staub v. Proctor Hosp.. While the court acknowledged that the plaintiff was terminated for violating certain policies, the court held it could not ignore the other evidence presented on behalf of the plaintiff pertaining to the alleged discriminatory conduct of his immediate supervisor which also factored into the decision to terminate in denying the employer's motion for summary judgment on the Title VII claim.

--Magnussen v Casey’s Mktg Co dba Casey’s Gen Store, NDIowa: Employer's motion for summary judgment GRANTED. Plaintiff has a temporary and sporadic back problem that left her unable to stand for long periods of time was held not disabled under the ADA (prior to ADAAA amendment) or state law, nor was she qualified for her position, held the Iowa district court. The court also held that even had the plaintiff been a qualified individual with a disability, it was she and not the employer who was responsible for the breakdown of the interactive process, and therefore, her failure to accommodate claim could not proceed.

--Winterhalter v Dykhuis Farms, Inc, WDMich: Employer's motion for summary judgment GRANTED on employee's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. The court held that the termination of the plaintiff on the day he returned from FMLA leave occurred during a broader reduction in force (RIF) and was based on objective criteria of poor work performance and a high salary not because of the FMLA leave.

No comments:

Post a Comment