Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Employment Case Law Update

-- Turner v McKesson Corp, Case No. 2:12-CV-2053-SLB (NDAla)- Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss granted in part and denied in part.  After a detailed analysis of what is allowed under FMLA regarding paying employee bonuses, the court found that plaintiff sufficiently stated a claim of interference under the FMLA, likewise for her FMLA retaliation claim under the McDonnell Douglas prima facie case.  The Court did however grant Defendant's motion regarding Plaintiff's Title VII and Section 1981 race discrimination claims because the complaint failed to be supported by sufficient factual allegations to state a claim for which relief can be granted as Plaintiff could only plead she was not promoted.  

--Vallee v Indiana Department of Transportation, Case No. 1:11-cv-00481-WTL-MJD (SDInd):  Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment DENIED.  Plaintiff (female) filed a claim for sex discrimination under Title VII after not receiving a position she possessed all of the minimum requirements for but was still passed up for by a male who did not have all of the minimum requirements and after not receiving an interview for another position that opened up, which no females were interviewed.  After plaintiff filed her claim with the EEOC, defendant disciplined plaintiff for direct insubordination, possessing a negative attitude, and conduct unbecoming a state employee, despite plaintiff's only receiving positive employee evaluations every single previous year and no disciplines.  Plaintiff was also transferred to the most physically-demanding job in the employer's department which led to her injuring her back.  After being passed up for yet another promotion, plaintiff then received the lowest performance rating of her career, which is characterized as “Does Not Meet Expectations.”

On April 8, 2011, plaintiff filed the instant action, alleging that the Defendant had discriminated against her because of her sex by failing to promote her to the Paint Supervisor position. She also alleged that the Defendant retaliated against her after she filed a charge of sex discrimination with the EEOC by (1) failing to promote her to another open Paint Supervisor position in 2009; (2) again failing to promote her to the same position in 2010; and (3) creating what she calls a “hostile work environment.”  In denying the Defendant's Motion, the Court took issue with the individuals interviewed and hired over the plaintiff for promotion and noted some of their behavior toward plaintiff and comments made after she filed her charge with the EEOC.

--Carrier v VCA Animal Hospitals, Inc, Case No. DKC 11-0129 (DMd):  Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment GRANTED in part, DENIED in part.  Although a veterinary resident had epileptic seizures and suffered side effects from the medication to control them, she failed to demonstrate that she was substantially limited in her ability to perform any major life activities and, therefore, was not disabled under the definition of the ADA.  Noting that Maryland law explicitly includes epilepsy as a disability, the court considered but rejected her state law claim alleging that the employer failed to reasonably accommodate her. On the other hand, she presented a triable prima facie case of disability discrimination to support her state law statutory wrongful termination claim. Stating that the side effects of her medication mimicked intoxication, the court the reasoned that the employee established pretext by showing that the employer failed to investigate plausible reasons for her erratic behavior, leading to her discharge.

--Rodriguez v Atria Senior Living Group, Inc, Case No. 10-CV-8965 (ER) (SDNY):  Court DENIED plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment in its entirety and GRANTED summary judgment to defendant on each of the issues except for two of the FMLA claims.  A maintenance technician who was discharged when he was unable to return to work after depleting all his leave was not entitled to summary judgment on his claim that he was fired in retaliation for requesting an extension of his FMLA leave in order to accommodate his shoulder surgery and post-operative rehabilitation.  Although the court granted summary judgment to the employer on the employee's failure to accommodate claim and four of his six FMLA claims, it found material fact issues existed on the two remaining FMLA claims.

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