“We hold this truth to be self-evident: Uh, NO,” sayeth Thomas Jefferson. The Sixth Circuit (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee) upheld the termination of a court clerk in Tennessee who was having a “relationship” with the estranged husband of one of her co-workers. (There was apparently a question as to whether the relationship was adulterous.) The clerk had argued that her right to intimate association under the First Amendment had been violated.
Wonder what she’s like when not trying to make a good first impression. The Third Circuit (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) upheld the termination of an African-American customer service employee who – in a training session that took place after only ten days on the job – got into a cussing match with another new hire, who was white. The white adversary resigned before the company’s investigation was concluded, but the plaintiff stayed on and was ultimately fired for using profanity and engaging in disruptive behavior. The plaintiff claimed she was a victim of race discrimination because the employee who had quit before she could be fired . . . wasn’t fired.
Don’t even get me started on that arbitrator . . . A Springfield, Illinois, police officer was discharged because he had severely beaten his wife, threatened a neighbor, challenged an old man to a fight during a basketball game, obstructed an investigation, and had an “egregious disciplinary record” with 31 prior incidents, including a prior termination for throwing a rock at a car while on duty. (An arbitrator ordered him back to work after that one.) He sued, claiming to be a victim of reverse discrimination. The court granted summary judgment to the town, and the Seventh Circuit (Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) affirmed.
Better late than never. A federal judge in Philadelphia held that the EEOC had the right to issue a regulation stating that an employer could reduce or end benefits when the retiree becomes eligible for Medicare or similar government benefits. The AARP had challenged the regulation, and the same judge had previously held that the EEOC regulation was invalid. On reconsideration, the judge did, however, leave in place an injunction prohibiting the EEOC from publishing the regulation until the Third Circuit rules in the AARP’s appeal.
Note to self: Develop new reality-TV show about class action lawsuit filed by reality-TV story editors . . . A wage-and-hour class action filed by reality-TV “writers” [sic] claims that the producers and TV networks overworked, underpaid, and underfed the plaintiffs, who view raw video footage and edit it into a storyline. The mastermind of the lawsuit was the Writers Guild of America, West, which is trying to organize reality-TV “writers.” Citing the example of one assistant story editor who worked 84 hours in one week for a flat rate of $800, the Guild noted that the pay averaged $7.41 per hour with no overtime. Seems like this lawsuit would make for a great new reality-TV show: The Class Action? The Real People’s Court? As the Real World Turns? You’ve Been Served? The Shysters? (Attention, networks: Please send royalty payment for concept to Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLC.)