REASON PREVAILS… AND REASON FLAILS… 

“It’s all about me.” A federal court in New York threw out a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by a woman who was terminated in a reduction in force after she took approximately a year and four months off for her new baby. The court found that it was reasonable for the employer to keep her male replacement, who had established customer relationships and was closing deals in her absence. Moreover, seven other employees – four of whom were male – were laid off at the same time as the plaintiff, and her replacement was laid off shortly afterward, and eventually the entire department was sold to another company.

C’est si bon. (It’s so good.) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and the Dakotas) held that the Arkansas State Police department was not necessarily liable for sexual harassment based on a single incident when it acted promptly and effectively to end the harassment. The plaintiff alleged that her supervisor hit on her and made crude remarks on one night at work. She reported the incidents, and the Police immediately separated the plaintiff and her supervisor, and ultimately terminated the supervisor. The plaintiff contended that the Police should not be able to use the Ellerth/Faragher defense because she did not “unreasonably fail to avail herself of the employer’s preventive measures.” The Eighth Circuit said that this would be an “anomalous” result and found that this was not a requirement in a single-incident situation.

Firing employee for beating up boss is legal, court finds. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas) affirmed summary judgment for an employer that fired the plaintiff after he got into a fistfight with his supervisor. Earlier on the same day, the plaintiff had been in a fight with a co-worker. The plaintiff, who – not surprisingly – was representing himself, claimed to have been a victim of race discrimination.

Firing employee for calling boss a “redneck son of a b–tch” is legal, court finds. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (the Carolinas, the Virginias, and Maryland) refused to enforce an NLRB decision that had held that the cussing employee was unlawfully terminated for engaging in "protected concerted activity." (What a shame that the case had to get that far before justice was done.)

FLAILS…

Maybe this guy hadn’t called the boss a “redneck son of a b–tch.” A federal court in New York held that a labor arbitrator was justified in ordering reinstatement of an employee who was terminated for “repeatedly expressing a desire to harm certain managerial and supervisory employees.” The court said that “the employer’s reluctance to permit him [the grievant] to return to work is understandable” but that the arbitrator’s decision did not violate public policy.

Umm...if a restroom assignment can’t be based on this, then ...umm...what can it be based on? A federal court in Arizona held that it was sex discrimination for a community college to refuse to allow a still-biological-male professor who was going through the sex-change process to use the women’s restroom. The school was willing to allow the professor to use the women’s restroom once the sex-change surgery was complete, and female students had complained about having to share their restroom with a biological male. Said the judge: “The presence or absence of anatomy typically associated with a particular sex cannot itself form the basis of a legitimate employment decision . . ..” Conditioning employment rights on having the “stereotypically expected genitalia” is unlawful, absent a “reasonably necessary” business purpose.

“Involuntary drooling”? “Restaurant employment”? Why, they go togther like a horse and carriage! A federal judge in Minnesota refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act against the Fuddruckers restaurant chain by an employee with a disorder that resulted in involuntary drooling. The judge contended that the restaurant could have reasonably accommodated her by letting her bus tables or wash dishes.

Back to Page