Employer Law Report

Tag Archives: retaliation

Employer’s good faith offer to reinstate employee as part of settlement negotiations in exchange for dismissing a lawsuit is not considered retaliation

In a recent case, Bresler v. Rock, 2018-Ohio-5138, an employee incongruously argued that an employer’s offer to reinstate his employment in exchange for dismissal of his pending lawsuit was a retaliatory action.  The Ohio Court of Appeals soundly rejected that contention. Rather, employers can continue to negotiate settlements of discrimination allegations and include conditions of dismissal of lawsuits and releases of all claims and courts should not consider it a retaliatory action.

At the age of 60, after working for Anchor Hocking for over 41 years, Darrell Bresler was terminated. Earlier in the year, the company shut down its operations …

When Managers and Social Media Collide: Court Finds That Blog and Drunken Facebook Posts By Coyote Ugly’s Managers Do Not Amount to Adverse Actions or are Enough for Constructive Discharge Claim

Stewart v. CUS Nashville, LLC, No. 3:11-cv-0342, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16035 (M.D. Tenn. Aug. 8, 2013) serves as a cautionary tale to employers about the disastrous impact that can happen when managers and social media collide. And while this case turned out well for the employer in the end, that end was after a long and expensive two-day bench trial that I am sure the employer would have much rather avoided.

If you are not familiar with the Stewart case, here is the background you need to know. CUS Nashville, LLC owns Coyote Ugly franchises. (Yes, the …

You’re Fired! Wait, Didn’t Anyone Tell You? Ohio Supreme Court Addresses the Workers’ Compensation Statutory Notice Requirement

The Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision yesterday in Lawrence v. City of Youngstown, 2012-Ohio-4247 (Sept. 20, 2012), which reminds employers that they have a duty to notify employees within a reasonably prompt time of their discharge.

Keith Lawrence, a former City of Youngstown employee, was suspended on January 7, 2007, without pay, pending an investigation. Two days later, the City discharged him. Lawrence claimed he did not become aware of his discharge until February 19th—nearly six weeks later. The City stated it sent Lawrence a letter because he was not working at the time he was discharged. Unfortunately …

Scalia v. Aldi–A Mixed Bag for Employers

The Ohio Court of Appeals for the Ninth Appellate District recently issued a decision that has potential to create more questions than answers when it comes to workers’ compensation retaliation and disability discrimination law in Ohio.

While employed at Aldi, Maria Scalia injured her elbow. Her claim for workers’ compensation was granted, and she was off work receiving workers’ compensation benefits while her restrictions impaired her ability to perform her job. A year later, Aldi ordered an independent medical examination which found Ms. Scalia had reached maximum medical improvement, which resulted in the termination of Ms. Scalia’s workers’ compensation benefits. …

Sutton v. Tomco Machining, Inc.: Ohio Supreme Court Expands Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Protection

On June 9, 2011, the Ohio Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Sutton v. Tomco Machining, Inc., in which the Court expanded the scope of workers’ compensation retaliation protection to include employees who are injured on the job but have not yet filed an actual workers’ compensation claim.

On April 14, 2008, DeWayne Sutton injured his back while working at Tomco Machining, Inc. ("Tomco”). He allegedly reported the injury to Tomco’s president and within one hour of reporting the injury, Sutton was fired. According to Sutton’s complaint, the president did not give him a reason for the …

Supreme Court Holds Third Party Retaliation Is an Actionable Claim – Reversing Sixth Circuit

Updating our previous posts on Thompson v. North American Stainless, the Supreme Court yesterday reversed the Sixth Circuit’s en banc decision holding that an employee who claims he was fired in retaliation for his fiancé’s complaint of sex harassment had an actionable retaliation claim under Title VII. The Supreme Court reversed the Sixth Circuit’s decision in a 8-0 opinion with Justice Scalia writing the unanimous decision.

The facts are as follows: A woman filed a sex discrimination charge with the EEOC. Three weeks later, the employer terminated the woman’s fiancé, who also was employed by the company. The fiancé …

EEOC Charges Rise Significantly in 2010

According to statistics released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) earlier this week, the Agency received over 7% more charges in 2010 than it did the previous year—99,922 as compared to 93,277.  Indeed, the number of charges filed were up in every category.  The FY 2010 enforcement and litigation statistics, which include trend data, are available online here.

Such statistics are not surprising in light of the large number of layoffs that occurred in 2010, coupled with the difficulties terminated employees had in finding new employment in a down economy.  What is more interesting, however, is that, for the first …

EEOC Report On Charge Statistics Provides Lessons For Employers

 Yesterday, the EEOC released its charge statistics report for its 2009 fiscal year, which ended on September 30, 2009. Not surprisingly, during an economically difficult period, the statistics show a near record number of charges filed — 93,277 — which is second only to the 2008 fiscal year when 95,402 charges were filed.

As usual, sex and race discrimination charges led the pack, but they also showed a slight decline from the previous fiscal year. Somewhat surprisingly, during a period that saw extensive reductions-in-force, age discrimination charges were significantly down. On the other hand, disability discrimination and retaliation charges showed the …

Increased Scrutiny Following EEOC Charge May Pose Retaliation Risk

A termination within three months of an employee’s EEOC charge, combined with a claim that the employer increased its scrutiny of that employee after his charge was filed was enough to prevent summary judgment–even where the employer had refrained from terminating the employee at its first opportunity following his charge. Hamilton v. GE.

Jarrett Hamilton sued GE alleging that he was terminated in retaliation for filing an age-discrimination charge with the EEOC approximately three months earlier. He claimed that after he filed the charge, the company intensified its scrutiny of his work.  Of course, he filed the charge while on …

Title VII’s Anti-Retaliation Provisions Apply to Statements Made During Internal Investigations

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court released an opinion in Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. In this case, the employer, a school district in Tennessee, conducted an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against its employee relations director, Mr. Hughes. Employee interviews were conducted in connection with the investigation. When the plaintiff, Ms. Crawford, was interviewed, she informed the school district that Mr. Hughes had sexually harassed her. Following the investigation, the school district took no action against Mr. Hughes but fired Ms. Crawford, alleging embezzlement.

Ms. Crawford filed suit against the school district, claiming that …

Two Supreme Court Decisions Expand Retaliation Claims

On March 27, 2008, the Supreme Court released two opinions addressing discriminatory retaliation in the workplace. In the pair of opinions, the Court broadened the scope of potential claims for retaliatory conduct by holding that: (1) employees may bring a private action for discriminatory retaliation under §1981; and (2) the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits retaliation against federal employees who complain of age discrimination.

In CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries, the Supreme Court held 7-2 that under 42 U.S.C. §1981, retaliation itself is a form of prohibited discrimination when contractual rights are at stake, even though §1981 does not …

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