justice scale justice scale justice scale

McKenna Minutes

“The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”

-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

McKenna Employment Bulletin – January 2014

-

 

A STATEMENT DURING AN INVESTIGATION SUPPORTS A RETALIATION CLAIM

In Sayger v. Riceland Foods Inc., 2013 WL 6050746 (8th Cir. 2013), a Caucasian employee reported to his employer’s Human Resource Director during an internal investigation of a supervisor that he witnessed offensive conduct by that supervisor. The employee demonstrated his opposition to that conduct and that he acted to vindicate the rights of the minority employees. The court held that by reporting the supervisor’s conduct to the Human Resources Director, the employee was engaging in statutorily protected activity to support a case of retaliation. Further, the court held that the report by the employee was sufficient evidence of causation that the employee would not have been terminated had he not served as a witness in the internal investigation of the supervisor.
Return to Issues Menu

 

BLACK BALLOON ON DESK DOES NOT CREATE A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT

In Lumpkins-Benford v. Allstate Insurance Company, 2013 WL 5952168 (N.D.Ill. 2013), co-employees taped a black balloon to an African American employee’s desk. The employee’s co-workers had either white, yellow, or blue balloons taped on their desks. The court held that the taping of the black balloon to the employee’s desk was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to establish a hostile work environment under Title VII. This was because the incident was an isolated occurrence that, though offensive, was not physically threatening and did not interfere with the employee’s work performance.
Return to Issues Menu

 

THE SUBJECTIVE EVALUATION FACTOR OF INTERPERSONAL SKILLS DEFEATS AN ADEA CLAIM

In Reynolds v. Tangherlini, No. 12-2010, December 12, 2013, 7th Cir., the trial court found that the employer did not discriminate against the employee on account of the employee’s age, when the employer failed to promote the employee. The employer selected a significantly younger co-worker for the position. But, the 7th Circuit held the trial court could properly rely on testimony of the decision-maker that the position required strong interpersonal skills. The successful candidate for the promotion had better interpersonal skills than the employee and also had an established track record of working well with co-workers. The court acknowledged the employee’s claim that the decision-maker had improperly interviewed the successful candidate without interviewing others and was in violation of a collective bargaining agreement. The court held this also did not constitute evidence of age discrimination.

Return to Issues Menu

 

ALLEGATIONS WITHOUT FACTS DO NOT SUPPORT A CAUSE OF ACTION

In Zepeda v. Cook County, Ill. 2013 WL 5863055 (N.D.Ill. 2013), the court found that a court clerk’s employee had not suffered any materially adverse employment action. Therefore, there was no case of retaliation under Title VII. The employee had failed to provide any evidence other than her EEOC charge to support her allegation that her request for cross-training was denied. Because the employee failed to prove in the first place that she was qualified for the promotion she sought, the denial of her bid for promotion could not constitute an adverse employment action. Finally, the employee alleged in her complaint only that she was subjected to verbal abuse and harassment, but failed to provide any evidence of such actions.
Return to Issues Menu

 

SEX HARASSMENT MAY NOT SUPPORT CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE

In Glemser v. Sugar Creek Realty, LLC., 2013 WL 4811228 (C.D.Ill 2013), a female employee quit her job without ever contacting or arranging a conference with her employer’s President, as provided in the employer’s sexual harassment policy. The employer was not able to investigate the employee’s claims that she was sexually harassed by her female supervisor and subsequently the employer could not take corrective action. Therefore, the court found there was no basis for employer liability on the employee’s hostile work environment claim under Title VII which the employee claimed required her to quit her job. The alleging harassing behavior, which occurred during a birthday party, included requiring the employee to try on underwear in front of her female supervisor, having a picture taken in the underwear, being forced to watch others parade around the workplace in underwear and viewing sexual activity. The court found, however, that this conduct did not meet the high threshold needed to support a constructive discharge claim under Title VII. In effect, constructive discharge occurs when an employer makes an employee’s working conditions so difficult or unpleasant that a reasonable person in the employee’s shoes would have felt compelled to resign. The court found that was not the case in Glemser.
Return to Issues Menu

This Employment Bulletin is intended to provide information of general interest and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should consult with their counsel before taking any action based on the information in this publication. All rights reserved. Copyright 2013, McKenna Storer. 

Categories Employment Bulletin Publications



Here to help with whatever your legal issues may be, schedule your no-obligation consultation or Simply Call us at.
Chicago: (312) 558-3900 or Woodstock: (815) 334-9694

Please do not send confidential information via email. The sending of information by you, and the receipt of it by McKenna Storer, is not intended to, and does not create a lawyer-client relationship.

Privacy Policy | Sitemap © 2019 McKenna Storer
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons