Maryland Volunteer Firefighter Can Sue Fire Department For Retaliation

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

maryland_firefighter_badgeIn Williams v. Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department, the U.S. District Court in Maryland denied a Fire Department’s motion for summary judgment against a volunteer firefighter claiming that the Department retaliated against her for engaging in protected speech. Specifically, the volunteer firefighter alleged that one of her supervisors publicly berated her for filing a sexual harassment charge against him with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and that this public humiliation violated Title VII. Although the Department argued that the volunteer firefighter did not suffer any “adverse employment actions” within the meaning of Title VII, the Court determined that the public shaming was sufficient to constitute an adverse action because it might dissuade an employee from exercising her Title VII rights.

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Corrections Officer Could Bring Claim For Violation Of ADA When Wrongfully Demoted Because Of His Disability

By Reba Weiss & Harrison Owens

demotion 2In Allen v. Baltimore County, a Maryland District Court allowed a corrections officer to continue with his claim for disability discrimination under the ADA against his employer.  In his complaint, the officer claimed that his employer had caused him to sign a demotion agreement and terminated him because he suffered from an inflammatory disease.  The District Court found that the officer could have performed his job if his employer had accommodated his disability, such as by allowing him time to take his medication or giving him light duty.

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Alabama Sheriff’s Office Defeats Lawsuit for Hostile Work Environment by Promptly Responding to Harassment Complaints

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

speak upIn Swindle v. Jefferson County Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit determined that a female former employee of Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (in Alabama) failed to establish a claim for hostile work environment sexual harassment. The employee sued the County after numerous incidents of alleged sexual harassment. However, the Court determined that the employee failed to establish her claim for a hostile work environment because the County showed that it had exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct harassing behavior and the employee allowed too much time to pass before bringing her claim.

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Florida Female Firefighter Prevails in Lawsuit Against City for Gender-Based Discrimination

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

no-girls-allowed2In Smith v. City of New Smyrna Beach, a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a jury decision awarding a former female firefighter a total of $444,000 in damages for the gender-based discrimination she suffered from the city of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The female firefighter sued the City for creating a hostile work environment and wrongfully terminating her. At trial, the jury agreed with all of her claims, resulting in the substantial award. Although the City appealed the verdict, the Court of Appeals affirmed the results of the trial, including the substantial monetary award and the female’s reinstatement as a firefighter.

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Qualified Immunity Protects Connecticut Police Chief from Claim that His Actions Created A Hostile Work Environment for Women

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

see hear speak 2In Raspardo v. Carlone, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that qualified immunity protected a Connecticut police chief from claims that his actions and supervision of the city police department created a hostile work environment for women. Three female police officers, two former and one current, sued their police chief, claiming that he failed to properly supervise or investigate the conduct of subordinate police officers who allegedly sexually harassed them. The Court held that qualified immunity protected the police chief from the claim because the female officers could not show that his own actions were sufficient to create a hostile work environment nor that he was grossly negligent in supervising his subordinate officers.

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Court Bailiff Sues City for Failing to Accommodate a Shoulder Injury that Allegedly Prevented Him from Firearm Qualification

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

disability issuesIn Michael v. City of Troy Police Dep’t, a U.S. District Court dismissed a lawsuit for disability discrimination brought by a former police officer against the City of Troy, Michigan. In his lawsuit, the Officer claimed that the police department wrongly believed he was disabled and then placed him on unpaid leave based on that belief. He also claimed that the City failed to provide any reasonable accommodations for what it perceived to be a disability before placing him on leave. The Court determined that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the Officer was not entitled to a reasonable accommodation and, even if he was, the City had legitimate reasons for denying those accommodations to the Officer.

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Former New York Correctional Officer Can Bring Disability Discrimination Claim to Trial

By Reba Weiss and Brennen Johnson

Disability-Discrimination-120x120In Sherman v. County of Suffolk, a U.S. District Court determined that a former correctional officer presented legitimate allegations that the County of Suffolk, New York, discriminated against him based on his disability. In his lawsuit, the former officer alleged that the County discriminated against him based on a leg injury he sustained during training as a recruit. The County then filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence to prove that discrimination was the reason that the former officer lost his job. Although the County convinced the Court that no medical evidence could support an inference that the Officer actually suffered from a disability, the Court concluded that reliable evidence suggested that the County still perceived him as disabled and fired him because of that perception.

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Idaho Department of Corrections Found Not Liable for Sexual Assault Occurring Outside the Workplace

Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

factsIn Fuller v. Idaho Department of Corrections, a U.S. District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC), finding that it did not violate the rights of a former corrections officer. The female officer sued the IDOC, alleging sexual harassment and discrimination. Although the officer was assaulted and raped by a coworker, the IDOC was not liable when the assaults arose from the employees’ relationship outside the workplace and, upon learning of the incidents, the IDOC immediately began investigating the coworker, barred him from the premises, and ultimately recommended his termination.

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Police Officer Makes Plausible Claim That City Retaliated After He Won A Reverse Discrimination Case

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

corrupt mayorIn Smith v. City of Inkster, a U.S. District Court determined that a police officer stated a plausible claim against the City of Inkster, Michigan, and its Mayor and allowed the lawsuit to proceed to trial. In his lawsuit, the Officer claimed that the City retaliated against him by denying his application for disability benefits after he filed a lawsuit. After the City moved for a judgment against the Officer’s lawsuit before trial, the Court determined that the Officer had presented direct evidence supporting his claims and that he deserved to present his case at trial.

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Inexplicable Flip-Flop: Park Ranger Gender Discrimination and Retaliation Charges Proper for Trial when Female Supervisor Decided to Fire Her Two Weeks after Her Sexual Harassment Complaint against Male Supervisor

By Mitchell Riese and Mitchel Wilson

flipIn Vicino v. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland denied the defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment because the plaintiff park ranger had sufficiently alleged sexual discrimination. The Court determined that material facts for a jury existed and that summary judgment was improper.

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