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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Court Dismisses Female Police Officer’s Sex-Based Discrimination Lawsuit Against Florida Police Department For Failing To Provide A Suitable Female Changing Room

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

Sexual-Harassment-DefenseIn Melendez v. Town of Bay Harbor Islands, a U.S. District Court dismissed a female police officer’s lawsuit for sex-based discrimination against the Police Department of Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. The Officer brought the lawsuit claiming that the Police Department engaged in sex-based discrimination by failing to provide suitable changing areas for female employees. In a summary judgment proceeding, the Court explained that the Officer failed to allege facts sufficient to show that any actions taken by the Police Department were motivated by sex-based discrimination. Although the Officer failed on her sex-based discrimination claim, the Court explained that the Police Department might still be liable for creating a hostile work environment towards women.

[Read more…]

Can’t Cock his Glock: Career Officer Cannot Show Age Discrimination Where He Failed to Qualify with his Baton and Firearm

By Mitchell Riese and Mitchel Wilson

gun and batonIn Otto v. City of Newport, a former police officer alleged his employer discharged him because of his age, but the Eastern District of Kentucky granted the defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment because there “is no evidence that the Plaintiff was qualified for the position, and there is no direct evidence of the Defendant’s discriminatory intent.”

[Read more…]