Pennsylvania District Court Finds Correctional Officer Who Violated Legitimate Rule Can Move Forward With Claim of Race Discrimination

credit-cardBy Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

In McWilliams v. Cmty. Educ. Ctrs., Inc., an African American correctional officer was terminated for violating a fraternization policy after he helped an inmate deposit money into his prison account. The officer alleged the termination was racially discriminatory and that the prison had allowed a hostile work environment. The U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania found that the officer had established a disparate treatment claim by alleging his punishment was not comparable to white officers who had broken the same rule and the office had established a hostile work environment claim by alleging black officers were subjected to pictures of nooses.

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Arbitrator Finds No Evidence To Prove Discrimination Of Federal Bureau of Prisons, When No Officer Corroborates Events

behind-barsBy Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

In Federal Bureau of Prisons, an arbitrator ruled that a corrections officer could not sustain his claim that the Federal Bureau of Prisons discriminated against him for being Hispanic. This finding was largely because none of his co-workers corroborated his story and thus there was no evidence to substantiate his claim.

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Virginia District Court Finds FBI Special Agents Were Not Discriminated Against After Being Called “Princesses” and “Prima Donnas”

tiaraBy: Sarah Burke and Mitchell Riese

In Cowley v. Lynch, four FBI special agents alleged that the FBI had created a hostile work environment, discriminated against them based on their sex in denying them transfers, and had retaliated against them by reorganizing their department in order to break up their “clique.” The FBI argued that the restructuring and transfer denials were due to legitimate department needs and that a hostile work environment had not been established. The district court agreed with the FBI, finding that stray comments made around the agents did not rise to the level of hostile work environment and that the reasons for the restructuring and transfer were legitimate.

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Michigan African-American Officer’s Racial Discrimination Claim Barred After He Was Terminated For Fraudulently Issuing Traffic Ticket

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Harrison Owens

RacialDiscriminationPaperDollsIn Burns v. City of Saginaw, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Michigan District Court’s dismissal of an African-American police officer’s claim for retaliation against his employer after he was terminated for issuing a fraudulent ticket.  In his complaint, the officer claimed that he had been terminated in retaliation for filing a complaint with the EEOC, and that the police chief of his Department, who is white, used a racial slur against him in relation to his EEOC complaint.  The Court dismissed his claim on summary judgment on the grounds that the officer’s EEOC complaint was actually filed following the citizen complaint relating to the fraudulent ticket, a white officer had similarly been terminated for filing a false accident report, and the police chief’s alleged racial slur was hearsay.

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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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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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Correctional Officer Fails to Find an Adequate Comparator to Support Racial Discrimination Claim

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Kasey Burton

Alabama_Department_of_CorrectionsIn Williams v. Ala. Dep’t of Corr., an Alabama District Court held that an African-American correctional officer failed to prove that he was terminated on the basis of race.  Even though the officer tried to show that the white officer was treated differently, the Court was not convinced the two officers were similarly situated.

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Deputy Sheriffs’ Retaliation Suit Claiming They Were Accused of Being Skinheads Dismissed

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Kasey Burton

false-reportsIn Cox v. Onondaga Cnty. Sheriff’s Dep’t, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of retaliation complaints by white Deputy Sheriffs (located in the state of New York).  Even though the Deputies had set forth a prima facie case of retaliation, the Sheriff’s Department was able to demonstrate non-retaliatory reasons for its actions.  The Deputies were unable to rebut the Department’s non-retaliatory explanations with evidence of pretext.

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Police Officer with Disciplinary Record Able to Sue for Harassment based on National Origin

By Kasey Burton

discriminating outsiderIn Morshed v County of Lake, the Court held that years of slurs and constant denigration were enough to allow Police Officer Morshed to pursue a national origin harassment claim even though he lost no pay or benefits.

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