Summary Judgment Hiring & Firing

News & Analysis as of

Causation Counts: Strategic Use of Summary Judgment Post-Spokeo

Early scorecards in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo Inc. v. Robins all note high marks in the plaintiffs’ column, especially at the motion to dismiss stage. Emboldened by these decisions,...more

EMTALA Anti-Retaliation Rule Narrower Than You Might Think

Regional Care Hospital fired Marie Gillispie because she was outspoken in telling hospital management that it was required to report an incident of patient dumping and had violated EMTALA by failing to do so. At least that’s...more

Finally! Something That's Not "Protected Activity" in California

It turns out that “protected activity” sufficient to make out a retaliation claim in California is not as broad as it may sometimes seem. On November 9, 2016, the Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment for the employer in...more

Employers May Need To Offer Accomodations To Job Applicants And EMPLOYEES Even If They Do Not Ask For An Accomodation

Most employers maintain either formal or informal grooming and appearance policies. These policies address the employee’s personal appearance while at work including hairstyle, jewelry, tattoos, piercings, head coverings and...more

Did You Know…SCOTUS Ruling on Personnel Decision based upon Perceived Political Affiliation Impacts Public Employers

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on a matter involving “perceived affiliation”, bringing clarity to the matter, where the circuits provided discordant rulings. As a result, personnel actions based upon even mistaken...more

E.D. Pennsylvania Limits Protected Activity Under SOX

In Westawski v. Merck & Co., No. 14-cv-3239 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 18, 2016), the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Defendant Merck & Co. (Company) summary judgment on Plaintiff Joni Westawski’s (Plaintiff) SOX whistleblower...more

Seventh Circuit Issues Ruling Interpreting False Claim Act Whistleblower Amendments

The Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision interpreting the anti-retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA). The decision provides important clarifications about how courts may interpret recent amendments to...more

Fifth Circuit Flips Grant Of Summary Judgment Against EEOC in ADA Case

Seyfarth Synopsis: In an ADA action regarding disability discrimination, the Fifth Circuit reversed a District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer and against the EEOC, noting that even though the...more

Minnesota Employer Had No Duty to Find New Position for Older Worker, Eighth Circuit Holds

A 63-year-old employee, who had worked in an administrative capacity for her employer for 12 years, was told that her position had been eliminated due to a customer-commissioned audit of the company’s services and recommended...more

Kiss Your Retaliation Suit Hello: Company Faces Trial after Changing Explanation for Firing

When an employee brings a lawsuit alleging that his employer retaliated or discriminated against him, courts typically assess the claim by using a burden-shifting approach. Under this approach, after the employer offers a...more

Just What The Doctor Ordered: Court Denies The EEOC’s Motion For Summary Judgment In ADA Suit Regarding Employer’s Wellness...

Seyfarth Synopsis: After the EEOC brought an action under the Americans With Disabilities Act against an employer who implemented a wellness program requiring employees to take a health assessment to participate, the Court...more

Tenth Circuit Decision Shows How Employers Can Deal with Performance Problems Discovered with Employees on Leave

Employees on approved Family and Medical Leave are entitled to reinstatement upon return to the same or an equivalent position. Commonly, when the employee is absent on leave, the employer discovers work performance issues...more

A Rose by Any Other Name is Not as Sweet: When a Non-Solicit is Actually a Non-Compete

The Ontario Court of Appeal has held that the words “accept business”, in what the employer intended to be a non-solicitation clause, served to restrict competition and is therefore not merely a non-solicitation...more

Seventh Circuit to Plaintiffs: Here's Your Burden of Proof

Most employees who file employment discrimination claims hope for one of two things – a really sympathetic jury or an employer that is willing to generously settle the lawsuit to avoid the risks and uncertainties of trial. ...more

Ninth Circuit Issues Pro-Employer and Pro-Union Ruling Against Worker With a Long History of Harassing Comments

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants in a case involving the discharge of a union employee following his alleged...more

Seventh Circuit Clarifies Evidentiary Standard for Employment Discrimination Claims

In Ortiz v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit clarified its standard for evaluating evidence in employment discrimination cases and rejected prior decisions to the extent they...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19496 - Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities v. Echo Hose Ambulance - The issue of this case was whether or not an unpaid volunteer, in this case for an ambulance...more

Consistent Enforcement of Drug Policies Key to Avoiding Disparate Treatment Claims

Following termination stemming from a positive drug test for marijuana, a Native American female, appearing pro se, filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer, Mohave County’s Public Works Department. She alleged...more

Double Check those Bonus Plans!

The Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in the case of Paquette v. TeraGo Networks Inc. should have all employers running to double-check and possibly amend their bonus plans.  A further case released on the same day by the...more

Does New Jersey's Conscientious "Everyone" Protection Act Trump the NLRB's Exclusive Jurisdiction? State Supreme Court says "Yes"...

Executive Summary: Just when employers thought New Jersey's Supreme Court could not expand the state's whistleblower law further (as we reported last summer), the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) once again has...more

First Circuit Limits Inference of Pretext for FCA Retaliation Claims

On February 22, 2016, the First Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment for pharmaceutical maker GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”) on a False Claims Act retaliation claim by a former employee. In United States ex rel. Hamrick v....more

JSH Attorneys Conquer Employment Discrimination Case Against A Local County

Jones, Skelton & Hochuli attorneys Michele Molinario, Justin Ackerman, and Amelia Esber prevailed by summary judgment in an employment discrimination case against a local County, and various County employees. The case...more

California Federal Court Reminds Employers That They Must Carefully Navigate Disability Accommodation Process

The obligation to accommodate a disabled employee is an ongoing one; a doctor’s note may not be a prerequisite to engage in the interactive process – those are two important lessons that employers should take away from a...more

Cooperate or Terminate: Second Circuit Protects Companies that Terminate Employees for Failure to Cooperate with Investigations

On June 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the right of a company to terminate for cause executives who refuse to cooperate with an internal investigation and remain “silent” even with the specter of...more

Employer Policy Failure Precludes Summary Judgment on Discrimination Claim

Seyfarth Synopsis: California Court of Appeal reverses a summary judgment for an employer that failed to follow its own policy regarding layoffs. Moore v. Regents of the University of California serves as a reminder to...more

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