News from DeWitt Law

SIXTH CIRCUIT FINDS THAT EMPLOYER FAILED TO PROVE THAT FULL-TIME WORK WAS AN ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTION

In Hostettler v. The College of Wooster, 895 F.3d 844 (6th Cir. 2018), the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined, among other things, that the district court had used the wrong standard in determining whether an ADA plaintiff, who had been terminated, had pleaded a prima facie case and whether full-time work was an essential function of the job, when it granted summary judgment to the defendant. Heidi Read More

IDAHO SUPREME COURT ALLOWS PLAINTIFF TO PIERCE THE CORPORATE VEIL AND HOLD A NON-SHAREHOLDER LIABLE FOR CORPORATE DEBTS

One of the most important reasons for businesses to incorporate is to shield individual shareholders from being held liable for the business’s debts. However, the importance for small businesses to keep the business’s “life” separate from the personal lives of the owners was driven home in a recent Idaho employment case that allowed the veil to be pierced not only to reach a shareholder but a non-shareholder spouse Read More

COMPANY PRESIDENT’S DIMINISHED CAPACITY TO PERFORM SOME OF HIS DUTIES DOES NOT QUALIFY HIM FOR TOTAL DISABILITY BENEFITS

In Fiorentini v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, No. 17-3137, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16741 (7th Cir. June 21, 2018), the Seventh Circuit determined that a business owner that had once been receiving total disability benefits but had since returned to work was not eligible for continued total disability benefits despite his argument that he was not able to perform all his job duties because he was unable to what it Read More

EIGHTH CIRCUIT HOLDS “ELABORATING” ON REASONS FOR FIRING EMPLOYEES NOT EVIDENCE OF PRETEXT IN BIAS SUITS

In Rooney v. Rock-Tenn Converting Company, No. 16-3631, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 494 (8th Cir. Jan. 9, 2018), the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently clarified that when explaining its reasons for termination during litigation under the McDonnell-Douglas burden-shifting framework, an employer may elaborate on its previously stated reasons and opined: “evidence of a substantial shift in an employer’s explanation Read More

THIRD CIRCUIT SAYS NO SECTION 1983 CLAIM UNDER ADA OR TITLE VII

In Williams v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, No. 16-4383. 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16618 (3rd Cir. Aug. 30, 2017), the Third Circuit joined all the other circuits that have visited the issue and ruled that alleged violations of Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), cannot be brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on Congress’s “comprehensive enforcement scheme” inherent to both Title VII and Read More

USE OF MEDICINAL MARIJUANA NOT A FACIALLY UNREASONABLE ACCOMMODATION UNDER MASSACHUSETTS EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LAW

In a case that may be a precursor of things to come across the country as more and more states “legalize” the medicinal use of marijuana, in a July 17, 2017 decision in Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC, SJC 12226, 2017 Mass. LEXIS 504 (July 17, 2017) the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court determined that a plaintiff medical marijuana user had a cause of action for handicap discrimination under a Read More

TEMPORARY WORKER NOT ENTITLED TO LEAVE AS A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

The Tenth Circuit recently addressed whether an employer had failed to make a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., (“ADA”) regarding a temporary worker’s request for time off as a reasonable accommodation and although it affirmed the Colorado District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, it held that the McDonnell Read More

POSTING JOB OPPORTUNITY ON LINKEDIN PROFILE FOR NEW EMPLOYER DID NOT VIOLATE NON-COMPETE

A fact of life in modern business is an employee’s use of social media, or, in some cases, a former employee’s use of social media, and how it fits in with any post-employment restrictions to which they may be subject. In Bankers Life and Casualty Co. v. American Senior Benefits LLC, 2017 IL App (1st) 160687- U (June 26, 2017), the Illinois Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a former employee’s Read More

NO EVIDENCE OF AGE BIAS WHEN JOB WAS ELIMINATED AS PART OF REDUCTION IN FORCE

The Fifth Circuit, in Lay v. Singing River Health System, No. 16-60431, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10758 (5th Cir. June 19, 2017), recently upheld the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant employer in an age-discrimination case because it agreed with the lower court that the plaintiff had failed to raise a material issue of fact that her termination, which was part of a reduction in force, Read More

FOURTH CIRCUIT HOLDS NO TITLE VII RETALIATION CLAIM WHEN EMPLOYER FIRES AN EMPLOYEE ON MISTAKEN BELIEF THE EMPLOYEE LIED ABOUT POTENTIAL TITLE VII CLAIM

Employers investigating Title VII discrimination claims should take some comfort, based on a recent Fourth Circuit case, that if they terminate an employee for making a false claim after a good-faith investigation, they will likely not be held liable for a Title VII retaliation claim if the claim later proves to be valid. In Villa v. Cavamezze Grill, LLC, No. 15-2543, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10112 (4th Cir. June 7, Read More