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August 2013 Archives

Johnson v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., No. 12-2129 (8th Cir. Aug. 26, 2013)

summary judgment motions and appeals in employment discrimination cases often ask, at their core, whether a jury should be empanelled to weigh conflicting evidence (and inferences) and decide whether a supervisor involved in a termination decision harbored a biased motive. Here, where a fired 76-year-old security guard presented evidence that his supervisor told him that he "needed to hang up his Superman cape" and was "too old to be working," at least two of the three judges thought that a jury should decide that question.

Smith v. Clark County school Dist., No. 11-17398 (9th Cir. Aug. 25, 2013)

Employees with disabilities are sometimes caught between the desire to work and the need to apply for public or short-term disability benefits for survival purposes. The Ninth Circuit does a good job in explaining how these are not necessarily in conflict, reversing summary judgment in an Americans with Disabilities Act case where a school teacher had to apply for disability retirement.

NYPD Settles Pension Class Action in Favor of Active Military Service Employees

The NYPD has entered into a class-wide settlement of claims by officers who performed active military service during their employment with the NYPD. The officers alleged that the NYPD's method of calculating pension contributions for the period in which they were on military leave short-changed them in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

Morgan v. SVT, LLC, No. 12-3589 (7th Cir. Aug. 1, 2013)

I think we have the right sign for the Seventh Circuit this week. The same day that the court interred the rule against using an employee's "self-serving" testimony to resist summary judgment in employment-discrimination cases, another panel of the same court helps correct a lingering misunderstanding about what it means for an employee to use a "mosaic" of circumstantial evidence under Title VII - and also backs off a bit from a strict direct/indirect framework of proof enforced by that circuit. Such cases may help district courts reach more sensible decisions at the summary judgment stage.

Hill v. Tangherlini, No. 12-3447 (7th Cir. Aug. 1, 2013)

The Seventh Circuit announces that it is overruling language in employment-discrimination cases going back over twenty years, and reminding courts that an employee's own testimony is, if otherwise relevant, admissible to resist summary judgment. Such testimony will no longer be excluded as "self serving."

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