It's surprising that the district courts continue to get this wrong: the Tenth Circuit reverses summary judgment in an ADA case because the judge erroneously held that the plaintiff needed expert testimony to prove that she was disabled with a back injury.
A nurse is fired, supposedly for clinical errors, but an email is circulated to staff saying that she was fired because she "has been having major issues with her eyesight and as of late, it has seemed to be getting even worse." The Sixth Circuit finds that the email and other evidence present a triable case of regarded-as disability discrimination under the ADA.
The Eighth Circuit reminds employers that even where a disabled employee requests an accommodation that is deemed unreasonable, they are still obliged to engage in an interactive process to see if any other accommodation might work.
The Second Circuit holds that even though the plaintiff (in an ADA associational discrimination case) also plead the employer's supposedly "legitimate, non-discriminatory" reasons for termination in his complaint, the district court erred in weighing them while deciding a motion to dismiss.
Although it is a commonplace that employers do not violate Title VII simply by shortcutting their own internal disciplinary systems, that is not necessarily the case if the disciplinary proceeding itself is motivated in part by gender or racial stereotypes. Today, the Second Circuit holds that a coach stated a plausible claim that his employer relied on "invidious stereotypes and credit[ed] malicious accusations" while investigating a Title IX harassment complaint filed against him by a student.
The D.C. Circuit remands a summary judgment in a Title VII case, holding that the district court erred in not allowing the plaintiff to get discovery on whether "white . . . or male employees, were disciplined less severely for the sort of behavior for which Cruz was disciplined."
Here's a terse reminder that when an employer's supposedly "legitimate, non-discriminatory" reason for an adverse action is utterly contradicted by the undisputed timeline, then summary judgment most likely ought to be denied.
AOC in employment-law news: the Architect of the Capitol loses two Title VII appeals in the past week, both cases involving claims of denial of promotions due to national origin. Both shared the detail that supervisors allegedly mocked the plaintiffs because of their accents.
A regular theme on this blog is for lawyers to keep an eye on remedies at all times. A pair of non-precedential Eleventh Circuit cases arising from the same trial illustrate the point. In the first, a fully-tried Title VII sex harassment case ends with a liability verdict against the employer, but with $0 in damages. Yet creative lawyering saves the day, preserving prevailing-party status by obtaining a reformation of the employee's personnel file. In the second, the panel remands for reconsideration of attorney's fees in light of an unaccepted Rule 68 offer of judgment.
Here's a cautionary tale from the Sixth Circuit about disabilities discrimination: just because an employee is medically restricted in some aspect of their job does not automatically translate into a covered "disability" for purposes of the ADA. The court affirms summary judgment here, holding that the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADAAA") - while it liberalized other parts of the statute - did not change the definition of "working" as a "major life activity."