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Posts tagged "6th Circuit"

Deschamps v. Bridgestone Americas, No. 15-6112 (6th Cir. Oct. 19, 2016)

An employer that deliberately, or with gross negligence, misinforms employees about potential retirement benefits - inducing them to remain with the company - may find itself on the hook to compensate those employees for lost opportunities. In this case, the Sixth Circuit affirms an ERISA judgment against a manufacturer and its retirement plan for equitable estoppel, breach of fiduciary duty, and an anti-cutback violation of ERISA.

Smith v. LexisNexis Screening Solutions, No. 15-2329 (6th Cir. Sept. 13, 2016)

The Sixth Circuit reviews and affirms a $75,000 jury verdict for a job applicant whose employment background check was negligently performed, but vacates an award for punitive damages, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The case involves a scenario where an applicant's common first and last names triggered a false criminal report.

Szeinbach v. The Ohio State Univ., No. 15-3016 (6th Cir. Apr. 20, 2016)

The Sixth Circuit holds, in an opinion that potentially expands remedies for Title VII claimants, that a back-pay award may include amounts that an employee could have earned from alternative employment, had the employer not engaged in discrimination or retaliation. Nonetheless, the court holds that the employee in this particular case failed to prove that she suffered such damages.

Smith v. Rock-Tenn Services, Inc., No. 15-5534 (6th Cir. Feb. 10, 2016)

The Sixth Circuit affirms a $300,000 judgment for the male victim of same-sex harassment under Title VII. The panel underscores the imperative for employers to be vigilant against complaints of sexual contact, even when the conduct (in a male-dominated workplace) might be characterized by some as "horseplay."

Howe v. City of Akron, No. 14-3352 (6th Cir. Sept. 17, 2015)

A long-running disparate impact case challenging promotions of firefighters to the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain is remanded by the Sixth Circuit for a third trial to award back pay, and the panel reassigns the case to a new judge for good measure. The panel has valuable things to say about how to calculate monetary make-whole relief. It also affirms injunctive relief, and appointment of a monitor, to purge the city's violation.

Yazdian v. ConMed Endoscopic Tech., Inc., No. 14-3745 (6th Cir. July 14, 2015)

How much credence must a district court give to an employer's argument in a Title VII retaliation case that the employee was terminated not for his protected activity, but because of his tone of voice, insubordination and "unprofessional behavior" in making his complaints. The Sixth Circuit reverses summary judgment (in part), holding that such generalized reasons so closely related to a protected activity cannot be resolved by a judge and must be evaluated by a jury.

Rhinehimer v. U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc., No. 13-6641 (6th Cir. May 28, 2015)

Upholding a jury verdict in favor of a former U.S. Bancorp certified financial planner, the Sixth Circuit adopts the majority rule under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) that - for a retaliation claim - employees need only show that that they had an objectively reasonable belief, based on a totality of the circumstances, that they were reporting actionable fraud to a supervisor under § 1514A(a)(1). The panel rejects a standard, previously adopted in a nonprecedential opinion, that the employee's complaint "must definitively and specifically relate to one of the six enumerated categories" of fraud by "approximat[ing] the basic elements" of the fraud claim.

Wheat v. Fifth Third Bank, No. 13-4199 (6th Cir. May 7, 2015)

When two employees fight, employers face the challenge of making the discipline fit the crime - and, also, avoiding racial or other bias. The Sixth Circuit calls out management in one such case today, concerning a black plaintifff fired supposedly for engaging in a fight, while the white employee in the same fight was disciplined only belatedly.

EEOC v. New Breed Logistics, No. 13-6250 (6th Cir. Apr. 22, 2015)

The Sixth Circuit chalks up a big win for the EEOC, affirming a jury verdict for four employees awarding compensatory and punitive damages totaling over $1.5 million. The court upholds the rule that telling a sexually-harassing supervisor to cut-it-out is protected "opposition" activity under Title VII, and will support a claim for retaliation. The opinion also highlights the kind of trouble employers can get into when they fail to treat temporary employees as a full-fledged part of the workforce.

Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance, No. 13-1774 (6th Cir. Aug. 19, 2014)

So far, there has been relatively little case law on the question of when, under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer's medical examination may be deemed job-related and consistent with business necessity under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(4)(A). The Sixth Circuit - nearly two years to the day after its first opinion in this long-running case - remands the claim a second time for a jury trial on this issue.

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