Plaintiff, a fired bridge crew member in Southern Illinois, wins the opportunity to try his claims of ADA regarded-as disability discrimination and retaliation against IDOT. Plaintiff claims that the agency believed him to be substantially limited in the major life activity of work, owing to his acrophobia, and that he was fired after complaining about being given dangerous duty beyond his limitations.
On a Friday afternoon, the Fourth Circuit in an unpublished decision dispenses some quick justice for a Title VII retaliation plaintiff -- with an assist from the appellate division of the EEOC -- holding that the complaint-filing stage is too early to decide whether a plaintiff can prove causation between a protected activity (here, complaining to management about sex harassment) and an adverse action (the company allegedly refusing to rehire her two years later).
A split jury verdict, of a kind now common in Title VII cases, is affirmed in full (in a non-precedential decision) by a 2-1 panel of the Tenth Circuit. The jury rejected the employee's gender discrimination claim, while awarding her $3 million in compensatory damages on her retaliation claim. The district court capped the award at $300,000, as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(b)(3), but added $89,877 in back pay, and the Tenth Circuit remands for an award of attorneys' fees.