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Court Cases in the News

A state-by-state review of court cases pertaining to workplace rights.

Select your state from the map below or from this list. (If your state does not have any court cases, then the page will not scroll down when you click on the state.)

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EEOC Serves Lawsuit to Restaurant for Firing Pregnant Worker

Source: Occupational Health & Safety , Occupational Health & Safety
Date: April 13, 2009

A Clearfield, Utah-based Japanese restaurant violated federal law by firing a server because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.

Getting Sac-ed

Source: Jamie Gadette, Salt Lake City Weekly
Date: February 10, 2005

When Daniel Alix went barhopping in Tijuana, Mexico, last April, his only concern was avoiding a hellish hangover. Soon thereafter, Alix was fired from his job as a logistics manager, he alleges, for his indulgence on vacation. Now Alix is suing LoveSac for religious discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Salt Lake County man, allegedly singled out for not being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last November. Alix's allegations of company bias in favor of the predominant religion are grounded in more than one night spent boozing it up down south, he said.

USU Settles Lawsuit with Female Job Applicant Who Claimed Bias

Source: Arrin Newton Brunson, Salt Lake Tribune
Date: May 9, 2004

Utah State University officials have agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by a job applicant who said she was passed over because she is a woman. The suit was filed last year in U.S. District Court by Sandra Houston, chairwoman and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Arizona State University. The $25,000 settlement, which will be paid out of the Utah Risk Management Fund, represents a substantial savings for USU, according to spokesman John DeVilbiss. "If we had gone to trial, it would have cost many, many more thousands above that. "Our settling is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing," he said. Houston alleged that she was not hired as dean of the USU College of Engineering because some USU administrators were upset with the recent hiring of two other female deans. Instead, according to Houston's lawsuit, the USU hired an unqualified man.

Restaurant Chain Settles Harassment Suit

Source: 4 Utah (ABC News)
Date: March 29, 2004

Two restaurant companies have settled a class-action lawsuit filed by female workers who claimed they were physically assaulted by managers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Monday. The EEOC said JB's Family Restaurants Inc. and Summit Family Restaurants Inc. will pay more than $435,000 to 12 women, give them written apologies and offer them jobs.

Women Sue SLCC, Claim Bias

Source: Shinika A. Sykes, Salt Lake Tribune
Date: February 11, 2004

A current Salt Lake Community College employee and a former employee have filed a joint lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging employment discrimination and civil-rights violations by the college. In the lawsuit filed Friday, SLCC employee Christine Martin and Nancy Grissetti, who resigned in December, said they endured retaliation for reporting that SLCC was "wasting or otherwise misappropriating" state funds restricted for employee-training programs. Their complaints, beginning in December 2002, were "repeatedly ignored," according to the lawsuit. Grissetti and Martin say their work environment changed in February 2003 when the state Board of Regents investigated their claims. The plaintiffs worked at SLCC's Larry H. Miller campus in Sandy. In December, State Auditor Auston Johnson found that some Small Business Development Center employees at the Miller campus had used their positions for personal gain.

Justices Weigh Case of Pair Fired for Gun Handling

Source: Bob Mims, Salt Lake Tribune
Date: February 3, 2004

Do an employer's property rights trump the constitutional right to bear arms when it comes to workers transferring guns between their vehicles in a publicly accessible parking lot? That question and others related to the September 2000 firing of three America Online Inc. employees in Ogden were taken under advisement by the Utah Supreme Court following oral arguments Monday. At issue is an appeal by former AOL employees Paul Carlson, Luke Hansen and Jason Melling to a 2nd District Court ruling that upheld their terminations for violating company policy against possession of firearms on AOL's property. The three had sued AOL, claiming their dismissals were improper because the company's anti-weapons policy, in application to the parking lot, violated gun-possession rights guaranteed by the Utah Constitution.

Ex-Worker Sues SLCC, Claims Bias

Source: Pamela Manson , Salt Lake Tribune
Date: December 3, 2003

In his position as equal employment opportunity director at Salt Lake Community College, Clyde Johnson Jr. investigated allegations of discrimination and harassment brought against the school. Now, he is on the other end of a complaint. Johnson has filed a federal lawsuit against SLCC claiming that he was harassed and retaliated against for refusing to change a report that supported a college employee's discrimination complaint. He was treated differently after his refusal, he claims. "He was treated as an outcast, and he felt he was being treated as the enemy within," according to the suit, which accuses the school of discrimination, retaliation and conspiracy to obstruct justice. In addition to claiming retaliation, the suit says Johnson, who is black and non-Mormon, was harassed and intimidated based on race and religion. The harassment was so bad he resigned last spring, a situation that Johnson says was the same as being fired. His suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court, seeks unspecified damages.

Suit Alleges Discrimination at The Canyons

Source: Christopher Smart, Salt Lake Tribune
Date: November 15, 2003

It's an open secret that undocumented workers provide the muscle and sweat that keep many Park City-area businesses humming. But now a former manager of The Canyons has alleged that ski resort officials there went so far as to recruit undocumented workers and, once they were in the workplace, discriminated against them. In a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court for Utah, Mario E. Escobar contends he was fired after three years as director of housekeeping at The Canyons because he continued to warn his supervisors that they were illegally hiring Latino workers who did not have proper immigration documents. In an interview, Escobar said The Canyons sought out undocumented workers. Of about 120 maids, janitors and laundry workers at the Resort Village, Sundial Lodge and Grand Summit Hotel, only about 10 had proper immigration papers, Escobar said. "They recruit them, knowing they can do anything they want with them," he said.

Court Finds No Discrimination in Firing of Park Service Employee

Source: Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune
Date: October 27, 2003

Allan T. Cummings said he had a college degree, a Purple Heart and a clean record. None of that was true. The misrepresentations led to his firing from his job with the National Park Service at Arches National Park in eastern Utah. And Cummings lost his wrongful termination suit when a federal judge rejected his argument that he was discriminated against based on his disabilities of alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder. U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell disagreed with the contention that the Park Service knew Cummings had memory problems based on his military service in Vietnam and on a conversation with one of its rangers about blackouts he had suffered since the war. Cassell ruled that the agency had not violated laws prohibiting discrimination against employees with disabilities.

Ex-Deputy Again Loses Employment Lawsuit

Source: Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune
Date: September 30, 2003

A former Tooele County sheriff's deputy, who got another turn at bat to argue that his constitutional rights were violated when state officials spread damaging information about him, has struck out again. A federal judge has ruled that employees of the Utah Department of Public Safety's Peace Officer Standards and Training Division (POST) are shielded from a suit by Mike Steven Stidham, who claimed that he couldn't find a new job because prospective employers received unsavory and false information from the agency. Judge Paul Cassell of U.S. District Court ruled that the employees cannot be sued for performing their duties unless their conduct violated clearly established rights. Stidham claimed that sharing negative information about him effectively revoked his certification as a peace officer.

Worker Alleges Age Discrimination at Washington Mutual Finance

Source: Bob Mims, Salt Lake Tribune
Date: August 19, 2003

For 14 years, Washington Mutual Finance Inc. consistently ranked Donald R. Lechner as an excellent employee. Lechner, however, says that changed when he took issue with what he calls the company's "predatory" lending practices. In his U.S. District Court age discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit filed late last week, Lechner, of Bountiful, says his career was derailed after he confronted a supervisor for allegedly pushing loans detrimental to customers and against company policy.

Court Reinstates Ex-Utahn's Bias Suit Against AOL

Source: Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune
Date: August 1, 2003

An appeals court has given the green light to a lawsuit filed by a deaf man who claims America Online discriminated against him when it refused to hire him for a customer service position in Ogden. In a 3-0 opinion, a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a suit by former Utah resident George M. Davidson, who claims that an AOL policy requiring its "customer care consultants" to first gain experience dealing with callers by voice phone before being switched to nonphone positions illegally discriminates against hearing-impaired individuals. The 10th Circuit ruling takes no position on whether there was discrimination but reverses a decision throwing out Davidson's suit and sends the case back to U.S. District Court for a trial. "AOL's requirement of voice phone experience for nonvoice phone positions may or may not be justified as job-related or a business necessity, but that is a question for a jury to answer with all the available evidence before it," the 10th Circuit opinion, which was handed down Wednesday, says.

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