Articles Posted in Retaliation

When someone files an Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuit based on an alleged act of race, color, gender, or religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17, he or she must be able to establish that the defendant employer discriminated against him or her in the terms and conditions of his or her employment and that the plaintiff’s race, color, religion, or sex was a motivating factor in the defendant’s decision(s) concerning the plaintiff’s employment.

Motions for summary judgment are often filed by the defendant in employment discrimination lawsuits. If summary judgment is granted, all or part of the plaintiff’s claims are dismissed. If the motion is denied, the plaintiff’s case proceeds toward trial.

Facts of the Case

In a recent federal case, the plaintiff was a 56-year-old, dark-skinned, black Christian male who alleged that he had been the victim of unlawful employment discrimination and that he had been retaliated against for complaining about this unlawful discrimination. He filed suit against the defendant employer in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Columbus Department, seeking legal redress for the defendant’s failure to pay him for three day of work that he missed while he was on jury duty even though it paid a black woman for her time on jury duty; his supervisor’s failure to grant him religious accommodations on Sundays; certain “negative comments” by his supervisor following his complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and his termination the following month.

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In an Atlanta race discrimination lawsuit, the initial burden of proving wrongful conduct – such as a termination allegedly based on race or color – rests on the plaintiff.

If the plaintiff makes an acceptable showing of discrimination, the defendant is then given an opportunity to argue that the plaintiff’s termination (or other adverse employment action) was based on a legitimate reason rather than on the employee’s race, color, gender, age, etc.

When an employer offers what appears to be a legitimate reason for its conduct towards the employee, the burden then shifts back to the employee to show that the employer’s purported reason for its action was merely pretextual.

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In an Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuit, a plaintiff may have several potential claims. Some of these may be claims under federal law, and some may be state law claims. In some situations, the defendants may include both a corporate or government employer and one or more individuals.

It is not unusual for some or all of the defendants in an employment discrimination or retaliation case to seek dismissal of the claims pending them prior to trial. It is up to the trial court to determine which claims are viable if such a motion is filed.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a civilian employee of the United States Army. In his suit against the Secretary of the Army, his former supervisor, and the deputy garrison commander, the plaintiff alleged that he had been subjected to unlawful employment discrimination due to his gender, age, national origin, and disabilities and that he had been retaliated against due to his complaints of unlawful discrimination. He sought legal redress under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e – 2000e17; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 – 12117;  the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 – 634; and Georgia state law.
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In an Atlanta employment discrimination case, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff. In order to succeed at trial, the plaintiff must be able to prove each and every element of his or her case. Of course, the defendant in such a case is often quick to seek dismissal of the plaintiff’s lawsuit, sometimes before the discovery process has even begun. In some situations, dismissal of a particular complaint is warranted, but, more often, it is not.

Facts of the Case

In a recent employment discrimination case filed in federal court, the plaintiff was an African-American woman who began working for the defendant college in 2017. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, she was bullied at work and subjected to a hostile work environment. Approximately six weeks after she began her employment, the defendant terminated the plaintiff, allegedly verbally telling her that she was “just not a good fit” and then mailing her a letter stating that her discharge was due to her “failure to perform job duties as assigned.”

Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, asserting claims of race discrimination, retaliation, bullying, and harassment by a co-worker. Presumably after that proceeding had been completed, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant in federal court, asserting similar claims. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint.
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An Atlanta employment lawsuit can arise from an employer’s alleged violation of several different state and federal laws, including both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act.

However, it should be pointed out that the plaintiff has the burden of proving each and every element of his or her case, which can sometimes be a difficult task.

Of course, each case is decided upon its own merits, so the fact that the plaintiff in a particular case was unsuccessful in his or her quest for legal redress should not discourage a would-be litigant from asserting his or her own legal rights in a separate suit.

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A recent employment law ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has created quite a bit of buzz among legal observers. In that case, the Ninth Circuit decided that the Fair Labor Standards Act’s prohibitions against retaliation were broad enough to allow a dairy worker to sue his employer’s outside attorney for contacting immigration enforcement and notifying them about the employee’s undocumented status.

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A considerable variety of employment law cases, especially when the employee’s claims relate to discrimination or retaliation, can succeed or fail based upon which side (employee or employer) presents a stronger case about whether the employer’s adverse action was legitimate or merely a pretext for engaging in illegal conduct. Many times, this may boil down to other employees working for the same employer and whether or not they qualify as “similarly situated” in relation to the employee who has sued. The case of a nurse from Florida allegedly fired for sleeping on the job offers a real-life example of this.

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