Showing 14 posts in Sixth Circuit.

Spiritual Director Doesn't have a Prayer when it Comes to her Discrimination and Termination Claims

Religious employers can rejoice once again, as yet another court upholds the ministerial exception and dismisses an employee's discrimination and termination claims.

For those who are not familiar with this defense, the ministerial exception basically says that the government cannot step in and second-guess a religious entity's decision to hire and fire its ministerial employees. Doing so would potentially violate the First Amendment and would run afoul of the separation of church and state. This means that ministerial employees of religious employers cannot sue for things like discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or termination, because that would be asking the court, in essence, to decide whether the religious employer was right in doing what it did. More ›

Sixth Circuit: No Gender Bias in Wage Difference between Male and Female Counterparts

In this case, the employee began working with the auto parts manufacturer when she was a student. After she graduated, she was hired as a test engineer with the same starting salary as the other engineering graduates. More ›

Nurse Denied FLSA Claim for Failure to Follow Employer’s Policies

An emergency department nurse did not have regularly scheduled meal breaks given the nature of her position, but was permitted to take them as work demands allowed. The hospital’s employee handbook provided that employees were to receive unpaid meal periods, the time for which would be automatically deducted from their paycheck. Employees were instructed to report in an “exception log” any meal breaks which were missed or interrupted so that they could receive payment for that time worked. The nurse did report missed meal breaks from time to time, but did not always mark them in the exception log. Further, she did not report to human resources or supervisors that she was not being compensated for time spent working while she should have been on break. More ›

Employer Prevails Against FMLA Interference Claim but Sixth Circuit Declines to Apply Directly the “Honest Belief” Defense

A telephone repair technician employee diagnosed with severe back pain was terminated by his employer for allegedly fraudulently requesting leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The employee shortly thereafter sued claiming the employer interfered with his right to FMLA leave and terminated him in retaliation for requesting leave. The trial court granted the employer's motion for summary judgment on the basis of the "honest belief" defense and the appellate court affirmed. More ›

The Affordable Care Act’s Contraceptive Care Mandate Applies to Covered For-Profit Corporate Employers

On October 24, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, held that a for-profit natural foods corporation could not establish that it can exercise religion, and therefore could not use the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, (RFRA), as a vehicle to challenge the contraceptive care requirements created by the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods, Inc. v. Sebelius, No. 13-1677 (6th Cir. Oct. 24, 2013). In addition, the Sixth Circuit held that the plaintiff corporation's chairman, president and sole shareholder lacked standing to challenge the obligations solely imposed upon the corporate employer. The framing of the issues by the Court points out that what tripped up plaintiffs' attempt to obtain a court order exempting the employer from the contraceptive care requirements did not arise from the U.S. Constitution. More ›

Court Finds Volunteer Firefighters to be “Employees” for the Purpose of Determining Eligibility Under FMLA/FLSA

A fire department dispatcher filed suit against his employer under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for allegedly violating his right to protected leave. The employer filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the employee was not eligible for leave under the FMLA because it did not employ at least 50 employees. At that time, the employer employed 41 employees, excluding 25-30 "volunteer" firefighters who were not required to respond to any emergency calls, but who were paid $15 per hour for the time they did spend responding to a call or maintaining equipment. The volunteers were not considered employees by the department, and thus, did not receive health insurance, sick or vacation time, or social security benefits, but the volunteers did have the ability to be promoted or discharged. More ›

Sixth Circuit Upholds Michigan’s Public Act 53 Regulating Public School Union Dues

Michigan's Public Act 53 prohibits public-school employers from providing payroll deductions to collect union membership dues from public-school employees. A group of union and union members challenged the Act facially, alleging that it violated their federal constitutional rights. More ›

Supervisor who told Employee she was “too old” not Responsible for Firing

A 61 year-old employee's supervisor made age-related comments over a four month period. Later, while informing the employee that she was being fired, the supervisor suggested that the employee was "too old" for the job. The employee sued her former employer for age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") and the state's civil rights act. The trial court dismissed the employee's lawsuit and the employee filed an appeal. More ›

School District Prevails in Title VII Retaliation case Filed by Basketball Coach

A high school girls varsity basketball coach sued a school district for gender discrimination after the school failed to hire her as the boys varsity basketball coach. The court found in favor of the coach and ordered the district to hire her as varsity coach for both the boys and girls basketball teams. More ›

Sixth Circuit: Employee Fails to Establish race Discrimination based on Having Biracial Children

An employee was terminated after her employer conducted an investigation which ultimately revealed that she was stealing hydrocodone pills from the employer’s pharmacy. As a result of the investigation, the employer contacted the local police and provided them with information that ultimately led to the arrest of the employee. The employee then filed suit against her employer, claiming that the employer was deliberately misleading and malicious in providing information to the police which led to her arrest. The employee claimed that her termination was actually because of her race, and more specifically, based on her having biracial children. She also claimed that she was retaliated against for her complaints about unlawful race discrimination. The employee alleged that the employer’s actions violated the state of Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act and common law, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. More ›

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