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Shift Change Based on Race Constituted Unlawful Discrimination

By Cary Schwimmer |

In Threat v. City of Cleveland, Ohio, Case No. 20-4165 (July 26, 2021), the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Tennessee, ruled that discriminatory shift changes based on race violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A seniority-based bidding process under a City of Cleveland collective bargaining agreement… Read More »

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“Sign or Be Fired” Was Not Unlawful Coercion

By Cary Schwimmer |

Employers sometimes present employees with a Hobson’s choice between signing a document, such as a non-compete agreement or arbitration agreement, or being fired. Does this amount to unlawful coercion rendering the document unenforceable, or a legitimate employment action? The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Tennessee, recently addressed this issue in… Read More »

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Sixth Circuit: Employee or Independent Contractor?

By Cary Schwimmer |

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay the federal minimum wage and overtime pay to employees (who are not exempt from overtime, such as many managers and executives). The FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements do not apply to independent contractors. In Jamie Gilbo v. Agment, LLC, Case No. 20-3287… Read More »

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Tennessee Court of Appeals: Vacation is a Matter of Policy

By Cary Schwimmer |

In Michelhaugh, et al. v. Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, Case No. B8LA0053 (August 11, 2020), the Tennessee Court of Appeals addressed a dispute over how and when vacation time was earned. A Department of Energy contractor, Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (“CNS”), had replaced another contractor, Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services (“B&W”). CNS hired B&W’s… Read More »

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Tennessee Supreme Court Highlights Significance of At-Will Disclaimers

By Cary Schwimmer |

In Keller v Casteel, et. al, Case No. E2017-01020-SC-R11-CV (June 12, 2020), a municipal firefighter was terminated after pleading guilty to a criminal charge. While the lawsuit’s claim was violation of constitutional due process based on a property interest allegedly created by the City’s personnel manual, rather than breach of contract, the Court applied… Read More »

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Employees May be Fired for Falsifying Discrimination Allegations

By Cary Schwimmer |

In Carrethers v McCarthy, Case No. 19-5712 (May 28, 2020), the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Tennessee, confirmed that an employer legitimately may fire an employee if it honestly believes that the employee falsified allegations of misconduct. Carrethers, a civilian employee, had repeatedly accused her supervisors and other coworkers of… Read More »

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Speak No Evil (or Anything Else) About Current or Former Employees

By Cary Schwimmer |

Supervisors and employees should know that saying things about the quality or conduct of a current or former employee can result in a defamation suit against the employer and/or the speaker if the speaker’s comments harm the person being asked about. Recently, in Wallace v. Leidos Innovations Corp. and Mantello, Case No. 19-5512 (March… Read More »

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Employer’s “Honest-Belief” About ADA Plaintiff’s Ability to do the Job Prevails

By Cary Schwimmer |

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees with disabilities who can perform the essential functions of their jobs with or without reasonable accommodation. One of the most difficult decisions for an employer is whether an employee with a disability can perform his or her job duties with or without accommodation…. Read More »

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The “Honest-Belief” Rule

By Cary Schwimmer |

“Mistakes Happen”, began the opinion of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Tennessee, in Smith v. Towne Properties Asset Management Co., Inc., Case No. 19-3681 (March 4, 2020). “But not every mistake amounts to actionable employment discrimination”. Smith worked for Towne Properties which managed apartment complexes. Smith was a community… Read More »

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Employment Discrimination Based on Bankruptcy

By Cary Schwimmer |

Can an employer terminate an employee because he or she has filed for bankruptcy, reasoning that the employee is irresponsible? Can an employer refuse to hire an applicant for a finance-related position because they have gone through bankruptcy, concluding it is too risky to have such a person in the job? The answer to… Read More »

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