Employees and their lawyers know to dig deep when they’re considering filing a discrimination lawsuit. They hunt for anything that smacks of unequal treatment based on some protected classification—and if they find something, they’ll sue.
Consider this example: An employee takes temporary disability leave and wants to return to work with accommodations. In addition to being disabled, she is a black woman. Her employer turns down her accommodation request. But then she discovers that another disabled employee was offered a different position as an accommodation. That employee happened to be a white man. Next stop: the courthouse, where a discrimination lawsuit now argues that the first employee was treated differently than another disabled employee because of her race and sex.
Recent case: Kimberly Norman, a black woman, worked as a Union Pacific Railroad train dispatcher until a bout with irritable bowel syndrome necessitated temporary disability leave. The railroad allowed the leave and concluded (wrongly) that Norman’s disability was a mental one.
Meanwhile, a white male train dispatcher developed mental illness and also took temporary disability leave. When he wanted to return to work, the railroad found him another position.
It refused to find one for Norman. She sued.
The court initially concluded that the two were similarly situated enough to support a sex and race discrimination case. It ended up dismissing the case, though, because the railroad finally argued that the white male was treated differently for a reason: When asked, he produced medical certification that he was able to return to work.
Norman had also been asked to provide a back-to-work note, but refused to do so. Therefore, the court concluded, she could not compare herself to the disabled white man. (Norman v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, No. 09-2651, 8th Cir., 2010)
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/12153/handle-return-to-work-issues-with-care "
- Dogged by sexual harassment suit, PetSmart settles
- It pays to 'check' the details.
- Dayton gets unlikely help from union when courts try to force settlement
- Can you sue for harassment if no one actually harasses you? 5th Circuit opens the door a crack
- 7th Circuit rejects 'cat's paw' theory in age discrimination claim