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GE did not discriminate against employee

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A longtime employee at the Bloomington General Electric Co. plant could not prove to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that the company discriminated against her because of a disability and retaliated against her when she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Renee Majors suffered a work-related shoulder injury in 2000 that permanently left her limited to lifting no more than 20 pounds and other restrictions regarding her right arm. In May 2009, she was the senior most eligible bidder for a temporary purchased material auditor position. Under the plant's collective bargaining agreement, vacant positions are to be awarded to the senior most eligible employee who bids on the position.

But the auditor position required lifting more than 20 pounds occasionally and GE determined Majors was not medically qualified for the position. Majors suggested that a material handler could do the heavy lifting. Majors filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging she was denied the temporary position because of her disability and sex. She then claimed as a result of filing her EEOC charge, she was denied overtime hours and the chance to work “lack of work” Fridays at the plant.

A few months later, she decided to participate in the early retirement program and retire in November 2009. But before her retirement, she applied for a permanent senior auditor position. It went to another bidder because of the lifting requirements. Majors then filed a second suit alleging discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII, retaliation and constructive discharge.

The District Court granted summary judgment to GE on all of Majors’ claims. She appealed in Renee S. Majors v. General Electric Co., 12-2893, except the Title VII discrimination claim.

“The accommodation Ms. Majors seeks – another person to perform an essential function of the job she wants – is, as a matter of law, not reasonable, so GE isn’t required to show the accommodation would create an undue hardship. Ms. Majors hasn’t pointed to evidence that could support a finding that she was a qualified individual (under the ADA); without that, she can’t show that GE failed to provide a reasonable accommodation,” wrote Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. of the Northern District of Indiana, sitting by designation.

Looking toward her retaliation claim, Miller wrote, “When examined in context, the assignment to Ms. Majors of less overtime hours than two of her coworkers and fewer ‘lack of work’ Fridays than three of her coworkers during the months after she filed an EEOC charge doesn’t amount to sufficient evidence to support an inference of causation.”

“We agree with the district court that Ms. Majors has offered no evidence that would allow her retaliation claim to survive summary judgment under either the direct or indirect method of proof,” he wrote.

The 7th Circuit affirmed in all respects.

 

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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