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. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

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  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

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