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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. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  3. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  4. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  5. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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