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7th Circuit rules for employer on fired worker’s claims

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An Italian-born naturalized U.S. citizen who sued his former employer for religious discrimination and defamation after he was fired could not prove his claims before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Emilio Martino worked for Western & Southern Financial Group in northern Indiana for about two months as a sales representative before his employment was terminated. The company has a policy that sales representatives may only work outside jobs that require five or less hours a week and less than $100 in pay. Martino submitted to the company his outside position as a pastor of a small church in Michigan, but because the pay and hours were over what the company allows, W&S told Martino he needed to end his pastoral position.

Shortly after receiving this notice, the company was trying to verify Martino’s eligibility to work in the U.S. He was unable to produce his Social Security card, but had a valid number, and the paperwork would take several weeks. The documentation he did produce could not verify his eligibility and allow him to complete the I-9 process within a reasonable time period, so the company terminated him.

As part of the company policy, W&S sent notification to the state insurance department as to Martino’s termination and the reasons behind it.

Martino filed a lawsuit alleging several claims, including religious discrimination and defamation. The District Court granted summary judgment to the company, and he appealed only the discrimination and defamation claims.

The 7th Circuit affirmed Thursday in Emilio Martino v. Western & Southern Financial Group, 12-1855, holding Martino’s evidence doesn’t call into doubt W&S’s explanation for his discharge, nor does it establish a prima facie case of defamation. There is no evidence of pretext, and the situations of other employees he claims were treated more favorably do not support his position. The judges also found the timing of the I-9 compliance pressure does not support that the company’s explanation for his discharge was pretextual.

Regarding his defamation claim, Martino argued that W&S committed defamation by implication when it sent notice to the state insurance department about his termination. In his mind, the statute requires reporting for specific bad acts, and W&S implied that his discharge was the result of one of those acts.

"Nothing in the form and termination letters sent to the state insurance department was false,” Judge Ann Claire Williams wrote. “Although the Indiana Code did not require W&S to report Martino’s termination to the state insurance department, it did not prevent the company from doing so. No evidence in the record suggests that W&S singled Martino out by reporting his discharge to the state. Rather, W&S simply followed the company’s policy of reporting all involuntary terminations.”

 

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  1. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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