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. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  2. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

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  4. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  5. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.