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Worker didn't prove discrimination, retaliation

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling that a company's elimination of a worker's position, along with not rehiring her after restructuring, didn't constitute retaliation or a hostile work environment.

In Dayna L. Scruggs v. Garst Seed Co., No. 07-2266, Dayna Scruggs appealed the District Court's ruling, believing she was a victim of retaliation by Garst Seed Co. because after she filed a discrimination charge, her position as research technician at a seed breeding research facility was eliminated.

Scruggs' supervisor, Curtis Beazer, often made derogatory comments toward Scruggs and other employees. Some of those comments had to do with her intelligence, gender, or ability. She complained to Beazer's supervisor about the treatment.

Shortly thereafter, another company bought a majority interest in Garst Seed in September 2004. As part of restructuring, Scruggs' position was eliminated. She didn't learn about it until several months later because she was out on medical leave and claimed she didn't receive a message about the changes.

She filed a discrimination charge in December 2004. After that, Garst was hiring under the restructured system and Scruggs applied for a research assistant position, but the company hired someone else who had a college degree and experience in the field. Scruggs then filed her second discrimination charge claiming retaliation.

The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of Garst on Scruggs' claims of retaliation, hostile work environment, and gender discrimination.

Because the company-wide restructuring plan eliminated Scruggs' position before she even filed her first charge of discrimination, the company didn't fire her for retaliation, wrote Judge Ann Claire Williams. Garst also didn't retaliate by not hiring her for the research assistant position because she didn't have the qualifications necessary for the job. She didn't have a college degree or the required experience to be the research assistant.

Scruggs also failed to prove her claim of hostile work environment because while Beazer did make inappropriate comments toward her, most of them related to Scruggs' work habits or alleged lack of sophistication, the same types of comments he made to other male and female employees, wrote the judge.

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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