From the LawBlogs – Week ending July 16, 2016
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Posted by Justia
Unlawful discrimination - Race
Riley v. Elkhart Cmty. Schs.U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Docket: 15-3166
Elkhart Community Schools (ECS), has employed Riley, an African‐American female, as a teacher since 1980. She has an administrator’s license and is pursuing her doctorate in education. In 2010, she was named the ECS Teacher of the Year. From 2005-2013, Riley unsuccessfully applied for 12 different administrative positions with ECS. Riley filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charge, claiming that race, sex, and age discrimination were the reasons that ECS had not promoted her. The EEOC sent Riley a right to sue letter. Riley filed suit, alleging race, sex, and age discrimination. The district court granted summary judgment for ECS on all counts, dismissing some claims on procedural grounds, and dismissing the remaining claims because Riley had failed to produce sufficient evidence. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Of the positions for which action was not time-barred, one was given to an African-American woman; Riley did not apply for two; and one position was a lateral move so that Riley did not suffer an adverse employment action. Riley did not produce evidence of pretext with respect to other positions. ECS produced the list of factors that the screening committee considered in recommending candidates.
Unlawful discrimination – sexual orientation
Hively v. Ivy Tech Cmty. Coll. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Docket: 15-1720
Hively began teaching as a part‐time adjunct professor at Ivy Tech in 2000. In 2013, she filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming that she had been “discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation” as she had been “blocked from fulltime [sic] employment without just cause.” After exhausting the procedural requirements in the EEOC, she filed suit, pro se, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e (Title VII). The district court dismissed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Title VII does not apply to claims of sexual orientation discrimination. The court relied on precedent, but acknowledged the EEOC’s criticism of its position and that “It seems unlikely that our society can continue to condone a legal structure in which employees can be fired, harassed, demeaned, singled out for undesirable tasks, paid lower wages, demoted, passed over for promotions, and otherwise discriminated against solely based on who they date, love, or marry.”
Constitutional rights of students – expectations of privacy
Ziegler v. Martin Cnty. Sch. Bd., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Docket: 15-11441
Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that defendants violated students' constitutional rights when they detained the students for breathalyzer tests prior to entering their Junior/Senior Prom. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants. The court concluded that plaintiffs have not established an actual or reasonable expectation of privacy in the party bus, which they had abandoned once they had exited for the Prom; the bus driver had apparent authority to consent to search the party bus; and therefore, the search of the party bus did not violate plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights. The court also concluded that the initial waiting period for the breathalyzer mouthpieces and a trained individual to administer the breathalyzer tests was reasonable, because it was necessary for the testing; detaining a student after he or she was found to be alcohol free was not “reasonably related” to the reason for the detention “in the first place” of determining if the student passengers on the party bus had been drinking; the individual school defendants are entitled to qualified immunity because there was no binding clearly established law at the time; and claims against the remaining defendants have been abandoned or have no merit. The court rejected plaintiffs' remaining claims. Because plaintiffs have not established that they should succeed on any of their allegations concerning their Fourth, First, and Fourteenth Amendment claims, the court affirmed the judgment.