Thursday, September 16, 2010

Employee who Admitted Misconduct and that He had No Evidence of Discriminatory Intent Had No Discrimination Claim

In Hall v. Interstate Brands Corporation, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals---the federal appellate court having jurisdiction over Utah---recently ruled that a district court correctly dismissed an employee's discrimination claim against his employer when the employee admitted that he had engaged in misconduct and conceded that there was no evidence other than his own personal belief that the discipline imposed upon him was imposed based on his race.  The Tenth Circuit also affirmed the district court's conclusion that limited, isolated incidents of inappropriate conduct did not create a hostile work environment.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Employees Who Received Payments Pursuant to an Equity Participation Program Must Pay Them Back to Bankruptcy Trustee

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in In re Dittmer that employees who received $34,556 each in payment for their stock appreciation rights (SARs) must return to their employer's bankruptcy trustee all of the money they received because the SARs were payments from the bankruptcy estate.  The employees had argued that the payments were not property of the bankrutpcy estate because the payments were entirely dependent upon the economic decisions of the employer.  The Court rejected the argument because the pre-bankruptcy contract required a payment to them if a certain event occurred.  Accordingly, the Court stated that the obligation existed before the employer filed for bankruptcy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Utah Valley State College and Two Administrators Should Have Been Dismissed from Suit

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals---the federal appellate court having jurisdiction over Utah---reversed a district court decision that allowed a former instructor at Utah Valley State College (UVSC) to remove his Age Discrimination in Employment Act and civil rights complaints to state court.  In Helmick v. UVSC, the Tenth Circuit ruled that once the trial court concluded that the defendants were immune from suit by the 11th Amendment and that two UVSC administrators were qualifiedly immune, the Court should have dismissed the case instead of allowing the plaintiff to remove the case to a state trial court