In August of 2014, the United States Court of Appeals of Kentucky heard an appeal from a lower court that had dismissed the plaintiff’s case. (See Pulliam v. Monessen Hearth Systems Co., 2014 WL 3796206 (Ct. APP. KY 2014)). For the following reasons this Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of the KCRA retaliation claim. Id.
Plaintiff was hired by the defendant as a temp to permanent position. She began working in September of 2010. After orientation she was assigned to work in the foundry. Id. Plaintiff worked a lot of overtime and had a good working relationship.
After working there for about a month, plaintiff met up with an employee of defendant who she alleges sexually harassed her. On one occasion, plaintiff claims this employee stalked her. Id. Then a few days after she claimed she was being stalked, plaintiff was terminated for allegedly using foul language in the workplace in violation of a defendant policy. Id.
Plaintiff then hired a Louisville Sexual Harassment and KCRA Retaliation attorney who filed suit in July of 2011. The trial court dismissed all claims. This appeal was then taken. Under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, it is unlawful for a person to retaliate or discriminate in any manner against a person because he has opposed a practice declared unlawful by this chapter. (cites omitted). Retaliation under the KCRA, is established wen the plaintiff demonstrates that: 1) the plaintiff engaged in an activity protected by Title VII, 2) that the exercise of his civil rights was known by the defendant, 3) that, thereafter, the defendant took an employment action adverse to the plaintiff, and 4) that there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action.” (cites omitted).
The trial court held that the first three prongs were met but not he fourth. Id. The trial court held that only temporal proximity of two days between these events was shown to prove causation. Id. The trial court cited to another case that stood for the proposition that temporal proximity alone was not enough to satisfy the fourth element. But, this court cited to another case that held that temporal proximity alone can be sufficient. Id. Temporal proximity may be enough to establish the causation prong of the prima facie case, if the period in question is very short. Id.
The Louisville Sexual Harassment and KCRA Retaliation plaintiff gave many reasons why she felt the termination was pretextual. First her record was positive and good. Second, the defendant was not able to site to any bad words plaintiff allegedly said. Third, the defendant failed to follow its own progressive disciplinary policy. And fourth, other employees who did much worse than the plaintiff were only suspended for a few days. Thus there was enough doubt on the legitimacy of defendant’s proffered reasons for her termination to defeat a summary judgment motion. Id.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville Sexual Harassment and KCRA Retaliation case, please call and speak to a Louisville Sexual Harassment and KCRA Retaliation attorney at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!