In January of 2013, two ex-employees had their case heard before U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky alleging that they were wrongfully terminated based on a retaliatory firing type claim. (See Stanley v. Insights Training Group, LLC, 2013 WL 76123, (W.D. KY 2013)).
Plaintiffs in this Louisville retaliatory firing case worked as ‘staff members’ at a residential facility that provided job-training skills to its students. During 2006 and part of 2007, Plaintiffs heard and saw certain staff members with other staff members in compromising situations. Basically a lot of the staff were hooking up.
Plaintiffs and others complained to their supervisors about what was going on and filed verbal and written reports about what was going on. Plaintiffs felt that the staffs that were hooking up were getting preferential and/or better treatment than those that were not hooking up. This unfairness was the basis for their Louisville lawsuit claiming relation under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (“KRCA”).
The KCRA forbids employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of the employee’s sex. Id. And it forbids the employer from retaliating. Id. Retaliation claims under the KCRA are evaluated using the same standards as apply to federal Title VII claims. (cites omitted). Under a circumstantial case, a plaintiff first must “establish a prima facie case of retaliation by showing the following: 1) the plaintiff engaged in a protected activity; 2) the defendant knew of the exercise of the protected right; 3) an adverse employment action was subsequently taken against the plaintiff; and 4) there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the subsequent adverse employment action.” (cites omitted).
In order to establish the first prong, there are two types of protected activity, the opposition clause and the participation clause. “With respect to the proposition clause, the plaintiffs must have had “a reasonable and good faith belief that the opposed practices were unlawful.”” (cites omitted). “By contract, under the participation clause, a plaintiff does not lose protection if he or she is wrong about the merits of the charge, or even if the charge is defamatory or malicious.” Id. In the case at hand, a case that involves preferential treatment for a consensual romantic partner, the courts have held that this type of behavior this favorable treatment for a paramour does not constitute unlawful gender discrimination. Id. So, the Court in this case held that Plaintiffs could not satisfy the first prong.
Further, Plaintiff’s’ claim that the opposition clause of the KCRA applied was not reasonable. Id. Plaintiff’s’ complaints about favoritism for paramours, unfairness in the distribution of work, and a generally unpleasant workplace was not reasonable. Id. “There is no way to interpret her complaints as having been about unlawful gender discrimination” said the court. Id.
Finally, Plaintiffs try to argue that there was also a quid pro quo harassment system that existed at work. But, Plaintiffs never put forth any testimony that such a system was in place. Thus, in this Louisville retaliatory firing case, the Plaintiffs lost.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville retaliatory firing case, please call and speak to a Louisville retaliatory firing lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!