From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
The U.S. Postal Service was delivered a win April 10 when the Fifth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a letter carrier’s retaliation claim against the agency ( Cabral v. Brennan , 5th Cir., No. 16-50661, 4/10/17 ).
Javier Cabral, a Mexican-American over the age of 40, was suspended for two days after he hit one of his supervisors with a postal vehicle and was unable to produce a valid driver’s license or occupational license after the incident. Cabral alleged that the suspension was actually in retaliation for his complaints about race, national origin and age discrimination.
The ruling serves as a reminder about the types of employment actions against workers that will be considered “materially adverse” in the Fifth Circuit to support a retaliation claim under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. A materially adverse action is one that would dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting discrimination charges. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit includes federal courts in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Cabral presented no evidence outside of his own stated conclusions that he experienced emotional or psychological harm as a result of the suspension, the appeals court found. Cabral thus failed to show that his suspension amounted to a materially adverse employment action, the court said.
Attorney Arthur G. Vega of San Antonio, who represented Cabral, disagreed with the court’s ruling.
Cabral presented affidavits and other evidence to raise a factual dispute about whether he was harmed by the suspension, Vega told Bloomberg BNA April 10. That dispute should have been heard by the jury instead of being dismissed on summary judgment, he said.
USPS representatives didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA’s April 10 request for comment.
The federal district court below initially denied the postal service’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss the case.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas had relied on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White that it interpreted as announcing a rule that all suspensions without pay would be materially adverse actions under Title VII.
The postal service filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that whether suspensions are materially adverse will depend on the specific circumstances of a case. The district court agreed that it misinterpreted Burlington Northern and subsequently dismissed Cabral’s case.
The Fifth Circuit agreed with the lower court that the circumstances in White and Cabral are distinguishable based on the documentation presented to show harm from an employment action.
Judge Jerry E. Smith wrote the opinion, joined by Judges Catharina Haynes and Robert Junell.
U.S. Attorneys Joseph C. Rodriguez and Robert K. Shaw-Meadow represented the postal service.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
The case is at http://src.bna.com/nNm.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)