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Personnel.

31. Personnel

U.S. District Court   Barstow v. Shea, 196 F.Supp.2d 141 (D.Conn.
                      2002). A nurse brought a suit against her
  WORKING             supervisor at a locked nursing facility located
  CONDITIONS          in a correctional center. The nurse alleged that
                      the supervisor prevented her from leaving work,
                      despite her desire to seek medical treatment for
                      an illness. The district court granted summary
                      judgment, in part, in favor of the nurse. The
                      court held that the supervisor was not entitled
                      to qualified immunity for allegedly unreasonably
                      seizing the nurse and for allegedly arbitrarily
                      subjecting the nurse to differential treatment by
                      requiring the nurse to have a coworker complete a
                      medical incident report regarding her medical
                      condition. The court found that the supervisor
                      could be held liable for false imprisonment under
                      state law, for directing a correctional officer
                      not to unlock a door to permit the nurse to leave
                      the facility due to a claimed illness. (Osborn
                      Correctional Center, Connecticut)

U.S. District Court   Getz v. Board of County Com'rs. 194 F.Supp.2d
                      1154 (D.Kan. 2002). A former nurse at a county
  FREE SPEECH         jail who had reported nursing practice violations
                      brought an action against the county and county
  TERMINATION         employees, alleging violation of her First
                      Amendment free speech rights, Due Process rights,
  RETALIATION         [section] 1983, and retaliatory termination for
                      whistle-blowing in violation of the Kansas
                      Whistleblower Act. The district court held that
                      the nurse's statements to the president of the
                      state nurses' association were matters of public
                      concern, and that the county health department's
                      interest in maintaining a harmonious workplace
                      did not outweigh the nurse's rights to air her
                      concerns regarding nursing practice violations.
                      The district court denied, in part, summary
                      judgment in favor of the defendants. (Shawnee
                      County Jail, Kansas)

U.S. Appeals Court    Gorski v. New Hampshire Dept. of Corrections,
                      290 F.3d 466 (1st Cir. 2002). A former state
  TITLE VII           corrections department employee brought a Title
                      VII action alleging that she was constructively
  HOSTILE WORK        discharged as a result of sexual harassment and a
  ENVIRONMENT         hostile work environment. The district court
                      granted summary judgment in favor of the
  DISCRIMINATION      department and dismissed the action. The appeals
                      court vacated the dismissal of the hostile work
  SEXUAL HARASSMENT   environment claim and affirmed summary judgment
                      in favor of the department on the sex
                      discrimination claim. The appeals court held that
                      the employee stated a hostile work environment
                      claim under Title VII with her allegations that
                      her supervisors discriminated against her on the
                      basis of her gender and of her pregnancy by
                      making derogatory comments about her pregnancy
                      that gave rise to a sexually hostile work
                      environment. The court noted that the employee
                      cited seven separate examples of what she alleged
                      were hostile and abusive comments. (New Hampshire
                      Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court    Hunt v. State of Missouri, Dept. of Corrections,
                      297 F.3d 735 (8th Cir. 2002). Female nurses who
  TITLE VII           had been assigned by a temporary staffing agency
                      to provide nursing services to state prisons,
  CONTRACTORS         brought claims against the corrections department
                      under Title VII. The district court entered
                      judgment in favor of the nurses on the
                      retaliation claims and awarded them attorney
                      fees. The nurses appealed and the appeals court
                      affirmed the district court decision. The appeals
                      court held that the nurses were employees of the
                      department, not independent contractors, and thus
                      had standing to sue under Title VII, noting that
                      the existence of a contract referring to a party
                      as an independent contractor does not end the
                      inquiry into whether the individual employee is
                      protected by Title VII. According to the court,
                      a person may have two or more employers for the
                      same work, for the purposes of conferring
                      standing to sue under Title VII. The court noted
                      that the nurses did not work independently and
                      were constantly under the supervision and
                      scrutiny of corrections officials and employees,
                      and although they were paid directly by the
                      temporary staffing agencies, the nurses did no
                      other work for the agency other than the prison
                      work. The appeals court found that the nurses
                      were constructively discharged, where their
                      complaints about their treatment on the job were
                      answered with threats to their well-being,
                      threats of termination, efforts to obstruct
                      their work, additional unnecessary and
                      unreasonable job requirements, and general
                      harassment. The court held that the award of
                      $136,967 in attorney fees was warranted, even
                      though the nurses did not prevail on their sexual
                      harassment claims. (Jefferson City Correctional
                      Center, Missouri)

U.S. Appeals Court    Martinez v. Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, 300
                      F.3d 567 (5th Cir. 2002). A former corrections
  FREE SPEECH         officer brought a state court action against a
                      corrections department, alleging that her
  TERMINATION         termination violated the Texas Whistleblower Act
                      and the First Amendment. After removal to federal
  RETALIATION         court, the district court denied the defendants'
                      motion for summary judgment. The appeals court
                      reversed and remanded, finding that the
                      defendants were entitled to qualified immunity.
                      The appeals court held that although officer's
                      speech in reporting an alleged major use-of-force
                      incident implicated a matter of public concern,
                      and that her speech motivated the decision to
                      terminate her, the defendants showed that the
                      officer would have been terminated regardless of
                      her protected conduct. According to the court,
                      the department had sufficient evidence to
                      terminate the officer for improper sexual
                      activity with an inmate. (Dolph Briscoe Unit,
                      Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

U.S. Appeals Court    Miller v. New Hampshire Dept. of Corrections,
                      296 F.3d 18 (1st Cir. 2002). A state corrections
  SEXUAL HARASSMENT   department employee brought an action against the
                      department, alleging that his superiors
  RETALIATION         retaliated against him for engaging in protected
                      conduct, in violation of Title VII, after he
  TITLE VII           support one of his subordinates in her sexual
                      harassment claim. The district court granted
                      summary judgment for the department and the
                      appeals court affirmed. The court held that the
                      alleged retaliatory acts that occurred within
                      Title VII's 300-day limitation period, including
                      denial of the employee's application for another
                      position, were either not discriminatory or were
                      too trivial to amount to constructive discharge.
                      (New Hampshire State Prison)

U.S. Appeals Court    Morris v. Crawford County, 299 F.3d 919 (8th Cir.
                      2002). A county detention center detainee brought
  HIRING/             [section] 1983 and state law battery claims
  QUALIFICATIONS      against a sheriff, county, and deputies. The
                      district court granted summary judgment for the
                      defendants, in part, and the remaining claims
                      were voluntarily dismissed. The appeals court
                      affirmed, finding that there was not a strong
                      causal connection between a deputy sheriff's
                      background and the specific constitutional
                      violation alleged by the detainee. The detainee
                      had been arrested and charged with driving while
                      intoxicated and disorderly conduct. After
                      arriving at a county detention center, he refused
                      to take a breathalyzer test and began to yell and
                      bang on his cell door. Four deputies responded,
                      and according to the detainee, they repeatedly
                      assaulted him as they dragged him to another
                      cell. One deputy allegedly used excessive force
                      on the detainee by utilizing a "knee drop" on
                      him, which severed the detainee's intestine. The
                      court noted that the only violent act in the
                      deputy's record was an incident in which he
                      slapped an inmate, although ex parte protective
                      orders were obtained against the deputy by both
                      his ex-wife and girlfriend. The appeals court
                      held that the sheriff and the county were not
                      liable under [section] 1983 on the theory of
                      deliberate indifference in hiring the deputy.
                      (Crawford County Detention Center, Arkansas)

U.S. District Court   Mustafa v. State of Nebraska Dept. of
                      Correctional, 196 F.Supp.2d 945 (D.Neb. 2002).
  TITLE VII           An employee brought Title VII and civil rights
                      claims against a corrections department,
  RACIAL              corrections officials, and members of an
  DISCRIMINATION      interview board. The employee alleged that he was
                      subjected to discrimination by the board's
  PROMOTION           decision not to recommend him for a case manager
                      position. The district court denied the
                      defendants' motion for summary judgment, in part,
                      finding that the employee established a prima
                      facie case of employment discrimination under
                      Title VII for failure to promote. The employee,
                      an African-American, applied for one of eight
                      open positions and was permitted to interview,
                      but was not selected for a position even though
                      several nonprotected persons received positions.
                      (Nebraska Department of Correctional Services)

U.S. Appeals Court    Sperle v. Michigan Dept. of Corrections, 297 F.3d
                      483 (6th Cir. 2002). The husband of a woman who
  PROTECTION          was murdered while working in a prison sued
  FROM HARM           officials for failing to prevent her murder and
                      for allowing a sexually hostile work environment
  SEXUAL HARASSMENT   to exist at the prison. The district court
                      granted summary judgment for the defendants and
                      the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court
                      held that the prison officials did not act with
                      deliberate indifference, that the husband failed
                      to establish a fact issue in his wife's sexual
                      harassment claim, and that the husband failed to
                      prove that the prison, through any direct act,
                      specifically intended to injure his wife. A
                      prisoner murdered the plaintiff's wife when she
                      was working at her job in the prison store. The
                      court noted that even if prison officials could
                      have made working conditions safer for the wife
                      by providing personal protection devices to
                      employees, adding extra security officers, or
                      insuring greater supervision of the prisoner,
                      they did not act in a manner that shocked the
                      conscience of the court or that indicated any
                      intent to injure her. (Huron Valley Men's
                      Facility, Michigan)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Barstow v. Shea; Getz v. Board; Corrections, Gorski v. New Hampshire Dept. of
Publication:Corrections Caselaw Quarterly
Geographic Code:1U3MI
Date:Nov 1, 2002
Words:1576
Previous Article:Mental problems (Prisoner).
Next Article:Pretrial detention.
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