Constitutional Claims and Civil Rights
University employee sued university for unlawful retaliation for exercising rights pursuant to Title VII. An employee sued his employing university due to denial of tenure and termination. The trial ended with an unfavorable verdict for the employee, but during the lawsuit she was hired for another position at the university. The employee then applied for a new position which was denied and sued the university again, claiming that the failure to hire her was a result of the previous lawsuit. Held: For the university. While the employee did establish that she engaged in protected action during the first lawsuit, she failed to show a connection between the first lawsuit and not being hired for the new position. Further, the university demonstrated non-discriminatory reasons for not hiring the employee. Annett v. Univ. of Kan., 216 F. Supp. 2d 1249 (D. Kan. 2002).
Students with Disabilities
Paraplegic student sued college, alleging failure to accommodate her disabilities during overseas program. A paraplegic student was accepted into an Australian overseas program. The student was assured that the program would accommodate her disabilities. Once enrolled in the program, the student was unable to participate in activities due to her disability on numerous occasions. Held: For the school. The student failed to demonstrate an immediate threat of discrimination against her since she had already graduated and was unlikely to return to school and participate in an overseas program again. Also, though the student could not participate in all activities, she was able to participate in a number of them. Therefore, the program in its entirety was not discriminatory. Bird v. Lewis & Clark Coll., 303 F.3d 1015 (9th Cir. 2002).
Employee of private post-secondary art institute brought action against institute for sexual harassment. An art institute displayed a student drawing of its 82-year-old employee bare-breasted and engaging in a sexual act with another faculty member. Held: For the institute. The display did not constitute severe or pervasive sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), because liability under FEHA could not be predicated on a single incident not involving egregious conduct akin to physical assault or the threat of physical assault. Herberg v. Cal. Inst, of the Arts, 124 Cal. Rptr. 2d 1 (Cal. App. 2002).
Student sued military college instructor for injuries sustained during altercation. During a business class, a military instructor injured a student by physical force. The student sued the instructor for violating her substantive due process rights. The instructor claimed that he was entitled to qualified immunity as a government employee. Held: For the instructor. In order to overcome a claim of qualified immunity, one must successfully show a violation of federal constitutional rights. …