Defendant’s Actions Prove the Plaintiff’s Claims

from the September 2012 LEL Labor and Employment Law News

A recent decision in a case involving Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Family and Medical Leave Act claims observes that the defendant’s actions demonstrated that it had the intent to violate the law. Phillips v. StellarOne Bank, Case No.7:11-cv-00440 (W.D. Va. July 16, 2012)

After many years of stellar performance and increasing responsibilities, the plaintiff employee began to receive negative performance evaluations, eventually leading to his termination. The plaintiff contended that he was fired, not for poor job performance, but because of his age and his decision to take FMLA leave. The judge stated that when this dispute is viewed through the lens of the McDonnell Douglas case, there are triable issues of fact that require a hearing to determine whether a violation occurred.

The court’s decision discusses how a plaintiff can prove a discrimination claim at trial and why it is inappropriate to dismiss this case without a trial.