The United States Supreme Court ruled on Jan.12, 2015, that a discrimination lawsuit filed against the Kalamazoo County Road Commission by a former equipment superintendent can now return to federal court. The Supreme Court ruled that a 2014 decision issued by an appeals court stand. According to court records, an appeals court judge reportedly remarked that it was plausible that the man, who is Hispanic, had initially been set up to fail and that it didn’t matter that he had applied for the job before.
The case stemmed from an incident that began back in 2009 when the Kalamazoo County Road Commission promoted the man to equipment superintendent after other employees decided not to take the job. The man then reportedly developed health problems such as headaches and bronchitis after continuously inhaling black soot that accumulated in his garage office. Court documents state that due to his health and the tension between him and his superiors, he was only able to stay in the position for less than a year before going out on medical leave in 2010.
Interestingly, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, became the lone dissenter in the case, commenting that he actually wanted the Supreme Court to take on the case. Judge Alito reportedly said that it was setting a bad precedent for states, such as Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, which are also covered by the 6th United States Circuit Court of Appeals. His reasoning was that, “employees need not be careful what they ask for because, if their request is granted and they encounter buyer’s regret, they can sue.”
Individuals who believe they are victims of employment discrimination may find it beneficial to seek the counsel of an experienced Michigan attorney.
Source: The Kansas City Star, “High court won’t block Michigan road worker’s lawsuit” Ed White, Jan. 12, 2015