Firm News

BTJW Defeats Summary Judgment Motion in Employment Retaliation Case

Feb 04, 2013

In an employment retaliation case, Baillon Thome recently prevailed against a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defense counsel in federal district court.  In Yalley v. Ozark Automotive Distributors, Inc., the plaintiff alleges his employment was terminated in retaliation for reporting discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act, and in retaliation for pursuing benefits under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act.  

During his employment, Mr. Yalley submitted an internal letter to his employer alleging discriminatory employment practices and filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  In addition, Mr. Yalley was injured at work and applied for workers’ compensation benefits, which the company contested.

The Court’s Opinion is significant for several reasons.  In a rare finding, the District Court found that the Plaintiff’s allegations, if true, presented “direct evidence” that he was terminated for his reports of discrimination in the workplace.  Courts do not frequently find that a plaintiff has presented “direct evidence,” and this case illustrates the evidence that can satisfy this standard on a motion for summary judgment.  The Court’s opinion is also significant because it held that a plaintiff can pursue a retaliation claim under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act using the “direct evidence” method.