The Inbox - November 12, 2012
This week in suits by suits:
- Former Chesterfield County director of Human Resources Karla Gerner has settled her lawsuit alleging that the county discriminated against her when it terminated her in December of 2009 by offering her similarly-situated male colleagues more generous severance agreements. Earlier this year, Gerner won her appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which held that Gerner's allegations of discrimination in severance package offers constituted a valid claim under Title VII.
- Virtually simultaneously with the announced resignation of CIA Director Gen. David Petraus, Lockheed Martin announced that incoming CEO Christopher E. Kubasik -- who was set to take over on January 1, 2013 -- had resigned because of a "lengthy, close, personal relationship with a subordinate employee."
- Another military case with implications for the private sector: seven U.S. Navy SEALs were reprimanded by the Navy for disseminating classified information to a video game developer in order to make the video game "seem more realistic."
- In a matter we here at Suits by Suits take very seriously, a federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Louisiana has been stripped of her supervisory authority after it was discovered that she was anonymously blogging about her live cases. The investigation also led to the resignation of another veteran AUSA from the same office.
- John Tetreault, the former water superintendent for Avon, Massachusetts who plead guilty in July of 2012 to making false representations in federally required water safety reports, has demanded approximately $440,000 in unpaid severance pay from the town. (Tetreault claims he resigned; the town claims he was fired.) According to the Boston Globe, Tetreault has not yet filed suit.
- Joan Farrell, the Legal Editor for HR.BLR.com, a website for human resource professionals, has written an instructive article on the emerging role that social media can play in workplace harassment claims, including "virtual harassment," "textual harassment," "cyberstalking," and other potential claims. Reporter Kelly Yamanouchi also discussed the potential hazards of workplace social media use last week; and, of course, regular readers know that we have frequently discussed this issue here at Suits by Suits.
- We're tracking an ongoing argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in which Goldman Sachs has argued that a former employee's Title VII gender discrimination claims should be sent to arbitration (as arising out of her employment agreement) rather than litigated in court. (Related: our prior discussion of the pros and cons of mandatory employee arbitration clauses.)
- Katherine Murphy, the former principal of Aventura (FL) City of Excellence Charter School, won a $155 million jury verdict for her claims of sexual harrassment arising out of her 2006 termination. Only $500,000 of the award is for punitive damages.