Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sleeping at Work Probably Won't Help Plaintiff's Discrimination Claim

Last week, the Third Circuit released its opinion in Vasbinder v. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (opinion here).The plaintiff was a boiler plant operator,
responsible for continuously monitoring the plant’s equipment to prevent malfunctions that could result in explosions, property damage, interruptions of medical services, injuries, or fatalities.
Surely he took those responsibilities seriously right (hint: if his case is on this blog . . . well, I don't want to give it away just yet)?

Plaintiff alleges that he was demoted and denied an open position due to age discrimination and retaliation. But maybe the employer had a nondiscriminatory reason for these actions . . . like, maybe one day the plaintiff was the only one working at the plant and his supervisor:
found [Plaintiff] sleeping on the floor of the office, with a pillow, one or two blankets, and an alarm clock.
Yeah, that's not gonna help the ole' discrimination claim. The plaintiff claims he was just "relaxing." The Court checked the record for evidence of discrimination and pretty much came up empty. The Third Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff DEFENDANT (sorry, flipped the parties originally).

HT: Eric Meyer - His post on this case includes analogies to Homer Simpson and George Costanza, and includes music like Daydream Believer and Beds are Burning. Now that I think about it, my measly post pales in comparison . . . .

Image: Third Circuit seal is a public domain work of the federal government. Not official use.

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