Botched Job Posting Not Grounds For Retaliation Suit

In 2004, Crutcher filed a lawsuit against the Dallas Independent School District (“DISD”) alleging discrimination and retaliation.  The 2004 lawsuit was settled out of court.  In the summer of 2009, Crutcher interviewed for a position with the DISD, but did not get the job.  Following this adverse employment decision, Crutcher sued DISD.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of DISD, and Crutcher appealed.  The Court of Appeals held that Crutcher failed to establish a causal connection between Crutcher’s filing of the 2004 lawsuit and the adverse employment decision so as to establish a prima facie case of retaliation.  The Court further held that DISD provided substantial evidence to show legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for its decision to not hire Crutcher.

Crutcher v. Dallas Indep.Sch. Dist., No. 05-11-01112-CV

Sunshine and Sweetwater

In 2008, CNC hired Sunshine Jespersen to work as a leasing agent and provide on-site management services to Sweetwater Ranch Apartments.  Apparently seeking a shorter commute, Sunshine took advantage of a rent discount provided as an employment perk and moved into the Sweetwater Ranch Apartments.  But the job turned out to be arduous, requiring long work weeks and excessive overtime.  And, shortly after starting, Sunshine discovered she was pregnant with twins.  The parties dispute what happened next.  According to Sunshine, her doctor told her she needed to work less, so she asked for a reduction in hours.  When her boss demurred, she either quit (according to CNC) or asked for three weeks of medical leave (says Sunshine).  Sunshine then sought to come back, but CNC apparently had already filled her position.  While the facts surrounding the termination/resignation/rehiring are muddy, what is clear is that CNC/Sweetwater tried to raise her rent because she was no longer entitled to the employee rent discount.  Sunshine did not like this and tried to move out, but as she was trying to move out CNC/Sweetwater changed the locks, posted a notice of abandonment, and charged Sunshine for cleaning and repairing the apartment.

Sunshine sued.  She claimed pregnancy and disability discrimination, and that CNC/Sweetwater breached the lease by locking her out.  The trial court, however, rejected her motion for summary judgment and granted CNC/Sweetwater’s corresponding motion.  On appeal, the Court found that Sunshine had produced no direct evidence of pregnancy discrimination.  It also found that she produced no indirect evidence of discrimination because she could not show that she was replaced by someone outside the protected class since one of her replacements was, in fact, pregnant.  The court also upheld the trial court’s decision on the breach of the lease, finding that, under the lease’s terms, she had abandoned the apartment because she had previously moved out most of her belongings.

Sunshine Jespersen v. Sweetwater Ranch Apartments