Attorney Steve Schwartz wins in the Court of Appeals
Employment lawsuits based upon claims of discrimination or breach of contract expose employers to significant liability. Defense of those lawsuits are time consuming and distract key management’s focus from the core aspects of running the organization. Keller Thoma is pleased to report that Steve Schwartz recently won a significant victory in the Michigan Court of Appeals on behalf of one of our clients. The public employer and two of its managers were sued for various claims of race discrimination under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and for wrongful discharge under the employer’s policy manual. After Mr. Schwartz obtained summary dismissal of all of these claims in the trial court, the terminated employee appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of all the claims made against the public employer and its managers. Finding that there was no evidence of discrimination and no viable claim for breach of contract was a vindication of the employer’s and manager’s actions. Key to this successful defense was the pre-termination planning to evaluate whether the termination was appropriate and that due process procedures were followed.
Employers can prevent many types of lawsuits with well written employee handbooks and careful pre-termination investigations and evaluations. For assistance in reviewing employee handbooks or a potential employee termination, contact Steve Schwartz or another Keller Thoma attorney.