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Claims Of Retaliation Must be Close in Time

In the case of Wheeler v. Miami Valley Career Tech. Ctr., No.22-3315 (Jan. 10, 2023), a federal appellate court held that the school did not retaliate against the teacher when the school did not promote the teacher after the teacher filed a lawsuit against the school six years prior.

In this case, the teacher argued that (1) the school did not offer the employee a job in response to the teacher filing a discrimination lawsuit six years prior which ended only fifteen months before the school failed to hire the teacher; (2) the school had a history of promoting internal candidates other than the teacher; and (3) the individuals involved in the prior litigation “poisoned” the applications because the teacher had to interview with those individuals. In response, the school argued that (1) six years, and even fifteen months, were too far separated to show that there was a causation between the prior lawsuit and not hiring the teacher; (2) there were more qualified candidates; and (3) the teacher’s applications were not “poisoned” as the teacher was interviewed. The federal appellate court agreed with the school.

In support of its decision in favor of the school, the federal appellate court explained that even four months is too far removed to show a causal connection, let alone fifteen months. The federal appellate court next explained that the teacher failed to show evidence to show that the school consistently prioritized internal candidates over equally or more qualified external candidates. The federal appellate court further explained that the teacher received interviews for all three positions the teacher applied for, even though there was heavy interest in the positions.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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