Indiana Court Rules That Temporary Employee’s Exclusion From Preferred Work District Not Unlawful

Law & Advocacy Headlines Michigan court

In a ruling favorable to the staffing industry, an Indiana federal court ruled that a staffing agency temporary employee did not suffer an “adverse employment action” under Title VII or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act when the staffing agency excluded him from substitute teaching assignments in his preferred school district after that school district lodged a complaint against him.

In 2014, the staffing agency hired the employee as a substitute teacher at various school districts in the Indianapolis region. The employee selected his own work assignment locations through the staffing agency’s online platform. More than 90% of his selected assignments were in the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence County, where he resided. In December 2019, several students at an elementary school in Lawrence County complained the employee had been looking at female students inappropriately. The school informed the staffing agency of the incident and requested the agency not place the employee at future assignments within its school district. The staffing agency investigated the incident and could not substantiate the allegations, but prohibited the employee from future assignments within Lawrence Township pursuant to the school district’s request.

The employee filed suit alleging his exclusion from Lawrence Township assignments was due to his race, gender, and age. The court granted the staffing agency’s motion to dismiss, noting that just because the employee had to travel further from his home for new teaching assignments, this did not mean he suffered an adverse employment action. The court further held that any “shame and humiliation” the employee experienced also did not constitute an adverse employment action. Finally, the court noted the employee did not proffer any evidence that the exclusion was due to his race, gender, or age.

To read the case, see John George Hunt v. Kelly Services Inc., 2022 WL 4259946 (S.D. Ind. 2022).

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