Wednesday, November 19, 2014

You can't claim employment discrimination if you're not employed, part two

This is a follow-up to my earlier post about two people who were fired from volunteer jobs, possibly because of their religious beliefs.

In this new story, Gary Vander Boegh was a landfill manager employed by Weskem.

During that time, he reported that the uranium enrichment plant had been illegally dumping radiological waste, contaminating the groundwater. This revelation qualified Vander Boegh for whistleblower protections.

In 2005, Weskem lost that particular contract to a new company, EnergySolutions. Vander Boegh applied for the landfill manager job with the new company, and was not hired. He claims that he wasn't hired because of his previous whistleblower activities, and that the failure to hire him was employment discrimination.

But the 6th Circuit (we saw this circuit earlier) disagreed.

The 6th Circuit affirmed Tuesday that Vander Boegh cannot sue EnergySolutions for employment discrimination because he was just an applicant - not an employee.

"The plain meaning of 'employee' does not plausibly extend to Vander Boegh because he never worked for EnergySolutions," U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Griffin said, writing for the three-judge panel.

Now there are legal protections for job applicants - if a particular company continuously refuses to hire black women, the applicants have a case.

However, it doesn't appear that whistleblower protections apply here.
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