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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case, and a notice requirements case

In Thomas v. H&R Block (SD Ind., Hamilton), a 16-page opinion, Judge Flaum writes:

Amorita Thomas (“Thomas”) sued her employer, H&R Block Eastern Enterprises, Inc. (“H&R Block”), under Indiana’s Wage Payment Statute, IND. CODE § 22-2-5-1 et seq. (2010), for paying its end-ofseason (“EOS”) compensation more than ten days after it was earned. The district court granted H&R Block’s motion for summary judgment based on a finding that EOS compensation did not constitute “wages” under Illinois statutory law. At issue is whether H&R Block’s EOS compensation is a wage under Indiana law, and thus whether it is subject to the Wage Payment Statute, which requires employers to pay “wages” no more than ten days after they are earned. Both Indiana and federal case law provide guidelines for answering this question. In light of those guidelines, we affirm. * * *

This case does not warrant certification. First, it involves the interpretation of a compensation program that appears unique to H&R Block. Resolution of this case would unlikely “have a far-reaching precedential effect for others.” Id. Second, the Indiana Supreme Court has provided guidance on this issue that assists us in resolving this dispute, most recently in Highhouse. We decline to certify such a fact-specific question, especially in light of Indiana case law addressing issues similar to the issue this case presents.

In DeTata v. Rollprint Packaging, a case out of Illinois, Judge Wood writes:
The only question before us in this appeal is whether Sherry DeTata’s lawsuit complaining of sex discrimination at the hands of her employer, Rollprint Packaging Products, Inc., was filed too late. Everyone agrees that she properly filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”); the problem centers around what happened next. The EEOC dismissed DeTata’s case, and it mailed a right-to-sue letter, but that letter never reached DeTata and was returned to the agency as undeliverable. DeTata learned about the agency’s action only when she telephoned to check on her case. At that point, the EEOC re-sent the right-to-sue letter and a copy of her file; she filed this suit within two months of receiving those materials. The district court, however, using the date of DeTata’s phone call as the beginning of the 90-day period in which she had to file her suit, granted Rollprint’s motion to dismiss on the ground that her suit was untimely. We conclude that, under the facts of this case, the telephone call did not satisfy the notice requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1). We therefore vacate the district court’s judgment and remand the case for further proceedings.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 12, 2011 10:48 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions