Constitutional & Civil Rights in Employment

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah exhorted us to “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17).

Notable Causes

Significant Court Decisions

Springer v. Henry, Del. Dept of Health & Social Services, et al., 435 F.3d 268 (3d Cir. 2006) (First Amendment free speech retaliation case affirming plaintiff’s jury verdict on behalf of an independent contractor physician who lost his job in retaliation for blowing the whistle on and trying to stop patient abuse and chronic understaffing at the state psychiatric hospital).

Sheridan v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., 100 F.3d 1061 (3d Cir. 1996) (en banc) (sex discrimination case – reinstating plaintiff’s jury verdict and establishing the “pretext only” paradigm for proof of intentional discrimination).

Shockley v. Minner, 448 Fed.Appx. 263 (3d Cir. 2011) (holding it has been clearly established since at least 1986 that the Governor of the Delaware could not discriminate against State Police Troopers on her Executive Protection Unit because of their gender)

Shockley v. Minner, 726 F.Supp.2d 368 (D.Del. 2010) (holding there was more than sufficient evidence that the Governor of Delaware had discriminated against against a State Police Corporal on her Executive Protection Unit because of his gender and sending the case to trial)

Pope v. Swanson, 2009 WL 2507928 (D.Del. Aug. 17, 2009) (recognizing the First Amendment rights of a public employee to be free of retaliation for his political activities).

Riddell v. Gordon, 2008 WL 4766952 (D.Del. Oct. 31, 2008) (recognizing the First Amendment rights of a public employee to be free of retaliation for her union activities and political associations).

Balas v. Taylor, 567 F.Supp.2d 654 (D.Del. 2008) (recognizing the First Amendment rights of a correctional officer to be free of retaliation for his pro-union speech, union activities and union associations).

Justice v. Danberg, 571 F.Supp.2d 602 (D.Del. 2008) (recognizing the First Amendment rights of a union president to be free of retaliation for his union activities and union associations).

Shockley v. Minner, 2008 WL 2699978 (D.Del. July 10, 2008) (tolling the statute of limitations in a sex discrimination case when the Governor conspired to hide the true reasons for her promotion of a police officer).

Dietz v. Baker, 523 F.Supp.2d 407 (D.Del. 2007) (holding that a police Captain demonstrated a reasonable probability of success on the merits in her race and gender discrimination action against the Mayor and City of Wilmington over the WPD’s use of an illegal racial quota system and other race and gender based classifications).

Adkins v. Rumsfeld, 389 F.Supp.2d 579 (D.Del. 2005) (upholding the First Amendment free speech retaliation claims brought by an Air Force sergeant who was disciplined for speaking out about a tainted anthrax vaccine administered by the Air Force that was poisoning military personnel).

Reyes v. Freebery, 141 Fed.Appx. 49 (3d Cir. 2005) (per curiam) (in a race discrimination action, remanding to the district court to explain its restrictions on the public’s right of access to judicial records and counsel’s First Amendment right to be free of prior restraints).

Conley v. Chaffinch, 2005 WL 2678954 (D.Del. March 4, 2005) (First Amendment free speech opinion – denying defense motion to impose a gag order on the plaintiff and her attorneys to prevent them from criticizing misconduct by high government officials).

Schreffler v. Mitchell, 2005 WL 147599 (D.Del. Jan. 21, 2005) (holding that a jury must determine whether the First Amendment was violated when a school board refused to promote the assistant superintendent and most qualified candidate after she exposed the school board’s handpicked prior superintendent’s financial criminal wrongdoing).

Bullen v. Chaffinch, 336 F.Supp.2d 342 (D.Del. 2004) (upholding jury verdict on behalf of two state troopers in a Fourteenth Amendment race discrimination case).

Bullen v. Chaffinch, 336 F.Supp.2d 357 (D.Del. 2004)” (ordering the “instatement” and promotion of two state troopers who were illegally denied promotion because of their race).

Springer v. Henry, 2004 WL 2127172 (D.Del. Sept. 16, 2004) (upholding First Amendment free speech retaliation jury verdict on behalf of an independent contractor physician)

Maloney v. Gordon, 2004 WL 1043202 (D.Del. May 4, 2004) (in a First Amendment public corruption action, rejecting defense effort to impose an umbrella protective order that would seal off judicial records from public access).

Springer v. Henry, 2002 WL 389136 (D.Del. Mar. 11, 2002) (holding that independent contractor physician’s speech was protected by the First Amendment).

McNaboe v. NVF Co., 276 F.3d 578 (3d Cir. 2001) (claims for breach of employment contract, covenant of good faith and similar claims).

Tyler v. Bd. of Educ. of the New Castle County Vocational-Technical Sch. Dist., 519 F.Supp. 834 (D.Del. 1981) (plaintiff’s jury verdict because of gender discrimination and a violation of due process).

Lewis v. Delaware State College, 445 F.Supp. 239 (D.Del. 1978) (right of a public employee to refuse to have an abortion upheld over a threat of dismissal).

Stallings v. Container Corp., 75 F.R.D. 511 (D.Del. 1977) (successful race discrimination suit against a private employer).

Hanshaw v. Delaware Technical and Community College, 405 F.Supp. 292 (D.Del. 1975) (a class action for race and gender discrimination in hiring and wages which was settled when policies were changed and a $75,000 fund created).

Scott v. University of Delaware, 68 F.R.D. 606 (D.Del 1975); 455 F.Supp. 1102 (D.Del. 1975), aff’d, vacated, rem’d 601 F.2d 76 (3d Cir. 1979) (class action lawsuit for race discrimination in faculty hiring).