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  • NO. A08-1367

    StateofMinnesota

    InSupremeCourt Capella University,

    Appellant, v.

    Elen Bahr, Respondent.

    APPELLANT'S BRIEF AND APPENDIX

    Thomas A. Harder (#158987) FOLEY & MANSFIELD, PLLP 250 Marquette Avenue, Suite 1200 Minneapolis, MN 55401 Tel: (612) 338-8788 Fax: (612) 338-8690

    Counsel for Appellant

    Joni M. Thome (#232087) HALUNEN &ASSOCIATES 1650 IDS Center 80 South Eighth Street Minneapolis, MN 55402 Tel: (612) 605-4098 Fax: (612) 605-4099

    Counsel for Respondent

    Angela Behrens (#0351076) STATE OF MINNESOTA- OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL 445 J\finnesota Street, Suite 900 St. Paul, MN 55101-2127 (651) 297-3546

    Attorneys for the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights

    BACHMAN LEGAL PRINTING- FAX (612) 337 8053- (612) 339-9518 or 1 800-715-3582

  • The appendix to this brief is not available for online viewing as specified in the Minnesota Rules of Public Access to the Records of the Judicial Branch, Rule 8, Subd. 2(e)(2).

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    STATEMENT OF THE LEGAL ISSUES INVOLVED .......................... 1

    1. Does the Act of Delaying the Placement of an Employee .............. I on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Constitute an Unfair Employment Practice (Discrimination) as Defined by Minn. Stat. § 363A.08, Subd. 2?

    2. Minn.Stat.§ 363A.15Protects an Employee from ................... 1 Reprisals for Opposing a PracticeForbidden Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). In that not Placing an Employee on a PIP is not a Forbidden Act of Discrimination, Should the Statute be Interpreted to Extend its Protections to an Employee who Opposes an Act that is not in Fact Forbidden, if the Employee Alleges that she had a Reasonable Belief the Act was Forbidden?

    3. Assuming the Federal Title VII "Reasonable Belief' ................ 2 Standard is Engrafted onto the Statute, Should the Court Adopt the Federal Standard of Applying an Objective Analysis to the Profession of a Reasonable Belief, and Dismiss where the Belief is Unreasonable, as a Matter of Law?

    STATEMENT OF THE CASE ............................................. 3

    STATEMENT OF FACTS ................................................ 4

    ARGUMENT ........................................................... 6

    1. Standard of Review. . ......................................... 6

    2. Law and Argument. ........................................... 8

    A. To Place (or not place) an Employee on a PIP is not ............ 9 an Adverse Employment Action

    1

  • B. Should the Title VII Good Faith Reasonable Belief ........... 18 Standard be Engrafted onto the Statute?

    C. The Correct Application of Federal Law .................... 31

    CONCLUSION ........................................................ 37

    11

  • TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

    FEDERAL CASES

    Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) ................................. 8, 9

    Brannum v. Missouri Dept. of Corrections, fu PS518 F.3d 542 (8 Cir. 2008) .................................. 1, 2, 19, 33, 35, 3

    Breiland v .. A.dvanced Circuits. Inc., 976 F.Supp. 858, 865 (D. Minn. 1997) ...................................... 12

    Brown v. Sybase. Inc., 287 F.Supp.2d 1330, 1342 (S.D. Fla. 2003) ............................ 13, 18, 30

    Burchett v. Target Corp., 340 F.3d 510, 519 EU Cir. 2003) ........................................... 17

    Burlington Industries. Inc. v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742, 761, 118 S. Ct. 2257 (1998) ................................... 10

    Butler v. Alabama Dept. of Transportation, 536 F.3d 1209, 1214 (llili Cir. 2008) ..................................... 33,36

    Clark County School District v. Breeden, 532 U.S. 268,270, 121 S. Ct. 1508 (2001) ..................... 2, 18, 19, 33, 34, 35

    Clover v. Total Systems Services. Inc., 176 F.3d 1346, 1351 (ll'h Cir. 1999) ........................................ 33

    Coburn v. Children's Medical Center, 2004 W.L. 1347604, *4 (N.D. Tex. 2004) ............................... 1, 13, 36

    Colenburg v. STARCON International. Inc., 2009 W.L. 1536503, *6, n.9 (D. Minn. 2009) ................................. 15

    Cottman v. Rubin, 2001 W.L. 257830 *3 (D. Md. 2001); aff'd. 35 Fed. Appx. 53 EQ Cir. 2002) ....... 13

    lil

  • Crawford v. Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County, 1N, -u.s.- 129 s. Ct. 846 (2009) ......................................... 9

    Crumpacker v. Kansas Dept. of Human Rights, 338 F.3d 1163 (7th Cir. 2003) .......................................... 32,33

    Cullom v. Brown, 209 F.3d 1035 (7th Cir. 2000) ............................................. 13

    Evans v. Kansas City Missouri School District, 65 F.3d 98 (S'h Cir. 1995) ............................................ 2, 18, 34

    Fisher v. Pharmacia and Upjohn, 225 F.3d 915, 919 (8th Cir. 2000) ........................................... 10

    Garrett v. Celanese Corp., 2003 W.L. 22234917 at *3 (N.D. Tex. 2003) ................................. 14

    Given v. Singular Wireless, 396 F.3d 998-999 (8th Cir. 2005) .......................................... 12

    Hamner v. St. Vincent's Hospital, 224 F.3d 701, 707 (7th Cir. 2000) ........................................... 35

    Harper v. Blockbuster Entertaimnent Corp., 139 F.3d 1385, 1388, n.2 (11th Cir. 1998) ................................. 34, 36

    Hayes v. U.S. Bank Corp. Piper Jaffray. Inc., 2004 W.L. 2075560 (D. Miun. 2004) ....................................... 10

    Hernandez v. Muns, 1996 W.L. 661171, *7, 101 F.3d 698 (5th Cir. 1996) .......................... 13

    Jenkins v. County of Hennepin, 2007 W.L. 2287840 (D. Minn. 2007) ........................................ 9

    Jones v. Fitzgerald, 283 F.3d 705, 714 (8'h Cir. 2002) .......................................... 10

    IV

  • Jordan v. Radiology Imaging Assoc., 577 F.Supp.2d 771, 779-80 (D. Md. 2008) .................................. 17

    LaCroix v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 240 F.3d 688, 691 (8th Cir. 2001) ......................................... 1, 11

    Ledergerber v. Strangler, 122 F.3d 1142, 1144 (8'h Cir. 1997) ..................................... 10, 11

    Lewis v. Heartland Inns of America. LLC, 58,.. cK T 33 1v o, 1v 1a. vv ; .................................. .

    Montandon v. Farmland Industries. Inc., 116 F.3d 355 (8'h Cir. 1997) ....................................... 2, 11, 31,32

    Occidental Life Ins. Co. of California v. EEOC, 432 u.s. 355, 359 (1977) ................................................. 25

    Parker v. Otis Elevator, 9 Fed. Appx. 615, 617 (9th Cir. 2001) ....................................... 35

    Pulley v. K.P.M.G. Consulting. Inc., 348 F.Supp.2d 388, 394-95 (D. Md. 2004) ................................... 12

    Spears v. Missouri Dept. of Corrections and Human Resources, 210 F.3d 850, 853 (8th Cir. 2000) .......................................... 10

    Stewart v. Evans, 275 F.3d 1126, 1136 (D.C. Cir. 2002) ....................................... 11

    p KWest, 149 F.3d 550, 557 (7th Cir. 1998) ....................................... 12, 17

    Tennant v. Omaha Public Power Dist. 2005 W.L. 1719690, *6 (D. Neb. 2005) ..................................... 12

    Tolanda v. KFC National Management Co., 140 F.3d 1090, 1096 (7th Cir. 1998) ........................................ 35

    v

  • Twymon v. Wells Fargo & Co., 403 F.Supp.2d921, 948-49 (S.D. Ia. 2005) .................................. 12

    Udoeyop v. Accessible Space. Inc., 2008 W.L. 4681389 at *3 (D. Minn. 2008) ................................... 33

    Vaughn v. Edel, 918 F.2d 517 (5th Cir. 1990) ..................................... 1, 15, 16, 17

    Wimmer v. Suffolk County Police Dept., 1 F 3d r2nd 1 1 I 1 1 )

    MINNESOTA CASES

    Abraham v. County of Hennepin, 639 N.W.2d 342 (Minn. 2002) ....................................... 27, 28, 29

    Anderson-Johanningmeierv. Mid-Minnesota Women's Center. Inc., 637 N.W.2d 270, 277 (Minn. 2002) ......................................... 20

    Beltrami County v. Hennepin County, 264 Minn. 406, 119 N.W.2d 25 (1963) ...................................... 23

    Borgersen v. Cardiovascular Systems. Inc., 729 N.W.2d 619,624 (Minn. Ct. App. 2007) ................................. 28

    Cannon v. Rehabilitative Services. Inc., 544 N.W.2d 790,793 (Minn. Ct. App. 1996) ................................. 31

    Carlson v. Independent School District No. 623, 392 N.W.2d 216 (Minn. 1986) ....................................... 2, 22,23

    Cummings v. Koehnen, 568 N.W.2d 418,423 (Minn. 1997) .................................... 2, 20, 22

    Doe v. State Board of Medical Examiners, 435 N.W.2d 45 (Minn. 1989) .............................................. 30

    VI

  • Elzie v. Commissioner of Public Safety, 298 N.W.2d 29, 32 (Minn. I980) ........................................... 7

    Frieler v. Carlson Marketing Group. Inc., 75I N.W.2d 558, 566 (Minn. 2008) ........................................ 2, 8

    Goodman v. City of Brooklyn Center, 2007 W.L. 46289 (Minn. Ct. App. 2007) .................................. I, 11

    Grothe v. Ramsey Action Programs. Inc., 2f\f\t: T 1 {l\ . . . . . . 11

    Grundtner v. University o