Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals 
Weekly Update
 April 26, 2019

Published Cases

There were no published labor or employment law cases last week.  
Unpublished Cases

Case No. 17-14706
April 18, 2019

The Circuit Court affirmed the dismissal of Arrington’s  pro se claims of discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation in violation of Title VII, the ADA, and the FMLA, as well as her personal injury claim for “workplace hazard.”    

The Court concluded Arrington, an African-American female, abandoned most of her claims by failing to present arguments as to how the district court erred. She also alleged facts without explaining how they made a plausible claim, instead stating the employer’s actions violated her civil rights. The Court opined that citation to legal authority alone does not constitute legal argument. Additionally, the Court agreed with the district court that the complaint failed to allege that Arrington was retaliated against for engaging in protected activity or that any claimed discriminatory or harassing actions were connected to her race or disability. As to retaliation, while she asserted her area manager rescinded a job offer after she called the employee concerns line, her complaint indicated that her managers did not become aware of her call until after the offer was rescinded. Moreover, although the Court assumed that at least one of the actions qualified as an adverse job action, Arrington did not establish a prima face case because she did not allege that similarly situated employees outside of her protected class were treated more favorably. Finally, she did not establish that her work environment was either severe or pervasive enough to alter the terms or conditions of employment and, consequently, she did not meet the higher standard necessary to establish a constructive discharge.  

As to her disability claims, her allegations showed the employer sought to accommodate her and her sole remedy for her alleged personal injury was under Alabama’s Workmen’s Compensation Act, a claim she did not present. Additionally, her conclusory allegations regarding FMLA were insufficiently pled; Arrington was granted FMLA leave and she did not show any facts supporting an inference that the employer discriminated against her for taking that leave.  
Case No. 18-10586
April 18, 2019

The district court dismissed Murphy’s discrimination claims under the Rehabilitation Act and affirmed the Merit System Protection Board’s (“MSPB”) decision, which upheld the Department of the Army’s (“DoA”) act of removing Murphy from federal service. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. 

The Eleventh Circuit agreed the district court was precluded from exercising jurisdiction over Murphy’s discrimination claims under  Department of Navy v. Egan . The Court explained that Murphy’s claims would require the court to impermissibly second-guess the DoA’s suspension and revocation of her security clearance. In light of this determination, the Eleventh Circuit rejected Murphy’s argument that the district court abused its discretion in denying her motions to amend her complaint: the amendments she sought were futile because the district court lacked jurisdiction. Finally, the Eleventh Circuit rejected “as wholly without merit” Murphy’s argument that the district court erred in affirming the MSPB’s decision because the DoA committed harmful procedural errors and rendered an unreasonable decision.
The Eleventh Circuit Weekly Update was prepared by Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission staff: case summaries by Chairman Frank E. Brown, and Appellate Counsel Cristina A. Velez and Katie E. Sabo; editing by Deputy General Counsel and Chief Appellate Attorney Amanda L. Neff; research and layout by Research Attorney Lesley Blanton.