Johnson v. City of Mobile

This case involved Barbara Johnson's claim against the City of Mobile in which she alleged retaliation based on several complaints and lawsuits she filed against the City under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("the ADA"). Johnson, an African-American woman over 40 years of age, began working for the City in 1996. Johnson previously filed several complaints and lawsuits against the City pertaining to her employment with the City. In 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012, Johnson filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("the EEOC") complaints against the City alleging various forms of discrimination. Johnson also unsuccessfully sued the City in 2007, 2008, and 2010. Johnson filed the underlying action in 2013, alleging that, in violation of Title VII and the ADA, the City retaliated against Johnson because she had filed discrimination charges against the City with the EEOC. Johnson's deposition testimony indicated that in 2008 or 2009 Johnson had surgery to correct a problem with her toe. As a result of her surgery, Johnson was "taken off of work" for what "could have been a month." Johnson's time off work to recover from her injury was preapproved by the City, and she was paid for her time off. Once Johnson returned to work, she had to wear a boot to protect her toe, and her doctor "wanted [her] on light duty." Johnson's supervisor, Terrell Washington, informed Johnson that there was no light duty available at that time so Johnson remained at home on paid leave. Once Johnson returned to work, Johnson was ordered by her physician to wear a certain kind of shoe that did not comply with the City's dress code: the City required Johnson to wear black shoes, but her physician-prescribed shoes were white. Johnson subsequently received an unsatisfactory-annual performance rating from Washington for the period ending June 8, 2010. Thereafter, Johnson used the MCPB's appellate process for review of her unsatisfactory-performance rating. Ultimately, the MCPB affirmed Johnson's rating. Johnson received a "Letter of Determination" concerning the complaint she filed against the City from the EEOC. The Department of Justice did not elect to sue on Johnson's behalf, but advised that she was free to file suit on her own. The underlying matter in this appeal is the suit Johnson filed with regard to her EEOC complaint. The matter ended with judgment entered in favor of the City. After review of the parties' arguments on appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment on the merits and its denial of Johnson's post-judgment motions. The Court also affirmed the trial court's decision to award the City attorney fees. However, the Court reversed the judgment insofar as it set the amount of the fees, and remanded the case for recalculation of fees with reasons supporting the recalculation. View "Johnson v. City of Mobile" on Justia Law