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Quality Care Investors, L.P. fights, wins retaliation suit under Title VII

Quality Care Investors, L.P., a nursing home in Tennessee, was involved in a Title VII retaliation lawsuit filed by a former employee of a third-party contractor that provided onsite rehabilitation services to Quality Care’s residents. Quality Care successfully argued before the district court that the plaintiff did not have an actionable Title VII claim against it because Quality Care was not the plaintiff’s joint employer and did not control the plaintiff’s access to her employment opportunities with her direct employer, the onsite contractor. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee awarded summary judgment to Quality Care.

The plaintiff subsequently appealed the district court’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, who affirmed the district court’s ruling for two reasons. First, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Quality Care was the plaintiff’s joint employer. Second, Quality Care did not control the plaintiff’s access to her employment opportunities because the onsite contractor that directly employed her retained the sole power to remove the plaintiff from Quality Care’s facility and to offer her employment opportunities at one of its other clients’ facilities. Consequently, the plaintiff could not show that Quality Care qualified as her “employer” within the meaning of Title VII, and awarding summary judgment in Quality Care’s favor was appropriate.

Waller represented Quality Care throughout the discovery period and summary judgment proceedings before the district court, as well as the appeal proceedings before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

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Marcus Crider
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