The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in Hernandez v. Valley View Hospital Assoc. on Tuesday, June 26, 2012.
The Tenth Circuit reversed in part and affirmed in part the district court’s decision. Petitioner, “a Latina of Mexican origin, began working in 2001 at Valley View in the food services department. Petitioner alleges that during the time there, her supervisors “frequently made racially derogatory jokes and comments about Latinos and Mexicans, and continued to do so despite her complaints to them that their remarks were offensive.” Valley View denied her transfer request to any other position besides food services, but offered her leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which she accepted. Before her leave time expired, she again asked for a transfer, which was denied, and when she failed to report back to work she was terminated.
On her hostile work environment and constructive discharge claims, the Court agreed with Petitioner that the district court incorrectly applied the summary judgment standards “by failing to construe evidence in the light most favorable to her as the non-moving party, and by resolving factual issues in favor of defendants.” Additionally, Petitioner presented sufficient evidence of a hostile work environment to withstand Valley View’s motion for summary judgment; she “presented specific examples of her supervisors’ racial jokes, identified general time frames, and provided the relevant content and context of these comments.” The Court affirmed the dismissal of her retaliation claim as time-barred.