On August 28, 2015, the 7th Circuit affirmed summary judgment in a sex discrimination lawsuit brought under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. Packer v. Trustees of Indiana University, No. 15-1095 (7th Cir. 8-28-2015). The plaintiff alleged that her employer subjected her to various adverse treatment and discharged her from employment because of her gender. She also claimed that she was a victim of gender-based pay discrimination and retaliation for making internal complaints of discrimination. The employer contended that it discharged her for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons. There were not enough citations to specific portions of the record to counter the motion for summary judgment. For instance, the plaintiff did not identify any similarly situated male employees who were paid more than she was paid. Therefore, the court could not even reach the issue of whether there was justification for the pay disparity.
The plaintiff also alleged a breach of contract claim based on the Employee Handbook. However, the handbook contained an express disclaimer of the creation of any contractual rights. It is essential for employers to include in their employee handbooks an express disclaimer of contractual rights as well as a statement of at-will employment.