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Media Alerts - Juino v. Livingston Parish Fire District No. 5 - Fifth Circuit
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May 31, 2013
  Juino v. Livingston Parish Fire District No. 5 - Fifth Circuit
Headline: Fifth Circuit Rules that Volunteer Firefighter Cannot Sue Under Title VII for Workplace Harassment.

Area of Law: Employment Discrimination.

Issue Presented: Whether a volunteer firefighter who does not receive a salary but receives incidental benefits can be considered an employee and obtain relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Brief Summary: Rachel Juino, a volunteer firefighter, sued the Livingston Parish Fire District No. 5, a political subdivision of the state of Louisiana, claiming sex discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Juino claimed that she was subjected to sexual harassment multiple times by a fellow firefighter and that no disciplinary action was taken against him. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana dismissed the suit, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed.

The Fifth Circuit held that Juino was not an "employee" within the meaning of Title VII. Under Title VII, it is illegal "for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's . . . sex." Furthermore, an "employee" under Title VII is defined as "an individual employed by an employer." Because this definition is circular, the court looked to common law doctrine to help define it, and as a matter of first impression, the court adopted the threshold-remuneration test. The court reasoned that Juino did not meet the threshold for remuneration for receiving incidental benefits of $2.00 per fire/emergency call, a life insurance policy, a full firefighter's uniform and badge, firefighting and emergency response gear, and firefighting and emergency first-response training. The court also stated that providing a remedy for plaintiffs in Juino's position under Title VII was in the legislature's realm and not its own.

For the full opinion, please see: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/op...2/12-30274-CV0.wpd.pdf.

Panel: Chief Judge Stewart and Circuit Judges Smith and Wiener

Argument Date: 03/04/2013

Date of Issued Opinion: 05/30/2013

Docket Number: No. 12-30274

Decided: Affirmed

Case Alert Author: Deena Herndon-Remy

Counsel: Winston G. DeCuir, Jr., DeCuir, Clark & Adams, L.L.P., for Plaintiff-Appellant Juino; Henry DuPont Heck Olinde, Jr., Olinde & Mercer, L.L.C., for Defendant-Appellee Livingston Parish Fire District No. 5

Author of Opinion: Chief Judge Stewart

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor: Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl

    Posted By: Aaron Bruhl @ 05/31/2013 08:48 PM     5th Circuit  

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