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United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
June 1, 2022, Argued; October 27, 2022, Decided
Docket No. 21-1002-cv
[*81] Chin, Circuit Judge:
In this [**2] case, plaintiff-appellant William Gunnar Truitt, an employee of defendant-appellee Salisbury Bank and Trust Company (the "Bank"), announced his candidacy for a New York State Assembly seat. The Bank thereafter advised Truitt that he had to choose between running for office and continuing his employment with the Bank. Truitt decided not to discontinue his campaign, and his employment with the Bank ended.
Truitt brought this action below, contending that the Bank violated New York Labor Law § 201-d by requiring him to cease protected political activity as a condition of retaining his employment at the Bank. ] The statute makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate against an employee for engaging in, inter alia, specified political activities outside of working hours. N.Y. Lab. Law § 201-d(2)(a). Protected activities expressly include "running for public office." Id. § 201-d(1)(a). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Bank, concluding, as a matter of law, that because Truitt voluntarily resigned from his position and was not constructively discharged, his suit could not succeed. The court thereafter denied Truitt's motion for reconsideration, and this appeal followed.
For the reasons discussed below, we vacate [**3] the judgment and remand.
[*82] A. The Facts 1
On February 26, 2018, Truitt, a part-time Dutchess County legislator, began working for the Bank as a full-time mortgage lending officer trainee. As a trainee, Truitt began a six-month training program, to be followed by a four-month secondary training program. Upon successful completion of both programs, Truitt would be promoted to a full-time mortgage loan officer position in January 2019. Truitt's employment with the Bank was at-will, and both he and the Bank could "terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any legal reason, with or without cause, with or without notice." Joint App'x at 390 (emphasis added).
On April 12, 2018, Truitt announced on Facebook that he was running as a Republican candidate in the upcoming election for the New York State Assembly seat in the 106th District. Candidates elected to the New York State Legislature serve as part-time legislators during the legislative session, which lasts from January to June, in Albany, New York. Truitt did not let the Bank know he decided to run for the seat before he made the announcement.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
52 F.4th 80 *; 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 29912 **
WILLIAM GUNNAR TRUITT, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SALISBURY BANK AND TRUST COMPANY and SALISBURY BANCORP, INC., Defendants-Appellees.
Prior History: ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK. Appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Román, J.), dismissing plaintiff-appellant's complaint and an order denying his motion for reconsideration. Plaintiff-appellant brought this employment action, claiming that defendants-appellees discharged him in violation of New York Labor Law § 201-d [**1] because he chose to campaign for election to a seat in the New York State Assembly. The statute bars an employer from discriminating against an employee for engaging in, inter alia, certain outside political activities, including running for public office. The district court granted defendants-appellees' motion for summary judgment, holding that plaintiff-appellant voluntarily resigned and was not constructively discharged.
Disposition: VACATED AND REMANDED.
campaign, elected, adverse employment action, political activity, reasonable jury, district court, assemblymember, discharged, resigned, seat, summary judgment, working hours, email, non-discriminatory, termination, mortgage, announced, per year, conditions, deposition, candidate, lending
Labor & Employment Law, Retaliation, Elements, Protected Activities, Wrongful Termination, Public Policy, Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Judgments, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appellate Review, Standards of Review, Genuine Disputes, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Business & Corporate Compliance, Labor & Employment Law, Wage & Hour Laws, Wage Payments, Governments, State & Territorial Governments, Employees & Officials, Remedies, Injunctions, Local Governments, Elections, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Burden Shifting, Disparate Treatment, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Discrimination, Actionable Discrimination, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Freedoms, Freedom of Speech, Public Employees, Adverse Employment Actions