Johnson v. Halstead, No. 17-10223 (5th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of qualified immunity to defendant, the chief of police, on plaintiff's hostile work environment claim where plaintiff, a police sergeant, sufficiently alleged that he sustained harassment that undermined his ability to work and defendant was deliberately indifferent to this racially hostile work environment.
The court also affirmed the district court's denial of qualified immunity on 42 U.SC. 1981 claims where plaintiff's allegations of a retaliatory shift change supported a claim of unlawful retaliation that a reasonable officer would know was unlawful. However, the court reversed as to plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 First Amendment retaliation claim where defendant was entitled to qualified immunity, because it was not clearly established that an internal complaint of discrimination made only to supervisors, primarily to vindicate one's own rights, qualified as speech made as a citizen rather than as an employee. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on February 14, 2019.