Hackett v. City of South Bend, No. 19-2574 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Hackett, a South Bend patrolman and an Air National Guard reservist, applied to become a bomb squad technician. Membership on the squad did not constitute a promotion or immediately affect an officer’s pay but could lead to additional work and specialty pay. Hackett was not among the three officers selected. He testified that the director of human resources said that he was the most qualified candidate but was not selected because of his pending seven-month deployment. Hackett filed complaints with the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor. The city then offered Hackett a bomb squad position. Other squad members were informed that one would have to give up his position for Hackett. Hackett claims he was never allowed to complete the training. Around the same time, Hackett applied for a promotion. Hackett was deployed when applicants were scheduled to interview. The department moved Hackett’s interview but Hackett was unable to timely submit his work sample.
Hackett sued under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, 38 U.S.C. 4301. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the city, rejecting a new hostile work environment claim as forfeited. Hackett failed to challenge findings that his exclusion from the bomb squad did not constitute a materially adverse employment action and that no reasonable jury could find that the promotion process was tainted by any impermissible motive.