Mohegan Tribe protected from discrimination lawsuits at casino

The Mohegan Sun Casino. Photo from Facebook

The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut cannot be sued by a former casino employee who claimed she was wrongly terminated, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday.

Elizabeth Tremblay, a former Mohegan Sun employee, filed suit under the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. But the court noted that Congress exempted tribes and their enterprises from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

"Because the defendant here is a corporation owned by an agency of a federally recognized American Indian tribe, it is not an employer under Title VII," the 2nd Circuit stated in a summary order.

On the other hand, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is silent when it comes to tribes as employers. However, the court said Congress did not clearly state whether the law waives tribal immunity.

"Congress has not unequivocally expressed its purpose to abrogate tribal sovereign immunity pursuant to the ADEA, nor has plaintiff identified any applicable waiver of immunity from such suits in federal court," the decision stated. "Accordingly, tribal sovereign immunity barred Tremblay’s ADEA claim."

Tremblay could ask the 2nd Circuit to rehear the case or she could take it to the U.S. Supreme Court. She represented herself in her appeal.

Turtle Talk has posted briefs from the case, Tremblay v. Mohegan Sun Casino.

2nd Circuit Decision:
Tremblay v. Mohegan Sun Casino (April 7, 2015)

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