Copyright (c) 1998 University of Detroit Mercy Law Review
University of Detroit Mercy Law Review
CASENOTE: MASTER AND SERVANT - Judgment - To Survive A Motion For Summary Disposition, An Employee Must Establish That The Employer's Proffered Reason For Termination Was A Pretext To Discrimination. Lytle v. Malady, 566 N.W.2d 582 (Mich. 1997).
75 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 761
Valerie S. Rup
On January 29, 1973, Nancy Lytle was hired as a general clerk for the human resources department of Howmet Turbine Components Corporation (Howmet). 1 Upon commencing her employment, Lytle was issued an employee manual stating that no employee would be terminated without proper cause. 2 In 1981, Howmet revised its employee manual by adding a disclaimer establishing an at-will employment policy to justify termination without cause. 3 Howmet implemented its policy revision by inserting the disclaimer in new employee manuals. 4 Although Lytle was responsible for inserting the disclaimer into new employee manuals, she was not specifically issued the revision. 5
Throughout the course of her employment, Lytle received exemplary performance evaluations and assurances of continued employment from her supervisor, John Ozar (Ozar). 6 In 1979, Ozar promoted Lytle to the position of employment manager. 7 As part of Lytle's new duties, she trained Walter Boczkaja (Boczkaja), who remained her subordinate until 1989. 8
Ozar retired and was replaced by William Roof (Roof) during the 1984-85 fiscal year. 9 Subsequently, Roof decentralized the human resources department and hired Michael Malady (Malady) to head the Whitehall Machine Products Division of Howmet's Ti-Ingot Division. 10 Lytle was then reassigned to the Ti-Ingot Division where Malady became her supervisor. 11
In June of 1987, a personality conflict developed between Lytle and Malady. 12 Lytle's subsequent employment evaluation noted a decline in performance. 13 In January of 1989, Lytle's job title was changed from human resources representative to human resources ...
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