Witham v. Intown Suites Louisville Ne., LLC, No. 15-5734 (6th Cir. Mar. 10, 2016).
A man came into the lobby of a Louisville hotel and tried to get a can of root beer from a vending machine. The machine dispensed a bottle of water instead, so the man complained to Amy Witham, the hotel’s general manager. Witham told him that only guests could use the vending machine. This comment provoked the man, and a heated shouting match ensued in which Witham egged on the irate man, dared him to jump across the counter to get at her, and blocked the man from leaving through the hotel’s front door. Witham and the man then launched into a physical fight that culminated in Witham clawing at the man’s face and the man slamming her to the floor.
All of this was caught on the hotel’s cameras.
Witham was suspended from work. A few days later, she applied for workers’ comp—apparently for the injuries she sustained during the altercation. The same day she applied for workers’ comp, she was fired.
Witham now argues that she was fired in retaliation for filing her workers’ comp claim—an act that would violate Kentucky law. The hotel insists it fired her because of the argument and fight. The Sixth Circuit concludes that Witham has come up with no evidence that the hotel’s explanation for the firing was just a ruse covering up its real motivation. It affirms the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the hotel.