Court finds no discrimination in corporation's treatment of foreign workers
Michael Haase and Andre Ley are German engineers who were given temporary work assignments by their employer, IAV GmbH in the United States. Under the terms of their work assignments, they had the right to return to equivalent jobs in Germany after their temporary U.S. assignment ended. They claimed that they suffered health problems as a consequence of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the U.S. building where they were assigned to work, however, the employer could not substantiate the cause of the problem. They were "accommodated" by voluntary leaves under the FMLA until assignments were located off-site with customers.They claimed that they had been subjected to illegal adverse employment consequences as a result of their national origin and pointed to various comments and rationalizations offered by a supervisor who essentially told them that "if they weren't happy, they could return home to their guaranteed jobs in Germany." The lower court and the Court of Appeals termed these comments "stray remarks" unrelated to ethnic discrimination and not associated with any adverse employment action. Rather, the judges deemed the basic remark a factual statement of the employees' unique employment arrangement and their leaves and off-site assignments to be accommodations for their unprove medical complaints.