Nutrien Ag Employment Case Headed to Ninth Circuit

Tommy “Shane” Boden appealed a discrimination complaint he filed against Nutrien Ag Solutions, his former employer, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals late last week. The lawsuit was entered on Friday, three days after the District of Idaho ruled to dismiss the complaint

The plaintiffs’ initial complaint, filed in June 2018, purported that Nutrien breached the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, Idaho’s Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Idaho common law 

Boden worked for Nutrien as an “agricultural salesperson” beginning in March 2014. The plaintiff reported that he sustained a work injury where he fell onto discarded metal framework materials while stepping off equipment. Although Boden immediately told his supervisor about the injury, the manager did not make a workplace injury report as required. 

Although the scrapes and bleeding healed, the plaintiff reportedly developed pain in his back and right leg due to the workplace incident, however, he was not permitted to submit a worker’s compensation claim since the initial report was never sent.  The complaint said that the manager told the plaintiff he did not want to attempt a worker’s compensation claim “because the paperwork was ‘two feet high.’” 

When talking with the Snake River Division Manager, the plaintiff alleged he was also treated poorly, including being told that he knew better and questioned about whether he was trying to get the company to cover prior injuries. The plaintiff purported that after this conversation his manager would not speak to him and the division manager would not return his calls. Boden also reported that his manager told another employee that he tried to fire Boden every day. Boden claimed that the two managers made untrue accusations against him.  

Another employee was hired for the same position, and the manager sent him to visit clients which Boden already provided service to but did not want Boden to know.  Later in 2016, Boden was fired “because his numbers were not meeting (Nutrien)’s requirements,” but Boden said that he still had time to reach the goals and that the newly hired salesman was interfering with his accounts. The division manager reportedly told a customer that “he had hired someone younger who could offer more services to the customer.” 

The district court addressed these claims and the defendant’s allegations in its order which was filed last week. It dismissed Americans with Disabilities Act and Age Discrimination Act claims with prejudice, but dismissed the retaliation claim without prejudice. 

Boden is represented by Casperson Ulrich Dustin and Nutrien is represented by Kirton McConkie and Bailey & Glasser