Nilsson v. City of Mesa, 503 F.3d 947 (9th Cir. 2007)

Christine Nilsson applied for a position as a police officer with the City of Mesa, Arizona. In conjunction with her application, Nilsson signed a waiver of any and all claims against the police department. During the application process, Nilsson disclosed that she had been involved in an EEOC dispute with the Tempe police department (a prior employer), that she had been involved in civil proceedings in 1983, 1988, 1991 and 1992, that she had filed a workers’ compensation claim and that she had been involved in a labor board proceeding. When Nilsson later failed a psychological evaluation, she was not hired by the Mesa police department. The district court granted summary judgment to the City, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the waiver barred Nilsson’s claims for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Although the waiver did not bar Nilsson’s retaliation claims under state or federal law, the Court held she had failed to prove that the reason the City gave for not hiring her (her failure to pass the psychological evaluation) was pretextual. Cf. Dent v. Cox Communications Las Vegas, Inc., 502 F.3d 1141 (9th Cir. 2007) (Department of Labor supervised settlement of overtime claim did not bar claim for unpaid wages from an earlier period).