Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Summary Judgment in Employment Discrimination/Retaliation Matter
A plaintiff claimed his employer discriminated against him because of his non-Japanese origin and retaliated against him when he complained about the discrimination. The district court granted summary judgment for the employer, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that determination. Schirle v. Sokudo USA, L.L.C., et al., No. 11-10788 (5th Cir. July 31, 2012), available at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/unpub/11/11-10788.0.wpd.pdf.
To survive a motion for summary judgment on a discrimination claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate that he: (1) is a member of a protected group; (2) was qualified for the position at issue; (3) was discharged or suffered some adverse employment action; and (4) was replaced by someone outside his protected group. Here, the plaintiff showed that he was stripped of certain sales responsibilities. The Court held that this diminishment of material responsibilities satisfied the adverse action requirement. The employer offered no legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for assigning the plaintiff’s responsibilities to a “Japanese” employee, so summary judgment was inappropriate.
To establish a prima facie case of retaliation, a plaintiff must show a causal connection between the plaintiff’s complaint of discrimination and an adverse employment action. The plaintiff showed that he complained specifically of racial/national origin discrimination and that he was stripped of his sales responsibilities just a month later. The Court found this close timing satisfied the causal connection requirement and that summary judgment on this claim was inappropriate.
Press Release Contact Information:
KEITH A. CLOUSE
Clouse Dunn LLP
214.220.3833 ( fax)
Other News / Press Releases
- Using Facebook in Employment-Related Litigation
- First Impression Case: Fifth Circuit Rules on Ministerial Exception to Employment Discrimination Law
- An Employer Asks: Do We Have to Train an Older Worker on a New Computer System?
- Hurricane Sandy Prompts Employers to Evaluate Their Policies
- Dallas, Texas Employment Lawyer: Get Ready for Election Day
- Points to Consider Before a Deposition in Your Employment-Related Lawsuit
- Dallas Noncompete Lawyer Discusses Evolution of Texas Noncompete Law
- Dealing with Unrealistic Settlement Expectations
- No Tricks, Just Treats. Planning a Halloween Party at the Office.
- Confused About What the FLSA Does NOT Require?