BUSINESS LAW: Race discrimination claims

2013-12-21T11:43:00Z BUSINESS LAW: Race discrimination claimsJames L. Jorgensen Times Business Columnist
December 21, 2013 11:43 am  • 

As we have noted in the past, Title VI prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment based on that individual’s race.

Sadly, this type of discrimination still occurs.

To establish a claim, the employee must first establish he is in the protected class (in this case, by race). Second, the employee must establish that he suffered an “adverse” employment action (typically, but not necessarily, termination).

There are two more elements to the claim. The employee must establish he was qualified for the position.

In many cases, the employer’s legitimate business decision for the adverse action defeats this criteria. In other words, due to poor performance, insubordination, etc., the employee was not qualified for the position.

The fourth element needed to establish a claim of racial discrimination is evidence that a similarly situated employee outside of the protected class was treated more favorably than he was.

In a recent case, the employee failed to establish this fourth element. A black employee was accused of stealing from customers and was terminated. The employee was unable to prove a white employee had also been accused of theft, but was not fired.

Since there wasn’t a similarly situated employee who was treated differently, the claim of racial discrimination failed.

Opinions are solely the writer's. James Jorgensen practices law at Hoeppner Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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