In August of 2010, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky decided a case regarding a former Lexington, Kentucky employee who sued his former employer alleging race discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation. (See Meads v. Dixie consumer Products, LLC, 2010 WL 3168091 (E.D.Ky)). In Meads, the Plaintiff worked for Defendant from October of 2007 until November 2008. Early on, Plaintiff was involved in an incident and was required to sign a Last Chance Agreement on March 12, 2008.
Even so, Plaintiff’s career with Defendant advanced. Plaintiff went from auto/packer to training for the treater mechanic position. But, Plaintiff during the qualifying time for the new position did not do as well as his employer would have liked and thus it was determined that Plaintiff would continue on the qualification period for a little while longer. Because he was required to work a little longer in this qualification period Plaintiff called the company hotline and raised issues regarding his advancement and Kentucky racial discrimination.
Eventually, Plaintiff passed the qualification period and was deemed qualified for the treater mechanic position in September of 2008. While he was working for the Defendant, Plaintiff had not yet filed his race discrimination, hostile work environment or retaliation lawsuit. Then, shortly thereafter, Plaintiff was involved in a fight with another fellow employee. There was an investigation. It was concluded that Plaintiff did in fact participate in the fight and violated the company’s code of conduct. Plaintiff was given another chance and was required to sign another Last Chance Agreement.
Then, after Plaintiff returned to work, again, he was involved in another altercation with a different fellow employee. After another investigation it was determined that Plaintiff did have the altercation and again violated the Code of Conduct policy. Accordingly, Plaintiff was fired.
In this Kentucky race discrimination case; Plaintiff bore the burden to establish his prima facie case of race discrimination. The Court held that Plaintiff did not meet his burden in that he did not prove that he was qualified for the position or meeting his employer’s legitimate expectations as he had gotten in 2 altercations in a short period. Further, Plaintiff could not show that the employer’s reasoning for firing was pretextual and not based on a legitimate business reason.
As to Plaintiff’s Kentucky hostile work environment claim, Plaintiff needed to show that he 1) is a member of a protected class, 2) was subjected to unwelcomed racial harassment, 3) that the harassment was race based, 4) that the harassment unreasonably interfered with his work performance by creating an environment that was intimidating, hostile, or offensive, and 5) employer liability. The Court held that Plaintiff did not satisfy his burden on any of these points. He made no solid hostile work environment allegations.
And finally as to Plaintiff’s retaliation claim, Plaintiff needed to prove that he 1) engaged in protected activity, 2) his employer knew of the exercise of the protected right, 3) an adverse employment action was subsequently taken against him, and 4) there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action. To this the Court held that Plaintiff’s Kentucky retaliation claim failed as well. Plaintiff failed to show a causal connection between his termination and his complaints of racial discrimination.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky race discrimination matter, please call and speak to a Kentucky race discrimination lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Alitowski at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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