In January of 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky decided a case that alleged gender discrimination, race discrimination and retaliation. (See Couch v. Donahoe, 2013 WL 139814 (W.D. KY 2013)).
Plaintiff began to work for the United States Postal Service in 1993. Plaintiff is an African American female. Plaintiff claims that during the last five years of her service with the Defendant that she was subject to gender discrimination, race discrimination and retaliation. She even filed four complaints with the EEOC one in 2008, one in 2009, and two in 2010.
“Plaintiff asserts claims of race and sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964…” Id. “To establish a prima facie case of discrimination, the plaintiff must demonstrate that she 1) is a member of a protected class, 2) was qualified for her job, 3) suffered an adverse employment action, and 4) was treated differently than similarly situated non-protected employees.” (cites omitted).
In the case at hand, Plaintiff alleged that a co-worker harassed her and that another coworker intentionally bumped her once. Defendant claims that Plaintiff cannot satisfy the third and fourth prongs. And the Court agreed. Plaintiff did not show that she suffered an adverse employment action. “Plaintiff has not been demoted, discharged, or lost benefits or duties. To the contrary, Plaintiff applied for and receive a higher level job with better pay.” Id. Also, the Court held that “Plaintiff has not offered evidence that she was treated differently than a similarly–situated person outside the protected class.” Id.
But, the Court does go on and assumes arguendo that Plaintiff proved her case. It then says that the Defendant has offered a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason with regard to how Plaintiff’s complaints were handled as compared to other complaints of other employees. And they were done in the same fashion.
It is at this time that the Plaintiff must show “pretext.” “To satisfy this burden, plaintiff must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the proffered reason 1) had no basis in fact, 2) did not actually motivate the decision, or 3) that it was insufficient to motivate the decision. (cites omitted). A plaintiff may not show pretext by merely questioning her employer’s business judgment.” (cites omitted).
Next, a Plaintiff may establish a prima facie hostile work environment claim by showing that “1 the plaintiff “is a member of a protected class” 2 the plaintiff “was subjected to unwelcomed racial (or sexual) harassment,” 3 “the harassment was race (or sex) based,” 4) “the harassment unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s work performance by creating an environment that was intimidating, hostile, or offensive,” and 5) “employer liability.” (cites omitted). The Louisville hostile work environment must be both objectively and subjectively hostile. Id. The Court in this case held that a few notable incidents over a five-year period far from demonstrate an objectively hostile work environment. Id.
Finally, as to the Louisville retaliation claim, the plaintiff must establish that “1, he engaged in activity protected by Title VII, 2, the exercise of his civil rights was known to the defendant, 3, thereafter, the defendant took an employment action adverse tot eh plaintiff, and 4, there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action.” (cites omitted). The Court in the case at hand held that Plaintiff had not shown that her supervisors subjected her to any adverse employment action. Id. So, the Court in this Louisville retaliation claim case dismissed it as well.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville gender discrimination, race discrimination, or retaliation case, please call and speak to a Louisville gender discrimination, race discrimination, or retaliation lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!