In September of 2013, the United States Court of Appeals of Kentucky heard a case involving a man who worked for the defendant since 1995 as a security officer. He was one of only two African-American security officers. (See Hearn Sr. v. Brown-Forman Corp., 2013 WL 5436638 (Ky.App. 2013)). Plaintiff’s job was to protect the
employees and visitors at the defendant’s work site as well as to safeguard product.
During the course of his 13 years working for the defendant, the plaintiff did have a lengthy unsatisfactory work performance. But, yet, he still had his job. In January of 2008, plaintiff told his director that there possibly was a theft back in the summer of 2006. He also told him he felt that he was being discriminated against based on his race. He said that the black employees were getting searched more than the white employees upon leaving the premises. It should be noted that the plaintiff had previously filed charges with the EEOC raising race discrimination and retaliation issues back in 2005 and 2006, but upon these charges being dismissed, plaintiff never appealed or followed up on them. It is not clear if plaintiff did this on his own or had a Louisville Racial Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation lawyer.
Shortly after a meeting with his director, the director met with other supervisors and it was decided that they should terminate plaintiff for failing to timely notify them of the thefts. Plaintiff was terminated on February 5, 2008. He then filed another Charge with the EEOC alleging race discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation. He then filed his KCRA lawsuit. He did so with the assistance of a Louisville Racial Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation lawyer.
Discrimination cases can be either single motive or mixed motive claims. “A single motive claim is one in which an illegitimate reason motived the employer to take adverse employment action. A mixed motive claim is one in which both legitimate and illegitimate reasons motivated an employer’s decision.” (cites omitted).
In the case at hand, under both single motive and mixed motive, the plaintiff is not able to establish a prima facie case of race discrimination. Under both, the defendant is able to articulate a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for its decision to terminate the plaintiff and the plaintiff is not able to show pretext for his firing.
Next, as to the hostile work environment, in Kentucky the plaintiff must show that the hostile environment existed when the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment. Id. In the case at hand, the court held that the plaintiff was not able to prove any of the elements necessary to establish such a claim.
Finally, as to the retaliation claim, the court denied that claim as well. The plaintiff put forward circumstantial evidence to establish his prima facie case. Plaintiff claims that the close temporal proximity is sufficient to establish his prima facie case of retaliation. Plaintiff was terminated one week after he made his complaint of discrimination. The court noted that “temporal proximity, without more, does not support the inference of retaliatory conduct.” Id.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville Racial Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation case, please call and speak to a Louisville Racial Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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