Articles Posted in Discrimination

It is unlawful for an employer to take adverse employment action against a worker (or would-be worker) based on matters such as age, sex, race, or disability. An employee who is aggrieved by such conduct should consult an Atlanta employment discrimination attorney about the possibility of filing an employment discrimination claim with the appropriate governmental agency (such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or court.

Remedies that may be available in such cases include injunctive relief, reinstatement, lost wages, and other money damages. The plaintiff has the initial burden of proving discrimination in such cases. As the case progresses, the defendant employer may allege that it has a legitimate reason for its actions. The plaintiff must then show that this reason was “pretext” rather than a true, lawful reason for the conduct at issue.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unpublished federal appeals court case, the plaintiff was a 52-year-old African American woman who worked  as a school secretary/registrar for the defendant school board for approximately two years. After her contract was not renewed and she was unable to find other work in the school district, the plaintiff filed suit in federal district court, alleging claims for racial discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983; age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621–34 (ADEA); and retaliation in violation of Title VII, § 1981, and the ADEA.

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In an Atlanta employment discrimination suit involving government officials as defendants, it is not unusual for defendants named in their individual capacity to seek dismissal of the claims against them based on qualified immunity. Although the doctrine of qualified immunity is complex, a court that grants dismissal of a claim based on qualified immunity is basically saying that a government official who performs a discretionary task in his or her official capacity should be shielded from suit. There are exceptions to qualified immunity, however. One of these involves situations in which the official violated a clearly established law (such as a constitutional right or a federal statute).

Facts of the Case

In a recent unpublished federal court case decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (which hears cases appealed from district courts in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida), the plaintiff was a former police officer who first joined the defendant city police department in 1997. He transferred to the defendant’s tactical unit in 2009; notably, the plaintiff’s application to transfer into the unit was initially denied but was granted after he filed a grievance with the personnel board. The plaintiff aspired to work in the unit’s K-9 department, but he was passed over, and white officers were given the positions when openings arose.

The defendant filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, complaining of the defendant sergeant’s failure to recommend him for a K-9 vacancy in 2013. In 2015, the EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter. In the meantime, the plaintiff had been injured in a motorcycle accident that limited him to administrative duties, and he subsequently retired. In his complaint, he sought legal redress under both 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983 and Title VII. The federal district court partially granted and partially denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The sergeant sought review of the district court’s decision, particularly its rejection of his claim for qualified immunity.

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When someone files an Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuit based on an alleged act of race, color, gender, or religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17, he or she must be able to establish that the defendant employer discriminated against him or her in the terms and conditions of his or her employment and that the plaintiff’s race, color, religion, or sex was a motivating factor in the defendant’s decision(s) concerning the plaintiff’s employment.

Motions for summary judgment are often filed by the defendant in employment discrimination lawsuits. If summary judgment is granted, all or part of the plaintiff’s claims are dismissed. If the motion is denied, the plaintiff’s case proceeds toward trial.

Facts of the Case

In a recent federal case, the plaintiff was a 56-year-old, dark-skinned, black Christian male who alleged that he had been the victim of unlawful employment discrimination and that he had been retaliated against for complaining about this unlawful discrimination. He filed suit against the defendant employer in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Columbus Department, seeking legal redress for the defendant’s failure to pay him for three day of work that he missed while he was on jury duty even though it paid a black woman for her time on jury duty; his supervisor’s failure to grant him religious accommodations on Sundays; certain “negative comments” by his supervisor following his complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and his termination the following month.

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In an Atlanta race discrimination lawsuit, the initial burden of proving wrongful conduct – such as a termination allegedly based on race or color – rests on the plaintiff.

If the plaintiff makes an acceptable showing of discrimination, the defendant is then given an opportunity to argue that the plaintiff’s termination (or other adverse employment action) was based on a legitimate reason rather than on the employee’s race, color, gender, age, etc.

When an employer offers what appears to be a legitimate reason for its conduct towards the employee, the burden then shifts back to the employee to show that the employer’s purported reason for its action was merely pretextual.

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In many Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuits, the employer makes an attempt to have the plaintiff’s case dismissed prior to trial via what is known as a “summary judgment” motion.

Summary judgment is appropriate only when the party seeking such relief is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Whether or not this is so revolves largely around the issue of whether there is anything that needs to be resolved by a jury as the trier of fact.

If the parties agree to the basic facts, the court may decide that summary judgment is appropriate. (It should be noted that both plaintiffs and defendants can file a motion for summary judgment, although the maneuver is much more common among defendants).

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When a veteran employee is suddenly let go from a job, it is not unusual for him or her to at least consider the possibility of filing an Atlanta employment discrimination claim. This is especially so if the employee believes that he or she was unlawfully let go based on a disability or because of his or her age, race, gender, or religion.

Those who think they may have an employment discrimination claim should talk to an attorney as soon as possible, as there are deadlines in such cases that, if not complied with, may result in dismissal of the employee’s claims when they are eventually filed.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a female African-American police detective who was abruptly terminated by the defendant city after 10 years of service. The chief of police of the city was also named as a defendant in the suit. The “ostensible reason” for the termination was that the plaintiff was absent without leave. However, the defendant had, only a few days prior to the termination, placed the plaintiff on indefinite administrative leave pending resolution of the issue of whether or not she could safely be subjected to a Taser Shock or exposed to pepper spray, given her physical condition (she suffered a heart attack in 2009).

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In an Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuit, a plaintiff may have several potential claims. Some of these may be claims under federal law, and some may be state law claims. In some situations, the defendants may include both a corporate or government employer and one or more individuals.

It is not unusual for some or all of the defendants in an employment discrimination or retaliation case to seek dismissal of the claims pending them prior to trial. It is up to the trial court to determine which claims are viable if such a motion is filed.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a civilian employee of the United States Army. In his suit against the Secretary of the Army, his former supervisor, and the deputy garrison commander, the plaintiff alleged that he had been subjected to unlawful employment discrimination due to his gender, age, national origin, and disabilities and that he had been retaliated against due to his complaints of unlawful discrimination. He sought legal redress under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e – 2000e17; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 – 12117;  the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 – 634; and Georgia state law.
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In order to be successful in an Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. This requires time, skill, and perseverance, so it is important to talk to an attorney who is experienced in this field of the law if you believe that you may have a case. In most cases, the court will dismiss the plaintiff’s claim(s) well in advance of trial if he or she is not able to put forth credible evidence to support his or her case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was an African American man who worked as a machine operator in the fabrication department of the defendant employer but was fired after an incident in which a fellow employee was arrested for possession of marijuana in the workplace. According to the employer’s version of events, the plaintiff could not explain what was in his hand in a video that was taken of an apparent interchange between him and the employee who was later arrested. The plaintiff contended, however, that he told the employer that another employee had asked him to buy her a drink and that it was her change that was in his hand. The parties agreed that, after this discussion concerning the video, the plaintiff was terminated from his employment.

After filing a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and being granted a right to letter, the plaintiff filed suit against the employer, as well as a supervisor, a manager, a human resources manager, and the vice-president of the company, asserting claims for disparate treatment and retaliation under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq, as well as for defamation. After the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Waycross Division, granted partial summary judgment to the individual defendants on the plaintiff’s Title VII claims, the employer filed a motion for summary judgment as to both claims pending against it.
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There are several different types of unlawful conduct that may be asserted in an Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuit: Sex discrimination, race or color discrimination, age discrimination, national origin discrimination, religious discrimination, and/or disability discrimination.

As with other types of civil cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. This is not always an easy task, given that an employer accused of wrongful conduct will often fight extremely hard against a finding of employment discrimination, so as to discourage other employees from also taking legal action.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who worked for the defendant county for approximately 20 years before applying for a construction director position in 2013 (her job at the time was “Planner III,” which involved coordinating the work of contractors, managing projects, and handling associated paperwork.) The defendant division director was responsible for interviewing candidates for the construction director position and making a recommendation to his supervisor. The plaintiff, along with several others, applied for the job and went through the interview process, but she was not offered the position. Rather, the job was offered to a male who had interviewed for the job, and, when he declined the offer, an offer was made to another male who did not interview for the position (the director knew this individual through other projects). After the second male also turned down the job, the spot was left open.
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In an Atlanta employment discrimination case, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff. In order to succeed at trial, the plaintiff must be able to prove each and every element of his or her case. Of course, the defendant in such a case is often quick to seek dismissal of the plaintiff’s lawsuit, sometimes before the discovery process has even begun. In some situations, dismissal of a particular complaint is warranted, but, more often, it is not.

Facts of the Case

In a recent employment discrimination case filed in federal court, the plaintiff was an African-American woman who began working for the defendant college in 2017. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, she was bullied at work and subjected to a hostile work environment. Approximately six weeks after she began her employment, the defendant terminated the plaintiff, allegedly verbally telling her that she was “just not a good fit” and then mailing her a letter stating that her discharge was due to her “failure to perform job duties as assigned.”

Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, asserting claims of race discrimination, retaliation, bullying, and harassment by a co-worker. Presumably after that proceeding had been completed, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant in federal court, asserting similar claims. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint.
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