Federal Court in Georgia Dismisses Employment Discrimination Claim Filed by African American Employee of Sudanese Origin

When an employee believes that he or she has been wrongfully discriminated against in the workplace, there are several steps that must be taken in order to assert an Atlanta employment discrimination claim. These cases tend to be very fact-specific, and it is important for the record to be fully and effectively developed as the case proceeds towards trial.

An experienced employment law attorney can help an employee who has been fired or passed over for a new job or a promotion as he or she seeks justice in the court system. Thus, one of the most important steps in the process of holding a discriminatory employer accountable for its wrongdoing is talking to an attorney who handles these types of cases.

After filing certain paperwork with the proper state and/or federal agencies, the employee’s next step will be to file a lawsuit, that is, a formal complaint in a court of law. In many cases, the complaint is met with great resistance, often including one or more motions to dismiss the employee’s case.

Facts of the Case

In a federal district court case filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, the plaintiff employee (an African American male of Sudanese origin) began working for the defendant employer in 2000. By late 2015, the plaintiff had achieved the highest pay grade for his job as a production technician. In 2016, the defendant created a separate position (lead quality technician) that was at a higher salary grade. Although the plaintiff did not apply for the position, he later expressed anger that he had not progressed to the salary grade that the position would have afforded him.

Owing to his frustration with this and other events in the workplace, the plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2018, asserting several accusations of misconduct by the defendant. After the EEOC issued him a right-to-sue letter, the plaintiff filed suit in federal court, asserting that the defendant had engaged in race and/or national original discrimination against him in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and/or 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The matter was referred to a magistrate judge, who issued a report and recommendation that the federal district court grant summary judgment to the defendant.

The Decision in the Case

The district court adopted the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation, thereby granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Although the plaintiff insisted that the defendant had discriminated against him by not promoting him to a higher-paying position, the court found that the plaintiff had failed to establish a prima facie case of race or national origin discrimination. With regard to the two possible promotions asserted by the plaintiff, the plaintiff never applied for the first position and was unable to show that he applied for the other, that he was rejected, and/or that an equally or less qualified person outside of his protected class got the second promotion.

With regard to the plaintiff’s retaliation claim, a certain letter upon which he relied in order to support his claim was apparently never received by the defendant and, thus, could not have been the basis for any alleged retaliation. The court likewise found no merit to the plaintiff’s remaining allegations regarding the defendant’s alleged retaliation against him. The court also noted that the plaintiff  had attempted to assert a claim for an allegedly hostile work environment but that this claim was procedurally barred because it was neither included in his EEOC charge nor could it be reasonably expected to grow out of the EEOC charge (which only contained accusations regarding promotion, transfer, replacement, and overtime).

Seek Legal Advice from a Knowledgeable Employment Law Firm in Atlanta

Employment law claims such as those involving allegations of discrimination based on race or national origin must be filed within a certain time period in order to be considered valid. In addition to the time imposed by the more familiar “statute of limitations” for the particular type of claim involved, there may also be other, much shorter, and less well-known deadlines for taking legal action. To schedule an appointment to learn more about our firm and how we can help you in your pursuit of justice against an employer who has acted unlawfully, please contact Parks, Chesin & Walbert at 404-873-8048 or via the contact form on this website. A member of our employment law team will be happy to tell you more about our services.

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