Federal Employment Discrimination Claim Falls Due to Lack of Proof of Different Treatment to Similarly Situated Employee

To prove an Atlanta employment discrimination claim, the plaintiff must do more than simply allege that he or she was treated unfairly due to his or her age, race, gender, or other protected status. Rather, there must be competent evidence to show that the plaintiff suffered adverse treatment but a similarly situated employee who was not part of the protected class that included the plaintiff was treated differently. Without this important evidence, the plaintiff’s case will most likely be dismissed before trial.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent federal court case was an African-American man who was terminated from his job as a patient care technician at the defendant hospital after a brief physical altercation with a psychiatric patient. According to the defendant, the reason for the termination was that the plaintiff had violated the defendant’s policy against inappropriate behavior toward, or discourteous treatment of, a patient. In the defendant’s view, the plaintiff “went beyond what [was] appropriate during the altercation and was rightfully terminated. The plaintiff maintained, however, that he had been the victim of unlawful employment discrimination on account of his race.

The federal district court granted summary judgment to the defendant, agreeing that the plaintiff had failed to establish a prima facie case of race discrimination in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e-2(a) insomuch as he failed to demonstrate a situation in which the defendant had treated a similarly situated employee outside of the plaintiff’s protected class in a more favorable manner. The district court agreed with the defendant and granted its motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed.

The Outcome on Appeal

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed, agreeing that the plaintiff had failed to meet the burden of proof that was required in order for his case to more forward to trial. In the reviewing court’s view, the plaintiff’s failure to show that the defendant’s proffered reason for firing him – his violation of their policy regarding treatment of agitated patients – was merely pretextual.

Although the plaintiff had offered evidence of the defendant’s treatment of a different employee under what he insisted were similar circumstances, the appellate court did not agree that the employee at issue was similarly situated to the plaintiff in all material respects. For one thing, the other employee was not shown to have engaged in the same basic misconduct. Furthermore, the plaintiff and the other employee did not share a similar employment history.

Without proof that a similarly situated employee outside of the plaintiff’s protected class had engaged in the same basic conduct, been subject to the same policies and guidelines, worked under the same supervisor, and shared a similar history at work, yet been treated differently, the court found that the plaintiff’s discrimination claim failed.

Talk to a Lawyer About an Atlanta Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

It is not right for some employees to be treated differently just because of the color of their skin, their gender, or their age. If you have been discriminated against based on your race, gender, age, or other protected status, you may be entitled to pursue an appropriate legal remedy against your employer or another entity. To learn more about our services, please call the experienced employment discrimination attorneys at Parks, Chesin & Walbert at 404-873-8048.

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