Georgia Woman’s Employment Law Claims Dismissed by Federal Court

There are several types of claims that may be possible in at Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuit. First, the plaintiff may allege that he or she was not hired, was fired, or was not promoted because of his or her race, color, gender, age, or disability. The plaintiff may further allege that he or she made a report of such discrimination and that, as a result, was the victim of some type of unlawful retaliation in the workplace.

It is important to note that the plaintiff has the burden of proof in most types of civil cases, including those involving employment law issues. Thus, it is important for the plaintiff to hire an experienced attorney who can help him or her review the facts, gather evidence, and prepare the case for trial.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was an African American woman who worked for the defendant employer from June 2013 to December 2015. During the first few months of her employment, the plaintiff and one co-worker were the only employees in the defendant’s headquarters. The plaintiff, who worked in community relations, reported directly to the other employee. After a while, additional employees were brought into the headquarters, and the plaintiff was given an option to whether to stay in the same department or transfer to a different department. The plaintiff chose to remain in the same role, but, according to the defendant, certain “performance issues” arose, and the plaintiff was terminated from her employment.

After her termination, the plaintiff instigated several legal proceedings, including an application for unemployment benefits, a criminal warrant against an attorney who was a member of the defendant’s board of directors, and a lawsuit alleging that the defendant had engaged in disparate treatment and had wrongfully retaliated against her. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law as to the plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims in federal court.

The District Court’s Decision

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Augusta Division, granted the defendant’s motion, directing the clerk to enter judgment in the defendant’s favor as to all of the plaintiff’s claims. The court began by reviewing the rules applicable to motions for summary judgment: in order to succeed on such a motion , the moving party had to be able to show that there was an absence of disputed issues of material fact appropriate for a jury’s consideration and that, thus, summary judgment was appropriate. In order to dispute such a motion, the opposing party had to produce evidence sufficient to convince the trial court that there were disputed facts, material to the outcome of the litigation and appropriate for the finder of fact at trial.

With regard to the plaintiff’s employment law claims for disparate treatment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal district court found that, by failing to file documents in opposition to the defendant’s statement of facts, the plaintiff (who attempted to represent herself in the case) had effectively admitted that her termination was due to her consistent performance issues in the workplace. In so holding, the court also found that the plaintiff had admitted that she had no evidence that she had been treated differently because of her race; according to the court, the only evidence offered by the plaintiff was a statement by a supervisor to the effect that the plaintiff was “full of drama.” Without more, the plaintiff could not establish an objectively reasonable belief that she was treated differently due to her race.

Consult an Attorney About an Atlanta Discrimination Case

If you have been fired recently, you may be wondering whether you have an unlawful discrimination claim against your employer. At Parks, Chesin & Walbert, our knowledgeable employment discrimination attorneys regularly advise those who have been the victims of unlawful adverse employment decisions. For an appointment to learn more about how we can help with your case, call us at 404-873-8048.

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