My Employment Discrimination Case Just Got Moved to Georgia from Out of State. Now What?

Ours is a national and, in many cases, global economy. The realities of the world of work often include job changes or promotions that necessarily include relocation to a new state. If that’s happened to you and you’ve also suffered discrimination on the job, your case potential can present some unique challenges, such as a case that starts in one state but later gets transferred to another. If you’ve brought your lawsuit in Georgia — or the other side has successfully gotten your case moved to Georgia — then you need to be sure you have a skilled Georgia lawyer to represent you in your action.

A recruiter who relocated to Georgia was someone in that sort of position. C.J., a Black woman, worked for a company in suburban Detroit. C.J. was very successful at her job and earned a promotion to “field distribution leader.” As part of this new role, C.J. was tasked with launching a new program for the employer in Georgia, so she moved here.

Two years later, the company underwent a round of layoffs. The employer gave the workers two options: apply for one of the remaining positions or take early retirement. C.J. applied for a director role and a specialist job but got neither position, so she sued for age discrimination (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) and race discrimination (Title VII).

According to her lawsuit, three of the candidates the employer chose for its director positions were young White employees with less experience than she had. The recruiter brought her lawsuit in federal court in Michigan. The employer, however, sought to move the case further south: the Northern District of Georgia.

The Criteria for Transferring a Federal Case

The court in Michigan concluded that the case should be moved. In reaching its decision, the court highlighted seven factors for deciding whether or not to transfer a case:

  1. the convenience of the parties;
  2. the convenience of the witnesses;
  3. the relative ease of access to sources of proof;
  4. the availability of processes to compel attendance of unwilling witnesses;
  5. the cost of obtaining willing witnesses;
  6. the practical problems associated with trying the case most expeditiously and inexpensively; and
  7. the interest of justice.

Even though the federal court in Michigan had jurisdiction over the case and venue was proper in Michigan, the facts indicated that the Northern District of Georgia was “more convenient.” C.J. had moved from Michigan to Georgia after her promotion, which resulted in all parties being Georgia residents.

Also, all the nonparty witnesses were Georgia residents, except for two. That pair of witnesses resided in North Carolina and Florida. Furthermore, as the judge put it, the “allegedly discriminatory acts were felt in Georgia by a Georgia resident.”

This change doesn’t mean doom for the recruiter’s case; it merely means that her claims will go forward in Georgia, not Michigan.

The outcome may, however, require the recruiter to seek additional legal counsel. If you pursue a discrimination case in another state and your case gets moved to Georgia, you’ll need legal representation from someone who is authorized to practice law in this state and, if it’s a federal case, authorized to appear before the specific district court in question.

Whether your discrimination matter started out here or ended up here as a result of a motion to transfer, the skilled Atlanta employment discrimination attorneys at the law firm of Parks, Chesin & Walbert can help. Our team has a wealth of experience successfully representing workers harmed by race discrimination, age discrimination, and all other forms of illegal workplace discrimination. Contact us through this website or at 404-873-8048 to schedule a consultation.

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