Race Discrimination: African-American Sales Representative Has Viable Race Discrimination Claim

A recent race discrimination case from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania demonstrates evidence which can effectively support a race discrimination claim. In Clark v. Kraft Foods, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72330 (E. D. Pa. May 22, 2013) (DuBois, J.), the Plaintiff employee filed a race discrimination claim against his former employer under 42 U.S.C. §1981. In denying a Motion for Reconsideration, for the second time the court ruled that the Plaintiff’s race discrimination case will proceed to trial.

In Clark, the court again found that the employee established an inference of discrimination by showing that he received “high marks for meeting sales objectives”, including sales awards, identified a Caucasian Sales Representative who was not terminated for a similar offense, presented anecdotal evidence of his supervisor’s racial animus, and presented a pattern of discriminatory treatment toward African-American Sales Representatives in defendant’s Horsham, PA office. The Court also determined that genuine disputes of material fact remained as to whether plaintiff could show that the legitimate reason provided by defendant was a pretext because the incident that caused his termination was not his fault, the complaint that led to his Final Warning was never made and the different treatment of a Caucasian Sales Representative for a similar offense. While the plaintiff admitted that there were some complaints about his job performance, the Court concluded that a reasonable jury could credit plaintiff’s argument that those deficiencies arose from racially discriminatory interference with merchandiser scheduling.

In its most recent decision the Court noted that in the context of a prima facie case of race discrimination where the employee is employed in a sales position, the proper standard requires only that the plaintiff show he was “qualified” for the position, which may be shown by a good sales record and the fact that plaintiff twice received a top regional sales award. Another key finding supporting the Plaintiff’s claim was evidence that a Caucasian sales representative was treated better. This evidence included that fact that even though the Caucasian had items of out of code product when the plaintiff took over the Caucasian’s stores, the Caucasian was not disciplined.

Other key evidence included a disproportionate history of imposing discipline on African-American sales representatives, having terminated five African-American sales representatives and constructively discharged a sixth, and the fact that no African-American sales representatives were promoted and not made aware of promotional and developmental opportunities.

For more information about race discrimination and Abramson Employment Law see http://www.job-discrimination.com/lawyer-attorney-2130158.html

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