Employees who claim discrimination was the reason they were fired have to show that they were meeting their employer’s legitimate job expectations. Employees fired for insubordination have a hard time proving that—especially if their employer can point to specific facts that prove insubordination.
Recent case: Larry Spease, who is black, was supposed to remain in the Fayetteville public works equipment yard at all times to guard against theft. When he failed to do so, he was fired.
He sued, charging race discrimination. But the court dismissed his complaint because he couldn’t prove he was meeting his employer’s legitimate expectations. (Spease v. Public Works Commission of Fayetteville, No. 08-1406, 4th Cir., 2010)
Final note: The court also pointed out that a black supervisor had disciplined Spease and that he was replaced by another black applicant, further disproving his discrimination claim.