Employees who allege they were terminated because they belong to a protected class will have a tough time winning the lawsuit if their replacement belongs to the same class—at least when the new hire comes on board before the terminated employee files her EEOC complaint or lawsuit.
Recent case: Yvonne Fleming, a black woman, was fired from her job with an Italian fashion designer. That day, another black woman replaced her. Fleming sued for discrimination.
The court dismissed her lawsuit, reasoning that it made no sense to fire a black person because of her race and then hire another one at the same time. (Fleming v. MaxMara USA, et al., No. 09-3183, 2nd Cir., 2010)
Note: The court noted that it might have seemed like the employer was trying to cover up earlier discrimination only if the black replacement had been hired after Fleming sued.
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