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Class matters when discrimination is alleged

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employees who claim they were disciplined more severely than other employees have to compare themselves to similarly situated workers outside their protected class. They can’t claim someone in their same class got better treatment.

Recent case: George, who is black, was fired from his custodial job at a school after a white teacher reported her cellphone had disappeared from her classroom. The school district had surveillance tapes of the hallway and identified George and another black custodian as the only two other than the teacher who had entered the classroom during the day.

George sued, alleging he was treated more severely than the other black employee. That didn’t matter, the court ruled; he had to show a nonblack employee was treated more leniently. (Edwards v. Senato­­bia, No. 13-60405, 5th Cir., 2013)

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