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Jury backs worker on progressive discipline

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in HR Management,Human Resources

A case we covered last month—see “Consistently apply progressive discipline” in the January 2017 issue of Texas Employment Law—has now gone to trial. The employer lost.

Recent case: Jeffrey, who is black, had a series of workplace infractions on his record. His employer used a progressive discipline system. After Jeffrey became involved in an argument, he was terminated.

When Jeffrey sued, his employer said it fired him be­­cause of his long history of discipline, including prior incidents of arguing and not doing as instructed. But Jeffrey argued that a white co-worker with a similar disciplinary history was not terminated.  

A jury concluded that Jeffrey had proved he would not have been fired but for his race, awarding him about $117,000 for more than two years of wages and benefits, as well as $252,000 for mental suffering. (Daniels v. Texas DOT, No. 4:14-CV-00702, ED TX, 2016)

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