A federal court in Washington, D.C., has ruled against Elizabeth Howie, a 46-year-old black staffer for Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. Howie claimed she was fired because of her race and age.
Howie was an executive assistant and scheduler for Johnson and later was replaced by a younger Asian American woman. Howie alleged that Johnson characterized herself as an “affirmative action person,” who told her chief of staff she would like to consider hiring an Asian staffer if there happened to be such an applicant.
Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, however, found that Howie failed to show that Johnson’s comment was connected to Howie’s discharge, which occurred approximately 10 months later.
Noting that the Dallas-area congresswoman employed a number of older workers on her staff, the court also ruled that Howie’s claim of age discrimination was groundless.
Final note: Always have solid, objective reasons for any discharge—and document those reasons at the time of termination.