MBJ Victory: Federal Court Dismisses Claim of Race Discrimination

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently granted summary judgment for the defendant employer on claims of race discrimination and retaliation filed by an employee.  Morgan, Brown & Joy’s representation of the employer in this case was successful – the Court dismissed all of the employee’s claims.

The Plaintiff, a long-time employee of Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., claimed Home Depot discriminated against him because of his race (African American) when it did not grant him a promotion he sought in October 2001.  Home Depot produced evidence that the four employees who were promoted to the four available positions had better qualifications than Plaintiff and one of them was non-White.  Moreover, Home Depot demonstrated that several other African American employees were promoted and hired during the course of Plaintiff’s employment and Plaintiff failed to seize opportunities provided to him to facilitate his promotion within the company.

The United States District Court found that Home Depot articulated a legitimate justification for its actions by demonstrating that those promoted were better qualified than Plaintiff and one of them was of Plaintiff’s protected class in that he was of mixed race.  The Court further found Plaintiff was unable to produce evidence that this justification was a pretext for any racial bias.

Plaintiff’s retaliation claim arose from his allegation that Home Depot’s failure to promote him was due in part to the fact that he had a separate lawsuit against Home Depot in 1996 in a different state.  The Court found no basis for this claim as Plaintiff failed to produce any evidence that anyone at the Massachusetts store even knew about the other lawsuit, let alone retaliated against him for it.

Describing Plaintiff’s case as “moribund,” the Court dismissed it in its entirety.

Tracy Thomas BolandRobert P. Joy, and Joseph P. McConnell represented the defendant employer in the case.