On February 4, 2013, I wrote a blog explaining how the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals considers an employer’s changing rationale for making an adverse employment decision against an employee to be strong evidence of pretext -ie- a manufactured non-discriminatory reason for taking the adverse employment action. My blog cited Thurman v. Yellow Freight Systems, Inc. and Asmo v. Keane, Inc. as evidence, but now one can affirm my assertions with the Sixth Circuit’s recent holding in Gaglioti v. Levin Group, Inc.
In Gaglioti, the employee/plaintiff worked in the employer’s accounting department. After ten months of employment, he was fired. The employer initially stated that the employee/plaintiff was fired because his temporary employment had ended. But after the plaintiff filed suit and alleged that his employer fired him by considering his age, the employer argued that he was terminated due to poor performance. The district court concluded that the plaintiff established a prima facie of age discrimination, but granted summary judgment in favor of the employer when it found that the employer presented a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for its discharge decision and that the plaintiff failed to present any evidence that the decision was pretextual.
The employee/plaintiff appealed, and the Sixth Circuit held that since the employer provided shifting reasons for its employment decision, there was a genuine issue of material fact whether the employer produced a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for its action. Since any one of these reasons, or all of them combined, may have demonstrated evidence of pretext of discrimination, the court held a jury must decide how to resolve disputed factual issues.
Gaglioti serves as further evidence that employers need to be very careful when providing their employees with explanation for adverse employment actions which are being taken against them, and employees need to very mindful to notice and, if possible, document any changes in the motives provided to them by their employers.
If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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