Good guy-bad guy discrimination

A, B, C, D were star sales reps working in the same territory and we had different team leaders. My team leader had regarded me as a star and cover me with praises everyday, (so it seems like). B's team leader had constantly made fun of my foreign accent and showed disrespect to Asian clients in the territory. One day, without warnings, all of us were fired due to a mistake C made. The mistake was common and others were not fired for that. My team leader praticularly cried when he delivered the news. Rumor had it that B's team leader trigered the firing due to his discrimination to my asian origin. The decision seems however, came from the legal Dept. Do I(we) have a case? Sorry can't get too specific. The company is one of the largest. Contact me.

1 answer  |  asked Dec 9, 2001 03:36 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Four in One

Certainly, if you can prove that an employer fired four employees because one employee was of Asian origin, then all four of the terminated employees have a case, even though none of the other three employees are Asian. But the big question is can you prove it? A rumor isn't enough.

One of the big problems with discriminations cases is that the anti-discrimination laws are laws requiring proof of intent. In other words, the employees claiming discrimination have to prove that it was the employer's intention to take an adverse action because an employee is, as in your situation, Asian. This level of proof essentially requires you to get into the employer's mind, a hard thing to do.

Another thing that is difficult about discrimination cases is that the employer is the one holding most of the cards. Rarely does an employer say something that basically admits discriminatory intent. Discriminatory intent might be proven by circumstantial evidence, but the employer is likely to be the one in possession of most, if not all, of the evidence that you would need.

This set of affairs makes it difficult for attorneys handling these types of cases to decide whether there is a win-able case there. You don't have the evidence. Because of that, we have to base our assessment of your case base on the limited information that you have. The information you have may not at all be admissible evidence. That is, it might not hold up in court, but it may be enough to make a preliminary assessment of your case. For example, the "rumor" you mention would likely not be evidence, but it may be enough to convince me that you may have a case. Whether the rumor is enough will depend who you heard the rumor from, where that person got the information, and content of the "rumor."

You also may have other information that you may not even consider important that might say volumes to an attorney assessing your case. The attorney will know what to ask. You may not always know what information the attorney may need. That is why it is so important in cases like these to have a back-and-forth free flowing discussion with the attorney assessing your case.

I'd be willing to discuss your case further. Give me a call.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Dec 12, 2001 10:02 AM [EST]

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