Illegal Discrimination or not?

I am a 47 years old male "person of color". I have worked as a technical manager for the past 7 years for a large public utility company in an office located in a "at will" state. Last year my company acquired another large company. In my city, since the acquired company had larger offices and staff than the acquiring company, the acquired company was allowed to manage the migration of personnel. The acquired co. deemed that since only 2 managers were needed and since the total number was now 3 (2 from the acquired co. and myself) after the buyout, one manager would be layed off. Previous management layoffs by the acquiring company were determined by the manager's performance rating. I have worked in this specialty area since 2004 and was the top performing manager in 2005, 2006. For 2007, I completed the 1st quarter also with a top rating. The new management of the acquired company determined after a face to face meeting with me and asking for employment history from all three managers, that the use of a �skill set� would determine the layoff outcome and not the usual performance ratings. This �skill set� is basically technical aptitude for the equipment used in our offices. This equipment is maintained by union technicians, therefore management is not allowed to work on this equipment but must have knowledge on how the equipment operates. The other 2 managers are not �persons of color� and are x-technicians but have had lower management performance ratings than me. Although I may not have the same �skill set� as the x-technician managers, my education and alternate �skill sets� have proven that I have and can performed this job very well. Also my 2nd quarter rating that was completed by the new management was marginal. It was inaccurate with perspective to my performance and full of unsubstantiated �beliefs� against me by the 2 managers I was in direct competition with for employment. The new management did not research any of the stated �beliefs� prior to my documented performance review and I was not asked for my �beliefs� for input into the other manager�s review. Management stated that these comments and results had nothing to do with my layoff since the decision was made prior to the 2nd qtr review.
Illegal Discrimination or not?

1 answer  |  asked Oct 1, 2007 6:03 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Proving Discrimination is Seldom Easy

Your question assumes that there is an easy to reach, yes-or-no answer to a question that requires looking into a person's thought processes. You could argue that the managers intentionally chose a measurement that would guarantee that you would fare worse than the other two, and so they purposely chose to get rid of you despite performance measures in which you excelled. But the question remains whether they did this because of your color or because they wanted to keep their own company people. Whenever two companies merge, there tends to be a rivalry in which people align themselves with people from their former company and against those from the other company. It's discrimination, but not unlawful discrimination.
If you want to pursue a claim of race or color discrimination, I would suggest that you file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is the first step in pursuing a federal employment discrimination claim. But you will probably have to pass up whatever severance package the company is offering, since it will undoubtedly require you to release the company from all claims.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Oct 2, 2007 12:40 PM [EST]

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