Case Study
 

On May 28, 2021, Lars Liebeler P.C. achieved a victory in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on a motion for summary judgment in a race discrimination and retaliation suit against an architecture and engineering firm.  

 

U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga entered judgment for Liebeler's client in a case brought by a former employee alleging violation of a federal law prohibiting race discrimination in employment (42 U.S.C. sec. 1981). The Court found that the company lawfully discharged the former employee based on her poor job performance and concluded that her Arab heritage played no role in her termination.

  
The Court agreed with LLPC briefing showing that the employer provided extensive extensive vacation and leave time to the employee, allowed her to work from home, and paid her for hours she did not work.  When the employee failed to make up hours and repeatedly missed assignment deadlines the Company eventually terminated her employment.  The Court found no evidence of racial or retaliatory animus in the termination. 

The Court's summary judgment order is here

 

The case is styled Ali v. BC Architects Engineers, Civil. No. 1:18-cv-1385 (E.D. Va. 2021). 
 

 

Principles
 
  • Among the federal laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Title VII prohibits intentional discrimination, as well as unintentional discrimination where employment practices have a disparate impact on a protected group.  

  • Additional federal protections include the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. 

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) oversees the enforcement of these federal anti-discrimination statutes.  Individuals must file a complaint with the EEOC, and receive notice of a “right to sue”, prior to commencing litigation against an employer. 

  • State and local laws may provide broader protection, including prohibitions against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies
within us.

 

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

Discrimination