Case Study
 

Lars Liebeler P.C. recently achieved a victory in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on a motion to dismiss a discrimination claim against an architecture and engineering firm.  

 

U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga dismissed 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 former employee did not state a plausible claim for employment discrimination based on her Arab heritage.

  
The Court agreed with LLPC briefing arguing that an employee's internal subjective belief that discrimination was the basis for her employment termination was insufficient to allege a plausible claim for relief.  The former employee presented no objective facts to support her belief that her Arab race played a role in her termination for poor work performance. 

 

The case is styled Ali v. BC Architects Engineers, Civil. No. 1:18-cv-1385 (E.D. Va. 2019). 
 

 

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