If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, it’s probably a duck.
Hold that thought while I tell you about someone who probably wouldn’t believe me.
The plaintiff in the federal court decision I read last night had worked for the same employer (mostly in Mississippi) for 26 years.
But, the case focuses on events that arose in mid-2020 in Louisiana. That’s where the defendant had a temporary position titled “Clerk Assistant.” The Clerk Assistant position had a job description. It stated that the “position [was] to be used for temporary support employees of the purpose of COVID-19 work during the exception period only.”
The plaintiff was the only temporary Clerk Assistant hired at the Monroe location.
By July 27, 2020, the defendant ended the Clerk Assistant position and, with that, the plaintiff’s employment in that role.
Why did the defendant end the position? It was over budget, other employees were returning to work from the pandemic, and there wouldn’t be enough work for the plaintiff in her temporary position.
That, and the position was temporary.
No records show the defendant hired anyone to replace the plaintiff’s temporary position.
Notwithstanding all the quacking, swimming, and whatnot, the plaintiff was convinced that her race motivated the defendant’s decision-making. So, she filed a Title VII lawsuit.
Of course, the plaintiff had no direct evidence of discrimination. So, that left her with at least having to show that she was replaced by someone outside her protected class or was treated less favorably than other similarly situated employees outside his class. This analysis ensures that the challenged action was taken under nearly identical circumstances.
Think: apples to apples.
(Sorry for all the strange analogies and metaphors today.)
But there was no similarly situated employee to which the plaintiff could compare herself. She was the only Clerk Assistant. Indeed, when asked if anyone replaced her, the plaintiff testified, “I have no idea.”
Plus, the plaintiff had no evidence to rebut the defendant’s explanation that her position was temporary and ended due to lack of work.
A subject belief of discrimination, or metaphorical ignorance of quacking, walking, and swimming, is insufficient to provide discrimination.