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No Discrimination Suit When Fired for Legitimate Behavioral Issues

In the case of Bostick v. Salvation Army, 2023-Ohio-933, an appellate court held that the former employee did not have a case for racial discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful discharge when the former employee was disciplined and ultimately fired for the former employee’s own numerous violations of company policy.

In this case, the former employee argued that the employer (1) committed racial discrimination by refusing to consider the former employee’s bid for a promotion and instead gave the position to a white employee; (2) retaliated against the former employee by repeatedly reprimanding and terminating the former employee after the former employee made a comment about getting an attorney in response to not receiving the promotion; and (3) wrongfully discharged the former employee contrary to public policy after the former employee made a number of complaints about a coworker mistreating residents. In response, the employer argued that (1) the former employee never actually applied for the promotion nor expressed interest in the position; (2)the former was repeatedly reprimanded and ultimately terminated for being confrontational and uncooperative, being hostile to management, having “difficulty getting along with several co-workers,” and having difficulty accepting redirection; and (3) the former employee made the complaints in retaliation to the coworker’s complaints about the former employee.. The appellate court agreed with the employer.

In support of its decision in favor of the employer, the appellate court explained that, because the former employee failed to show any evidence the former employee applied for the promotion or expressed any interest in the position, the former employee failed to establish a prima facie case for racial discrimination. The appellate court next explained the former employee was terminated due to the former employee’s inability to get along with coworkers—not because the former employee obtained an attorney. The appellate court further explained that the record indicated the coworker made complaints against the former employee first, and that the former employee’s complaint was merely in retaliation.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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