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Eastern District of PA Reinforces Elements of Racial Discrimination Claim against Employer

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania maintained and emphasized the requisite elements to sustain a claim for racial discrimination by an employee against their former employer. Jordan v. Staffing Plus, Inc., No. CV 17-4020, 2018 WL 3046612, at *1 (E.D. Pa. June 20, 2018). Plaintiff Dominique Jordan (“Jordan”) brought a claim for racial discrimination under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 after he was terminated by his former employer Staffing Plus, Inc. At some point while still an employee of Staffing Plus, Jordan was arrested and faced charges that were later dropped. However after being arrested, several local news media outlets began reporting on the arrest. Jordan alleged that Staffing Plus made no investigation into the veracity of the allegations and proceeded to terminate his employment based on the news coverage. In his statement, Jordan claimed that he would not have been fired under similar circumstances if he were “pale skinned or Caucasi[a]n” and was terminated because he was “black.”

Staffing Plus filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. To sustain a claim for racial discrimination a party must plead facts to support the elements that (1) the plaintiff is a member of a racial minority (2) there was intent to discriminate on the basis of race by the defendant and (3) discrimination concerning one or more of the activities enumerated in the statute, which includes the right to make and enforce contracts. The Court granted Staffing Plus’s Motion for Summary Judgment because Jordan alleged no facts to support the second and third elements of a racial discrimination claim. The Court pointed to the complete lack of factual allegations regarding any pattern of racial derogatory statements or discriminatory comments made by Staffing Plus. Jordan did not allege that any other contractors of different races were treated more favorably after being arrested or being subjected to negative media coverage. The Court found that Jordan relied “solely on his own bare assertions” and courts have consistently held that “such bare assertions of subjective belief are insufficient to establish an inference of discrimination.” In civil rights cases a court is required to give a party an opportunity to amend their claim after dismissal, but because Plaintiff’s claim had already been dismissed and amended, the Court did not grant further leave to amend.

For more information, call our employment discrimination lawyers in Philadelphia at the Law Offices of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or submit an online inquiry.