Race Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation Case

Just one month before trial in August 2012, Dinsmore obtained a summary dismissal of a suit filed by a former security officer who was terminated after 13 years of employment for failing to immediately report to his superiors information regarding possible theft of the Company’s product, alcoholic beverages. The officer alleged that he was subjected to race discrimination and a racially hostile work environment and that he had been terminated in retaliation for having filed two EEOC charges 2½ years earlier. The officer also acknowledged that he had failed to timely report information about possible theft, but claimed that a “mixed-motive” standard should apply, allowing a plaintiff to proceed by arguing that his termination was motivated by both lawful and unlawful reasons. The Court rejected this theory, stating that the officer had not proffered evidence that any employee who failed to timely report suspected theft received a less severe discipline. Further, the Court dismissed the officer’s racially hostile work environment claim on the grounds that the two instances upon which he based his claims were not directed at him because of his race and did not constitute racial harassment. Finally, the Court dismissed the retaliatory discharge claim on the grounds that the officer did not proffer evidence of a causal connection between his 2005 EEOC charges (both of which were dismissed) and his 2008 termination. Accordingly, the case was dismissed in its entirety with prejudice. The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the summary dismissal of the security officer's claims in their entirety.