Finally get that promotion? Get exclusive content, tips and tools to help you excel.
Shawn Premer shows how doing the right thing for employees leads to positive business results.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
A white construction worker who said he was laid off from a Missouri project because it wasn't meeting its labor contract's federally mandated minority-hiring goal can take his claims to trial, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
MTA, a joint venture among three construction companies, successfully bid on and was awarded a contract from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MDOT) to build a bridge across the Mississippi River. The bridge project received federal funding assistance and the MDOT contract contained federally mandated goals for employment participation by women (6.9 percent) and minorities (14.7 percent).
MTA promised to try to meet these goals by having an equal employment opportunity policy and an affirmative action plan, by undertaking affirmative action plan-type efforts in recruitment and training, and by securing the union’s cooperation in these goals. MTA also agreed that its equal employment opportunity policy and affirmative action plan would include a commitment to treat employees without regard to their race or other protected statuses in hiring, firing, and all others terms and conditions of employment.
On May 9, 2012, MTA hired Terry Deets, a white man, to work as a crane operator on the bridge project. On July 17, Deets claimed that project superintendent John Todt told him that he would be laid off because the project’s “minority numbers aren’t right. I’m supposed to have 13.9 percent minorities on this job and I’ve only got 8 percent.” One of Deets’ co-workers affirmed that Todt separately told him that Todt would have to fire Deets because there weren’t enough nonwhite workers at the site. Todt, however, denied making the statement. A black crane operator was subsequently hired.
Deets filed suit alleging reverse race discrimination. The district court granted summary judgment to the employer, but, on appeal, the 7th Circuit reversed.
The appellate court found that Todt’s alleged statements to Deets and the co-worker were direct evidence of discrimination: Todt’s statements could be seen as an admission that Deets was being fired because it would improve the minority participation rate. That Todt denied making this statement was irrelevant to the question of summary judgment because a jury was entitled to decide whom it would believe in this he-said/he-said scenario, the court said.
Deets v. Massman Constr. Co., 7th Cir., No. 15-1411 (Feb. 3, 2016).
Professional Pointer: An employer that uses a desire to meet a minority hiring goal as a basis for an employment decision risks being sued by nonminorities for discrimination.
Whitney R. Brown is an attorney with Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson, P.C., the Worklaw® Network member firm in Birmingham, Ala.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Choose from dozens of free webcasts on the most timely HR topics.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies