A federal judge recently ruled that the Xerox Corporation must face claims of wrongful termination for firing an African-American woman because of her race. The woman was hired by Xerox in 1999 and was promoted to the position of sales representative in 2000. She worked as a sales rep until December 2011, when she was fired.
In 2013, the woman, along with a co-worker, filed a lawsuit against Xerox in San Francisco County Superior Court, alleging the company committed racial discrimination and unlawful retaliation in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
The woman says that her supervisors assigned her sales territories that were unfair and inequitable. She says that she also had unreasonable sales quotas as compared with her white co-workers. She says that when she finally complained about it to the company, she was fired.
In October 2014, the case was moved to federal court. Xerox asked that the case be dismissed because the plaintiff did not file it within the statutory one-year time period from the date she received a right-to-sue notice from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The court found that the plaintiff did not file her employment claims within the year, as required.
However, the woman also alleged that she was wrongfully terminated in violation of public policy. The company argued that she was fired for legitimate reasons which were not discriminatory, including complaints by customers, the fact that she worked full-time at Weight Watchers while employed with Xerox, which is in violation of company policy, a failure to meet sales expectations, and general poor sales performance, among other complaints.
The judge ruled that the plaintiff presented enough evidence to create an issue of whether she was fired under false pretexts. The judge found that the evidence, if it was believed by a jury, showed that the plaintiff’s sales territory was unfairly split with a white employee while the woman was meeting her sales expectations. In addition, the plaintiff and her African-American supervisor were put on probation despite a work performance that was comparable to white employees. The woman’s performance was also not evaluated under the same standards as white employees.
The court found that the plaintiff’s evidence presented issues of material fact regarding whether or not there were nondiscriminatory reasons for her termination. The court allowed the case to continue on the issue of whether her termination was against public policy.
This case illustrates how important it is for a wrongfully-terminated employee to speak to an attorney right away. The plaintiff missed important opportunities to prove she was discriminated against on the basis of her race because she waited too long to file her lawsuit.
Discrimination and harassment on the basis of race are illegal under federal or state law. If an employer illegally discriminates against or harasses an employee because of his or her race, the employee may be able to receive compensation.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that no employee should be discriminated against at work on the basis of his or her race. Employees of all races should be treated and evaluated equally. If you believe you have been the victim of racial discrimination in the Oakland-San Francisco Bay area, including Hayward, San Jose, Tracy, Fairfield, Berkeley, Sacramento, and the surrounding areas, call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland racial discrimination attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. You may be entitled to damages including lost wages, lost benefits, and compensation for emotional damages. Call today to schedule your free consultation.