Federal Court Dismisses Discriminatory Pay Claim Against KM&M Client
On September 27, 2007, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted KM&M’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed Plaintiff’s race discrimination Complaint in its entirety. The Plaintiff, an African-American commissioned salesperson, alleged that KM&M’s client discriminated against him on the basis of his race by not assigning to him new accounts or “orphaned accounts” left behind by salespeople who left the Company.
Plaintiff, who had worked for our client since 1999, had a history of protracted, unexcused absences and unresponsiveness to his supervisors and his clients during those absences. Several witnesses testified that they were unaware of Plaintiff’s whereabouts for days at a time and, in fact, one witness testified that he believed Plaintiff had a second job because he was absent so often. Because of Plaintiff’s unreliability and non-responsiveness to client concerns, his supervisors were hesitant to assign to him many new and orphaned accounts.
After two extended, unexcused absences in late 2003, Plaintiff disappeared for more than a week in April 2005 following an argument with his manager. Plaintiff never returned to work, and the Company terminated his employment approximately one week later.
In opposition to the motion for summary judgment we filed on the Company’s behalf at the close of discovery, Plaintiff argued that the Company’s white salespeople were given more and better accounts because of their race. Furthermore, Plaintiff claimed that the alleged racial composition of the Company’s workforce was evidence of disparate treatment toward him because of his race. Finally, Plaintiff argued that the Company’s decision to terminate his employment after he had gone without a written warning for 18 months was evidence of the Company’s discriminatory animus.
The court rejected each of Plaintiff’s arguments, finding that Plaintiff failed to rebut the Company’s legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for its decisions regarding the assignment of new and orphaned accounts (namely, that Plaintiff’s history of excessive, unexcused absenteeism and non-responsiveness to clients and management adversely affected the Company’s opinion of him when it distributed those accounts). Accordingly, finding that no reasonable juror could find that the Company had discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of his race, the court granted summary judgment in favor of KM&M’s client, dismissing the action in its entirety.