Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
333 N.W. 3rd Avenue
Ocala, Florida 34475
James P. Tarquin, P.A Call for a FREE Consultation!352-401-7671
Employment Law Blog
James Tarquin, P.A
As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law issues in our employment blog.

The Usual Employer Response To A Baseless Explanation For An Employment Decision

Welcome or Reception

Through their years of experience litigating employment discrimination cases, our employment discrimination lawyers in Marion County, Florida know that employers frequently change or shift their explanation for the challenged employment decision. Courts have determined that an employer’s shifting factual account or explanation for the challenged employment decision is evidence that the employer’s proffered justification is unworthy of credence. As the court in Payne v. Norwest  113 F.3d 1079 (9th Cir. 1997), a jury may reasonably find that an employer’s shifting factual account or explanation for the challenged employment decision is evidence that discrimination was the real reason because “one who tells the truth need not recite different versions of the supposedly same event.” In this article, our employment discrimination lawyers in Marion County, Florida explain how the alleged facts in Danville v. Regional Lab Corp., 292 F.3d 1246 (10th Cir. 2002) are illustrative of how employers change the factual account or explanation for the challenged employment decision.

Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

In that case, a woman named Danville brought an employment lawsuit against her former employer, Regional Lab Corp. (“Regional Lab”), pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). The ADEA protects employees from discrimination on the basis of age. Danville claims that she was not hired because of her age in violation of the ADEA.

In 1992, Danville began her employment with Presbyterian Hospital (“Presbyterian”). Her title at Presbyterian was “blood bank manager.” Her duties in this position included managing the transfusion service, the donor service, and the apheresis unit. She was working as Presbyterian’s manager of transfusion services in 1998, when Presbyterian’s laboratory unit merged with Regional Lab. Under the terms of the merger, Danville’s job was scheduled to end on July 1, 1998.

In June 1998, Danville transferred to a Presbyterian facility to work as a laboratory supervisor. In March 1999, Danville applied for the position of Manager of Transfusion Services at an office of Regional Lab. Danville was sixty-four years old at the time she applied for the position. A selection committee for the Manager of Transfusion Services was charged with selecting an individual for the position. Ultimately, the committee selected a woman named Richards for the position. Richards was forty-seven years old at the time of her selection.

Regional Lab filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Danville’s age discrimination claim. In moving for dismissal, one of the reasons proffered by Regional Lab for its selection of Richards for the position of Manager of Transfusion Services was that Richards “had more recent experience” than Danville in “managing a multi-site and/or centralized blood bank system.” Finding that Regional Lab had a legitimate, non-discriminatory justification for its decision not to hire Danville, the trial court dismissed Danville’s age discrimination claim. On appeal, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and reinstated Danville’s age discrimination claim.

“Slippage” From Original Explanation

In reversing the trial court’s decision, the Tenth Circuit observed that although Regional Lab “now casts the issue as who had the ‘more recent’ centralized blood banking experience, this represents slippage from its original position.” “The rationale given at the most recent deposition testimony by [Regional Lab] employees,” the appellate court pointed out, “was that [Danville] had no centralized blood banking experience at all.” The court of appeals also noted that in response to Danville’s EEOC charge of discrimination, Regional Lab stated that Danville “has no experience in the oversight of blood banks in multiple organizations.” Thus, the Tenth Circuit explained that it “will evaluate” whether Regional Lab’s explanation for not hiring Danville was a pretext for age discrimination on the basis of Regional Lab’s original position of “no experience,” and not on the basis of Regional Lab’s new position of “more recent experience.”

When evaluated on the basis of Regional Lab’s original position of “no experience,” the Tenth Circuit found that Regional Lab’s assertion that Richards had superior centralized blood bank experience was a “questionable justification” for failing to hire Danville. The court of appeals observed that when a committee member, Tulenko, interviewed Richards, she wrote on the Employment Interview Assessment form that Richards “does not have experience in centralized [blood bank].” At her deposition, the court of appeals noted, Tulenko “could offer no explanation for this comment.” The appellate court also pointed out that Danville testified that “she had experience with managing centralized, multi-site transfusion testing of the kind that [Regional Lab] was looking for and that Richards did not.” “While it is the employer’s understanding of an employee’s qualifications that counts,” the court of appeals reasoned, “one could draw a reasonable inference that Richards’ qualifications were unreasonably inflated by the committee, while [Danville’s] were unreasonably denigrated.” Thus, the Tenth Circuit concluded that Danville was entitled to “present her case to a jury.”

Marion County Employment Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Florida, our employment discrimination attorneys in Marion County, Florida have dedicated their practice to vindicating the rights of employment discrimination victims. If you have experienced employment discrimination or have questions about your rights as an employment discrimination victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our employment discrimination lawyers in Marion County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes employment discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

Designed and Powered by NextClient

© 2015 - 2024 James P. Tarquin, P.A. All rights reserved.
This Custom WebShop™ attorney website is designed
by NextClient.com.

Contact Form Tab Close Menu