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Fifth Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment in Discrimination Claim

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed summary judgment in an age discrimination case.

July 27, 2015


(press release: cdklawyers) // Dallas, Texas, United States // Keith Clouse

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed summary judgment in an age discrimination case. Goudeau v. Nat’l Oilwell Varco, L.P., No. 14-20241 (5th Cir. July 16, 2015), available at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/14/14-20241-CV0.pdf. An eighteen-year employee complained to the human resources department after his supervisor made ageist comments and indicated that he would fire two other employees because they were too old. The employee was then given a written warning for poor performance for the first time in his employment history. Shortly thereafter, he was fired, allegedly for performance reasons. Although the personnel file contained three more written warnings, the employee presented evidence that he did not receive those written warnings until his termination, that the warnings concerned duties that were not the employee’s responsibility, and that the warnings were signed on the same date despite the infractions supposedly happening on different days. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment, and the employee appealed.

The Court reversed, finding that the employee could present sufficient evidence to allow a jury to conclude that the employer’s explanation for the termination was merely a pretext for discrimination. It remanded the case for further proceedings.

This article is presented by the Dallas employment attorneys at Clouse Dunn LLP. To speak to an employment law attorney about age discrimination, send an email to debra@clousedunn.com or call (214) 239-2705.