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A federal appeals court has reinstated racial discrimination charges filed by a fired cable company salesman but upheld dismissal of his retaliation charge.
Terrance Walker, a black man, was terminated as a direct sales representative for St. Louis, Missouri-based Charter Communications Inc. following a series of incidents in which the company claimed he had behaved unprofessionally, according to Wednesday’s ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in Terrance Walker v. Charter Communications Inc. and Charter Communications LLC.
According to the complaint in the case, although Mr. Walker was terminated following a conference call in which his supervisor berated him, a white employee who replied to the same supervisor in a “flippant, brazen tone” simply met with the supervisor later.
Mr. Walker filed suit in U.S. District Court in Reno, charging race discrimination and retaliation. The court granted the company summary judgment on all of Mr. Walker’s claims.
On appeal, a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel reinstated Mr. Walter’s discrimination charges but upheld dismissal of his retaliation charge.
“The conflicting accounts about whether Walker actually engaged in the unprofessional conduct alleged by Charter creates a genuine issue of material fact whether Charter discriminated against Walker on the basis of his race. Summary judgment is therefore inappropriate on these claims,” said the ruling.
On the retaliation claim, the panel said Mr. Walter “cannot establish a causal link between his protected activities and Charter’s termination, a necessary element of a prima facie case.”
Last month, a federal judge ruled a black former Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC broker who filed a lawsuit accusing the bank of racial bias must pursue his claims in private arbitration.
A federal appeals court has reinstated a discrimination lawsuit filed by a lesbian former police officer, who charged the Santa Ana, California, police department treated her differently because of her gender and sexual orientation when it placed her on administrative leave pending completion of investigation of an anonymous complaint investigation.