After 16 months of litigation, Gordon & Rees partners Debra Ellwood Meppen and Robert W. Feinstein and associate Rebecca J. R. Marsden of Los Angeles recently won summary judgment for a well-known professional security services company. In his U.S. District Court lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged he had been wrongfully terminated and discriminated against because of his race and sought more than $4 million in damages.
The plaintiff, a security professional, violated his employer’s fraternization policy by sending flowers to a client’s employee with a note that said she was “special.” The employer gave the plaintiff a disciplinary action notice and suspended him for three days. The employer also required him to attend brief re-training on the company’s fraternization/harassment policies before assigning him to another post.
Despite his employer’s numerous requests, the plaintiff refused to attend the re-training, contending that such a requirement violated his constitutional rights and was based solely on his race. Accordingly, the employer terminated him for insubordination and refusing mandatory training.
In its April 18 decision, the court found that the plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case of discrimination. However, even if he had, his employer demonstrated that it had a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for terminating his employment, which he was unable to show was pretextual.