Can bank promote officer of MiddleEastern descent ahead of caucasian to serve Dearborn?
The Court of Appeals recently sent a race discrmination claim back to the lower court for further discovery. The case is Gorbe v. TCF Bank, and the gravamen of the plaintiff's allegations is that Gorbe was denied an opportunity for better income because he is white. According to the Plaintiff's pleadings, he was being groomed to manage the proposed new Dearborn-area operations of the bank, when the bank instead chose to "promote" a woman banker of Middle-Eastern lineage to that position, in the hope that she could more successfully penetrate a market with a strong Arabic and middle-eastern business community.
The trial court originally dismissed Gorbe's claim because he would not have received an increase in salary or benefits and was only denied a "lateral" move. The higher court recognized, however, that the lateral move carried with it, allegedly, the opportunity for much greater compensation, and therefore sent the case back to allow further discovery. If Gorbe can prove that he lost a significant earning potential, and that he was denied the transfer on the basis of race, the bank's attempt to match the customer base with a like-skinned officer will constitute a violation of the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act.