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Investigator who allegedly lacked special qualifications cannot pursue discrimination claim arising out of reassignment

Oakland County employed Oliver Mathes as an investigator with the Prosecutor's office after he retired from the Pontiac Police Department.  As part of a "personnel reorganization" he was transferred to the position of  Court Service Officer II, even though he wanted to become an investigator in the Child Sexual Assault Unit.  His union rep and a co-worker testified that he was capable, with training, of serving in the latter unit, however, the employer concluded that he lacked the "special qualifications" needed to transfer to that unit and an employee with less seniority was retained in that position.  

After concluding that he didn't like work as a Court Service Officer, Mathes quit and filed a complaint with the Department of Civil Rights.  He later dismissed that action and filed suit, alleging an adverse employment action motivated by racial discrimination.  The trial court dismissed his action and the Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal.  Both found that the justification provided by the County--that Mathes lacked the special training required to serve in the CSA Unit--was reasonable and that Mathes could not prove that it was a pretext.  These findings precluded an action based on racial discrimination.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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