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Race discimination claim is reinstated by Sixth Circuit


Last week the Sixth Circuit reversed a District Court judge and reinstated Everett Chattman's race discrimination claim against his employer, Toho Tenax America, Inc.  Chattman had been an "able employee" at Toho for 20 years when the alleged discrimination occurred.  An African-American employed as a shipping coordinator, Chattman alleged that his supervisor, Jeff Tullock, harbored a racial bias against blacks, including Chattman.  He claimed that he was denied a promotion after a horseplay incident solely because of the animosity that Tullock harbored against blacks, and offered three incidents of illustratory conduct to support his claim.  Chattman also documented the fact that Tullock expressly misinformed upper management about the "investigation" into the horseplay incident, resulting in a distorted and false view of Chattman's activity.

The appellate court concluded that Chattman's testimonial and documentary evidence created ample basis for a jury to conclude that Chattman was denied promotion as a direct result of Tullock's illegal racial animus and discrimination.  Further, it rejected the District Judge's conclusion that Tullock's actions, AS HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER no less,  were unrelated to upper management's decisions on Chattman's promotion.  The case was reinstated and will go to a jury.

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