Reserve Serviceman's retaliation claim is sent back to be resolved by the jury
Walleon Bobo is an African American combat veteran who worked for UPS from 1987 until he was terminated by the company in 2005. He had risen within the ranks of UPS from an hourly employee to become a supervisor at the employer's Oakhaven facility in Memphis, Tennessee. Bobo established proofs demonstrating that his supervisors did not like accommodating his annual leave for service in the Reserves, and when he was fired on a record integrity charge, he filed suit against the company.The District Court took at face value the company's claims that Bobo was fired for falsifying a record relating to training supervision and dismissed his claim. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of Bobo's race discrimination claim, but ruled that his claim of violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act should be reinstated. It observed that there was substantial evidence suggesting Bobo's termination was motivated by intolerance for his annual Reserve leave and that other employees were not terminated on a similar basis. While UPS may ultimately prevail in explaining the grounds for Bobo's termination, he created a genuine question of fact which should not be ruled upon prematurely by the trial judge alone.