An employee who is passed over for promotion — time and again — may feel like the whole world is against them.
Even so, the fact that supervisors and coworkers may "dislike" a particular employee is not enough to prove that the employer retaliated against the employee for participation in a discrimination claim.
So says, the Second Circuit in a case last month arising out of Connecticut. In Lomotey v. Department of Transportation (Dec. 4, 2009), the Court affirmed summary judgment that had been granted to the employer on claims that it discriminated against an employee when it failed to promote him allegedly because of race and retaliated against the employee.
Time and again, the court said that the proof offered by the employee was just not enough to warrant sending the case to a jury.
For example, the employee alleged that the evidence showed that Caucasian employees would get training that would allow them to get promoted. However, the court said that this was "nothing more than raw numbers which, without further information on key considerations such as the racial composition of the qualified labor pool, cannot support an inference of discrimination" — suggesting that a statistical analysis was missing.
For employers, the case counters the argument by some that it is nearly impossible to get a case dismissed before a trial. It’s not impossible, but employers ought to have their rationale documented thoroughly and be able to support its decisions.