I’ve previously talked about Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) day in prior posts (including way back in 2008!).
But this year, I was curious — have any race discrimination claims used evidence relating to the day to support a claim?
Turns out there have been a few.
One of the stranger ones was a claim by a bartender that he wasn’t rehired after being terminated by his employer that was decided by a federal court several years ago.
As allegedly “direct” evidence, the bartender pointed to a conversation that occurred on MLK Jr. Day in which he was asked whether he wanted the night off “because it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday”.
According to the bartender, the request was made so that a supervisor’s son, who also worked as a bartender could work an additional shift.
The bartender claimed that the inquiry “demonstrated racial prejudice” because the supervisor “could have asked him to give up his shift to her son without even mentioning the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday”.
The federal court reviewing the matter disagreed rejecting the notion that this comment — made many months before the alleged decision — was direct evidence. And it noted that it was probably an isolated remark. Nevertheless, in the context of the case, the court rejected the employer’s motion for summary judgment — sending the case instead to a jury.
So, not exactly the most illuminating of cases.
Instead, let’s again reflect on the legacy of Dr. King. His words and actions continue have deep meaning today.