A federal appeals court overturned a lower court decision on Wednesday and reopened a discrimination case filed by a black employee of Facebook Inc. who was denied a promotion based on alleged racist comments from a supervisor.
Robert Gary, who started working at a Forest City, North Carolina, Facebook facility as a technician about ten years ago and remains employed there, was denied promotion after a second half-year performance in 2013, according to the decision of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. in Richmond Virginia Robert Louis Gary and Robert Baron Duffy v. Facebook, Inc .; Wayne Hawkins and James Swenson.
Mr. Gary protested against the promotion of another employee who had worked there for a short time, but was told that he had not been promoted because he was not a strong communicator and lacked initiative, according to the decision.
About a year later, he was told that Wayne Hawkins, the facility manager who sat on the performance review committee, had made several racist comments, including that Gary was lazy and "wants everything to be handed over to him."
Mr. Gary, who has since been promoted and raised, sued Facebook and the U.S. District Court in Asheville, North Carolina, claiming racial discrimination. The court granted Facebook a summary judgment and dismissed the case.
The decision was overturned by a unanimous panel court with three judges. "Facebook is trying to disprove Gary's prima facie case by claiming that it does not promote Gary because he showed little initiative and lacked communication skills," while the white employee who was promoted instead excelled in these areas, they said.
"As this is a legitimate reason not to have benefited Gary that the burden returns to him to establish that they are prudent," the panel said.
Mr. Gary tried to bear this burden through circumstantial evidence and show that he was better qualified for promotion. "When we interpret (as we must) facts in Gary's favor, we conclude that a reasonable jury can find either an attempt successful," says the decision.
"Hawkins' crucial role in the (promotion) decision is convincing. evidence of Gary's case, because Facebook did not (and could not) question Hawkins' racism, "the decision states.
"And alarmingly similar to Hawkins' racist remark" that Gary was lazy "in contemptuous graphic terms ̵
Ms Fosbinder said, “The key to the decision of appeal was in part the fact that they realized that there was more than enough evidence for a jury to conclude that it was the racist head of the plant, the accused Mr Hawkins, who was driving the marketing decision at the time the plaintiff, Gary, was denied the campaign. ”
A Faceboo k-spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.