A federal appeals court on Monday overturned a lower court ruling and dismissed a national anti-discrimination lawsuit filed by a former head of Lebanese descent against Ford Motor Co. and two regulators and ruled that there was insufficient evidence against them.
A jury at the U.S. District Court in Detroit had found that Faisal G. Khalaf had been subjected to retaliation by Ford and a superior, retaliation for a performance improvement by another supervisor and retaliation by the company, according to the decision in Faisal G. Khalaf, Ph.D. v. Ford Motor Company; Bennie Fowler; Jay Zhou.
The jury awarded Mr. Khalaf $ 15 million in punitive damages against Ford, as well as $ 1
Although statements by Khalaf's subordinates could have been offensive to him, "none of these alleged incidents of disrespect show that his subordinates made any comments due to Dr. Khalaf's Lebanese origins or Middle Eastern ethnicity, required for him to be able to prove a hostile work environment, "the decision said.
"Therefore, we decide that Dr. Khalaf failed to adduce sufficient evidence that a reasonable jury could find the required discriminatory animus from its subordinates. Based on race or national origin," the decision states.
The alleged comments of Dr. Khalaf's subordinates regarding his "writing and understanding" of English do not rise to hostility based on national origin "to trigger Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, the Appeals Panel said. in reversing the district court's judgment and reconsidering the case for entry of a judgment in favor of the defendant.
Lawyers in the case had no comment or could not be reached.