No, you can’t fire the white guy in order to fend off a discrimination claim by the Hispanic guy.
That appears to be the lesson in a recent case in Texas, where a white benefits supervisor claimed he was fired after his life was threatened in an altercation with his employer’s HR manager, according to a story in the El Paso Times.
The benefits supervisor, Mark Duncan, said the only reason he was fired was because the HR manager was Hispanic — and the company feared the HR manager would file a discrimination lawsuit.
And, indeed, the HR manager did so.
Duncan’s attorney, according to the Times story, argued that the reasons for firing Duncan were fabricated in order to give the company a defense in the bias case: “They fired the white guy, too.”
A jury found in favor of Duncan, awarding him $130,000 in lost wages, $669,000 in future lost earnings, $5,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages — a total of $5.8 million.
After the verdict, however, legal sources said the case would be subject to federal and state damages caps. Those would reduce total damages to $300,000.