A former UPS Inc. manager couldn’t show he was treated differently from similarly situated employees, so a federal judge on May 11 left his sex bias lawsuit at the door.
In the case of the UPS manager, Darin Williams failed to present the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana with an adequate set of similarly situated employees who were treated better than him, Judge Shelly Dick said. That’s one of the factors necessary to get to trial on a sex bias claim under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Williams’ group consisted of two subordinates and an HR employee. “Accordingly, they all have different supervisors and do not have similar work responsibilities,” Dick said.
Williams plans on appealing the decision, his attorney, Scott Wilson of Baton Rouge, told Bloomberg on May 14.
“I think the decision is a swing and a miss,” he said. He believes the Fifth Circuit has “backed off” of the guidance Dick relied on for her analysis of Williams’ group of similarly situated employees.
Horseplay Leads to Chemical Burn
UPS fired Williams for failing to follow the company’s injured employee procedure. One of his subordinates, Mia Baptiste, suffered a chemical burn during horseplay with co-worker Chris Wooten and a can of compressed air. Williams never filed the required report detailing the accident.
The similarly situated employees chosen by Williams for his bias claim all were involved in the burn accident. Baptiste and the female HR employee who knew about the horseplay weren’t disciplined for not reporting the accident. Wooten was fired and then reinstated. Williams remained fired.
In addition to finding Williams’ set of employees weren’t, in fact, similarly situated, Dick said UPS presented legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for firing him. Williams previously had been investigated for misconduct and allegedly was agitated and hostile during the internal investigation into the burn incident, according to UPS court filings and Dick’s opinion.
Phelps Dunbar in Baton Rouge represented UPS. Bloomberg’s request for comment wasn’t immediately returned.
The case is Williams v. United Parcel Service Inc.