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A Pretext for Discriminatory Motivation

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When handling a termination or a disciplinary situation, it is critical that the manager or supervisor remain calm and professional, or the employer may have problems explaining the “business reason” for the employer’s action when discriminatory motive is claimed. In Zamora v. Elite Logistics, Inc., decided June 5,2006, the 10th Circuit looked to the supervisor’s responses, which were rude and angry, as evidence to show that the employer’s actions were a pretext for discriminatory motivation. As stated in that opinion, a “jury might find that he [the supervisor] demonstrated both his anger and defensiveness and infer, based in part on that finding, that his motives were something besides protecting” against possible liability. Remember, the last interaction between an employer and employee may be critical, if a claim of discrimination later arises.