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Title VII Sex Discrimination Claim v. Performance

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Sometimes, it really is all about performance. Or, in the words of Judge McConnell of the Tenth Circuit, “This case presents an especially weak Title VII sex discrimination claim.”

The Plaintiff, Griff G. Argo, worked as an Individual Enrollment Specialist (“IES”) for the Defendant Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, Inc. (“Blue Cross”). Although he was an effective worker for several years, his work performance steadily declined in 2002. Within that year, Argo failed to meet one or more performance goals for nine consecutive months as well as his annual goal. Additionally, Argo received repeated warnings about tardiness and “attitude” problems, but Argo persisted in arriving late, misusing time, and failing to perform work as directed. Blue Cross repeatedly disciplined Argo, which apparently led to the filing of an internal complaint alleging that he was being sexually harassed by his supervisor. Despite the internal complaint, Blue Cross terminated Argo’s employment when he was again late for work and again failed to perform work as directed.

After termination, Argo sued, claiming that Blue Cross had engaged in reverse discrimination and retaliation for the internal filing of a sexual harassment complaint. The federal trial court dismissed the claim and the 10th Circuit affirmed.

Tomorrow: Read why the court made this decision.