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Aug 2012

Jack Coakley secured the dismissal of race discrimination and retaliation claims filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination by a former employee of a human services agency that provided residential services to disabled persons.  The Complainant’s employment was terminated after she failed to follow proper procedures in administering medication to a client and, when counseled on the matter, made abusive and vulgar statements to her supervisor in the presence of other staff and clients.  The Complainant alleged that she was terminated because of her race and that she was subjected to retaliation because she had previously complained about discrimination.  Jack Coakley presented evidence from several witnesses who established that the medication error and insubordinate conduct by the Complainant, in fact, occurred.    In response to the employee’s allegations of disparate treatment, Jack Coakley presented evidence that out of 14 employees whom had been terminated by the Respondent for medication errors and/or insubordination only two of the employees were members of the Complainant’s race.  The employer’s staff was quite diverse and these statistics directly contradicted the Complainant’s claims of disparate treatment.  With respect to the retaliation claims, the alleged protected activity occurred four months prior to the plaintiff’s termination and Respondent, in addition to disputing that such protected activity ever occurred, argued that, even assuming it did, the alleged protected activity was too remote in time from the contested employment decision to be probative of retaliation.  After thoroughly investigating the allegations, the MCAD made lack of probable cause findings with respect to all of the Complainant’s claims and the case was dismissed.


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