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Burmese man loses workplace discrimination appeal

May 5, 2014

A man born in Burma whose employment at a Mooresville factory was terminated after co-workers complained about his behavior failed to persuade the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate his claim of discrimination based on national origin.

The court affirmed summary judgment in favor of the employer in Cung Hnin v. TOA (USA), LLC, 13-3658. After Hnin was fired from TOA’s automotive metal stamping plant, he sued claiming violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000.

Hnin claimed discrimination on the basis of national origin and also brought a retaliation claim, arguing the company fired him after he voiced concern about the promotion of ethnic Chin workers.

But the 7th Circuit panel affirmed judgment in the employer’s favor granted by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Southern District of Indiana. TOA investigated claims and interviewed employees who alleged that Hnin repeatedly insinuated a sexual relationship between two co-workers. Other co-workers said Hnin often got angry, acted aggressively and made them uncomfortable. He also told workers to slow down production so workers could get more overtime, according to the record.

“Viewing the evidence and all reasonable inferences in Hnin’s favor, he has not pointed to any evidence suggesting that (TOA officials) did not honestly believe (their) reasons for terminating Hnin’s employment,” wrote Judge Amy J. St. Eve, sitting by designation from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. “Therefore, we affirm the district court’s judgment as to Hnin’s national origin discrimination claim.”

Regarding the retaliation claim, Hnin “has not presented a convincing mosaic of circumstantial evidence that would permit a jury to infer that TOA retaliated against him,” St. Eve wrote.




 

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