Advertisement

April 23, 2014

Sixth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of “Reverse” Racial Discrimination Claim Against Cracker Barrel

In Martinez v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., Case No. 11-2189 (6th Cir. Jan. 10, 2013), in a published decision, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a "reverse" racial discrimination claim arising out of Cracker Barrel's termination of the plaintiff's position as a retail manager at a Flint, Michigan Cracker Barrel.

The plaintiff was a general manager of a Cracker Barrel store for ten years.  Cracker Barrel terminated the plaintiff because she violated company policy when she made remarks during conversations regarding the Haiti earthquake, the plight of those in Haiti, and the use of a "bridge card" as a "ghetto card."  The plaintiff, a Caucasian, contended that similarly situated African Americans were treated more favorably than her—i.e., not fired for making similar remarks.

Interestingly, the Sixth Circuit noted that a claim of "reverse" racial discrimination under federal law requires a showing of "background circumstances supporting the suspicion that the defendant is that unusual employer who discriminates against the majority."  Because the plaintiff also brought a claim alleging race discrimination under Michigan's law, however, she did not need to satisfy this heightened standard of proof to establish a claim because Michigan does not require a heightened standard of proof for reverse discrimination claims.

The Sixth Circuit dismissed the claims because, first, the plaintiff did not come forward with direct evidence of reverse discrimination because her evidence required an inference that Cracker Barrel terminated her based on race.  Second, the plaintiff did not come forward with sufficient evidence that another similarly situated employee was treated more favorably—the plaintiff was differently situated in the management structure of the store and also engaged in more pervasive and severe conduct.  Therefore, the Sixth Circuit found that the plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case of discrimination.

© 2014 Varnum LLP

About the Author

Kyle P. Konwinski, Varnum Law Firm, Litigation Attorney
Associate

Kyle Konwinski is a member of the Litigation and Trial Services Practice Group. A former law clerk for the Honorable Gordon J. Quist of the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Kyle has experience and insight regarding trial court matters in federal court, as well as appellate matters in several different federal circuit courts. He has done work for higher education institutions and municipalities, which has included writing summary judgment motions and appellate briefs in defense of law enforcement in civil Fourth Amendment matters.  Kyle has also worked...

616/336-6894

Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on www.NatLawReview.com are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is www.NatLawReview.com  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.