Texas Nurse’s Claims of Racial and Gender Discrimination Answered with Partial Summary Judgment for Employer

Many issues can arise in the workplace, some of which are actionable under Texas law and many of which are not. In a typical Dallas employment discrimination case, the plaintiff may assert that he or she was treated unfairly on account of his or her age, gender, and/or race.

The employer, in response, may present its side of the case, defending itself against the employee’s accusations and, in some cases, asking the trial court to dismiss the case against it.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a former telephone-triage nurse who filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the defendant medical center in the District Court for Harris County, alleging that she had been subjected to racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and retaliation for her opposition of discriminatory practices in the workplace. The plaintiff was a Caucasian female; her supervisor was an African American male. According to the plaintiff, the supervisor subjected her and other Caucasian nurses to harassment, threats of physical violence, and abusive treatment because of their gender and their race. The plaintiff resigned approximately four months after she began employment with the defendant.

The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the plaintiff’s claims failed as a matter of law. The trial court allowed the plaintiff to introduce her own evidence and, after consideration, agreed with the defendant that it was entitled to summary judgment.

Holding of the Court

The Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas affirmed in part and reversed in part. According to the court, the defendant was entitled to summary judgment as to the plaintiff’s gender-based disparate treatment discrimination claim but not with regard to her other claims. The court arrived at this conclusion after determining that the plaintiff had presented evidence sufficient to raise a factual issue as to whether she was treated less favorably than a similarly situated member of the offending supervisor’s own race, whether she was constructively discharged, whether the supervisor’s ongoing harassment was severe or pervasive, and whether the plaintiff’s report of gender and race discrimination was reported to the defendant’s agent. The court determined that the plaintiff had raised genuine issues of material fact regarding her prima facie case of retaliation, so summary judgment should not have been granted as to this claim (or her charge of racial discrimination).

The court overruled the plaintiff’s remaining issue to the extent that it challenged summary judgment as to her gender-based disparate treatment claim

Have a Question for a Dallas Employment Attorney?

If your business has been accused of wrongdoing by a current or former employee, you should talk to a Dallas employment discrimination defense attorney as soon as possible. A prompt and thorough response can help protect your business against frivolous claims and keep litigation costs at a minimum. At Key Harrington Barnes, we handle many types of business law, employment litigation, and employee relations cases. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, call us now at 214-615-7925.

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