Employee Fired After Speaking Up Against Supervisor’s Offensive Racial Remarks
Tony Sayger is a Caucasian who was hired as a maintenance worker for Riceland Foods. On several occasions, Sayger heard a supervisor use offensive language about African-American employees. Sayger and two other Caucasian employees complained about the supervisor several times and Riceland eventually reprimanded the supervisor. Riceland required the supervisor to attend diversity training, but did not impose any further discipline. Sayger and the two Caucasian employees who complained were fired. Sayger filed a lawsuit against Riceland under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 alleging retaliatory discharge. At trial, Riceland asserted that Sayger was laid off as part of a “cost reduction plan”. The jury returned a verdict for Sayger and awarded him compensatory damages and back pay. The Eighth Circuit affirmed, concluding that there was sufficient evidence to support the retaliation claim.
Sayger v. Riceland Foods, Inc., Nos. 12-3301 & 12-3395 (8th Cir. Nov. 18, 2013).comments powered by Disqus