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"Convincing mosaic" of discrimination
overcomes summary judgment

Jenkins v. Karl Nell (11th Cir 03/03/2022)
Sent to Custom Alerts™ subscribers on 03/203/2022

William Jenkins sued Karl Nell for race discrimination after Nell terminated Jenkins. Jenkins lost in the trial court because he failed to present a prima facie case of race discrimination and failed to show that Nell’s reason for Jenkins’s termination was pretextual.

The 11th Circuit reversed, finding that Jenkins presented sufficient evidence to establish a "convincing mosaic of discrimination" to survive summary judgment.

Jenkins, who is white, was a crane operator. Nell, his boss, is Black. After Nell and Jenkins had a heated meeting regarding Jenkins's request for a weekend leave, Jenkins was fired.

The court said Jenkins failed to establish a prima facie case based on the McDonnell Douglas framework, primarily because the three comparator employees he cited had not committed the same or substantially similar misconduct.

However, the court found that Jenkins presented sufficient evidence to establish a "convincing mosaic of discrimination" to survive summary judgment.

This was based on the following:

(1) Another employee committed a violation (like Jenkins) but remained employed.

(2) No less than 18 white crane operators retired, resigned, or transferred from the department since Nell took over.

(3) There was evidence that Nell mistreated three white crane operators.

(4) Nell had a tight relationship with HR.

(5) There was evidence of Nell's racially-biased comments about white crane operators.

(6) Jenkins declined to change an accident report.

(7) Nell gave shifting reasons for terminating Jenkins.

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