Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Case of the Day: Gogel v. Kia Motors Mfg. of Ga., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27211 (11th Cir. Sept. 24, 2018)


Plaintiff claimed discrimination based on sex and national origin against the defendant, a South Korean carmaker located in Georgia. Plaintiff was made to serve as a greeter to visiting executives from Korea, and was not promoted. The plaintiff was then terminated when she began an investigation into an affair between a female employee and a male executive, and encouraged other employees to file complaints against the company. In the lower court, the defendant prevailed in summary judgment.

The Eleventh Circuit vacated the summary judgment as to the retaliation claim, while affirming the summary judgment as to the discrimination claims. The court found that, while the plaintiff worked outside of the firm's internal procedure by encouraging employees to file complaints, she did so because the internal procedures were insufficient to handle the issues at hand.


Here we have an interesting twist into a previously existing situation. Asian companies with factories in the United States often faced claims of discrimination. Here's the twist: the employer-friendly laws of these jurisdictions are locking in the discriminatory practices. The plaintiff in this case managed to reverse one of the summary judgments against her, but the other summary judgment stood, and there was a dissent as to the reversed judgment.

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