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Grigsby v. LaHood, 10-1072

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By FindLaw Staff on December 06, 2010 1:22 PM

Air traffic controller's discrimination suit against the Department of Transportation

Grigsby v. LaHood, 10-1072, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Department of Transportation, in plaintiff's employment discrimination suit against the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, claiming that the FAA failed to select him as an Air Traffic Controller due to his Native American heritage.

In affirming, the court held that careful review of the record shows that plaintiff is unable to proceed under the district method of proof.  The court also held that the district court was correct in concluding that plaintiff was not qualified for the vacant positions, and as such, his prima facie case fails.  Further, assuming arguendo that plaintiff was qualified, his prima facie case still fails because he cannot show that the positions were filled by applicants who had similar or lesser qualifications than him, or that the FAA's legitimate reason for failing to select him was a pretext for discrimination.  Lastly, plaintiff's mixed-motive claim fails because there is ample evidence in the record showing that the FAA made its decision to hire other applicants based on their superior certifications and familiarity with the Indianapolis Center and that it would not have selected plaintiff because he lacked this expertise.

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