Monday, February 2, 2015

Former Walgreen's Employee Who was Told "Go Work with Own Kind at 7-11" Allowed to Advance Claims

In a federal case out of the Northern District of California, a former store manager for popular retailer and pharmacy, Walgreen's, was allowed to advance his age and national origin discrimination claims after the Court found that the plaintiff, Hassen Almaweri, "rasied a triable issue of fact as to his prima facie case and as to pretext."

This case is relatively interesting because the Opinion spends 10 of its 19 pages discussing the facts alone as this case was drenched in facts that were dispositive in Walgreen's motion for summary judgment.  As I often tell clients who telephone me inquiring about whether they have meritorious claims for discrimination: "the devil is often in the details."

Almaweri, prior to his termination, was allegedly having performance issues as evidenced by disciplines and a performance improvement plan ("PIP") he was issued, but Almaweri was also able to show that his stores were performers. This helped him show that not only was he "performing the job to the employer's reasonable expectation," but helped him show pretext.  Further helping him show pretext was the disputed fact that Almaweri's 'Community Leader' reportedly told him to go work at "7-Eleven" with his "kind of people."

It's clear extensive and 'smart' discovery was engaged as the Plaintiff was able to unveil several areas where he was performing his job well/above-par compared to similarly-situated employees, yet got fired after working for Walgreen's for over 20 years while other managers performed worse and received higher marks in their evaluations despite receiving similar remarks.  The Opinion took great effort to discuss these evaluations and performance evaluations.

The case is Almaweri v Walgreen Specialty Pharmacy, LLC, January 26, 2015, (NDCal, Laporte, E.) and worth the 19-page read.

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