He was demoted for nude sunbathing at work…so he sued for discrimination

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An HR director in charge of a school district has spent seven years dealing with a feisty sunbather of an employee.

Custodian Charles Davis was working as a custodian at an elementary school in Kansas City when he was caught sunbathing in the nude on the roof of his school in 2007. He wasn’t fired, but he was suspended for a month and demoted.

Over the next five years, he was turned down for seven different jobs as head custodian at different schools in the same district, only to be turned down for all of them. So three times, he responded by filing racial discrimination claims with the EEOC – and though none of them were successful, he then filed a retaliation claim. When that, too, was denied, he filed suit against the district’s HR director, Stephen Vaughn.

A district court had made a unanimous summary judgment affirming that the HR director was in the right, saying: “In a nutshell the key issue is whether a common purpose to retaliate against Davis must be inferred from the sheer volume of his promotion denials; we think not when seven independent and informed decision makers are involved.”

But Davis protested, taking it to a US Court of Appeals, which just this month affirmed the original judgment, almost seven years after Davis was originally found in the buff.
  • S on 5/21/2014 2:28:18 PM

    So the story is someone continually tried to sue for something silly and it didn't work?

  • Martha Smith on 5/19/2014 9:05:20 AM

    The EEOC is ridiculous in its attempt to help employees, the employer gets screwed everytime! I am sure there are some legitmate cases out there, however, read a claim when it first comes in (written in the employees own words) then read the 'perfected' claim and tell me the EEOC doesn't over step their bounds! I hope the probe into the department finds all the corrupt practices that have been going on for years!! Also, the back log of cases is what keeps cases like this one alive for 7 years!

  • Chris Romine on 5/16/2014 11:52:49 AM

    Unbelievable that this man could carry on like this for seven years. Law suits are very stressful and expensive even if you're in the right. I think turn about is fair play, I would counter sue for harassment, if possible. It's ashame that the EEOC allows the advancement of these cases.

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