Repeatedly bypassed for promotion: Valid discrimination case?

Time and again, when a Carpenter Grade I job opened up, 9-yr veteran Grade II Arthur Gomez was turned down for promotion. He decided that enough was enough.
By Raymond Dreyfack May 1, 1999

Time and again, when a Carpenter Grade I job opened up, 9-yr veteran Grade II Arthur Gomez was turned down for promotion. He decided that enough was enough.

“I have the experience, I can do the work, and I have the seniority,” he protested to Maintenance Supervisor Henry McDowell. “How come I don’t get the job?”

“The answer is simple,” McDowell replied. “You simply aren’t ready to handle the job. If you want me to, I’ll go over your work record with you.”

“That’s bull and you know it. If I wasn’t Hispanic, I would have been promoted long ago.”

“Your being Hispanic has nothing to do with it. If you want Grade I you have to earn it. Shape up and you’ll get a crack at the job.”

That answer wasn’t good enough for Gomez. He stomped off in search of the shop steward to plead his case.

Question: In view of his seniority and long experience, does Gomez deserve a chance at the job?

Wilson’s decision: Plant Engineer Sam Wilson supported McDowell’s rejection when he took a look at Gomez’s performance record. “While seniority and experience are important factors in granting promotions, they’re not the only factors. A positive and cooperative attitude are at least equally important. Gomez consistently refuses to work overtime when he’s needed. His attendance record is poor, and job sheets indicate that it often takes him too long to complete projects. On top of that, we have plenty of black and Hispanic employees assigned to Grade I and other key jobs to support management’s contention that prejudice plays no part in his failure to advance. Promotion denied.”

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