On February 6, 2013, the United States District Court , Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division, denied Planned Parenthood’s motion for summary judgement in a case where they were accused of firing a black employee because of his race.
According to the lawsuit, Edgar Harris, who is African-American filed a civil rights complaint against Planned Parenthood after he was terminated claiming his termination was racist based.
Harris was employed by Planned Parenthood as an armed security guard from March 30, 2009 to September 28, 2011.
Because Harris was scheduled to be in court on September 28, 2011, he asked his supervisor, Tom Hemingway, to find coverage for his shift on that date. On September 27, 2011, Hemingway told Harris that no coverage was available. According to Hemingway, Harris became angry and made the
statement, “I should shoot this place up.”
Hemingway states that he became concerned and asked another employee to speak to Harris. Hemingway left the premises and Harris completed his shift. On September 28, 2011, Cathy Williams, Planned Parenthood’s Vice President of Human Resources, informed Harris that his employment was terminated for making a threat.
Harris then filed a claim for unemployment benefits which was initially denied based on the finding that he had been discharged for misconduct.
After receiving testimony from Harris and a witness from Planned Parenthood, the Appeals Tribunal determined that Harris did not make the threat for which he was terminated and that Harris was
not disqualified from unemployment benefits.
Harris filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in which he alleged that he was terminated because of his race. According to Harris’ sworn statement to the EEOC, Williams told him over the telephone that he was terminated because he threatened “to shoot up the place.”
Harris denied making the statement and pointed out to Williams that Hemingway would not have allowed Harris to complete his shift if he had made such a threat.
Harris states that Williams refused to consider Harris’ argument or conduct an investigation and opted to believe Hemingway, who is white, instead of Harris.
Despite terminating his employment for making a violent threat, Williams told Harris that he could come to the facility to pick up his paycheck. Harris states that before his termination, he “always had excellent job performance.”
The case continues….(here)