Coghlan v. American Seafoods
(9th Cir. Case No. 03-35314)
The gist: When the same person demotes you that just promoted you have to show why they weren't being racist before.
Plaintiff, who alleged that he was terminated from his employment in commercial fishing by his company’s new owners because he was not of Norwegian birth, was required--to establish prima facie case--to present sufficient evidence to overcome the "same actor inference" of nondiscrimination based on fact that decision to terminate plaintiff was made by same person who had earlier made decisions to hire and promote him. Evidence that employer had, on two occasions, given temporary control of ship to Norwegian-born employee who had less experience than plaintiff was insufficient to overcome inference of nondiscrimination where there was uncontroverted evidence that decision was based on recommendation of non-Norwegian supervisor who felt plaintiff lacked sufficient leadership skills.