Boeing Cleared of Racial Discrimination Allegation

January 30, 2007 ( - The Boeing Company has been cleared of wrongdoing regarding racial discrimination charges by an employee after a federal appellate court ruled the employee had not proven his case.

The 4 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland that plaintiff Jerry Lamb did not have the evidence proving McDonnell Douglas and then Boeing (after the two firms merged) deliberately denied him promotional opportunities because he was black.

Lamb filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge of racial discrimination in 2003, alleging that between 2001 and 2003, he applied for approximately 75 positions within the company, but was not hired for any of them.

He later filed a lawsuit based on 10 of those claims of failure to promote. Williams threw out five of the claims as having been raised too late and cleared the company of illegal actions in the remaining instances. In each of the five latter instances, the company provided evidence that the person hired was chosen because he or she had specific skills that Lamb lacked, the appellate ruling said.

Lamb was originally a product support technical specialist but later worked as a flight mechanic, according to the ruling.

“Boeing offered merit-related reasons for its hiring decisions in each of those cases and nothing in the company’s handling of those claims raises a red flag of discriminatory treatment that justifies viewing the discrete promotional decisions before this Court in a different light,” the appellate judges wrote in the latest decision.

The 4 th  Circuit also turned away Lamb’s argument that the company acted illegally by hiring the other candidates based on job skills not listed in the original posted job description. The appellate judges said they were unwilling to infer that the credentials on which the hiring managers said they relied were pretexts for discrimination simply because such credentials were not listed in advance.

The ruling is Lamb v. The Boeing Co., 4th Cir., No. 05-1843 (Jan. 11, 2007) is  here .