EEOC Sues Universal for Race Discrimination

May 1, 2006 ( - The US District Court for the Central District of California has rejected a motion by Universal Pictures to dismiss a race discrimination case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the EEOC announcement, the court found that the agency had presented direct evidence that Universal’s decision to fire Frank Davis was motivated by his race.   In addition, the court said that the reasons Universal gave for firing Davis raise a genuine issue regarding the motive for the firing and “could support an inference that he was fired because of his race.”

Davis was hired as First Assistant Director for the film “2 Fast 2 Furious.”   The director, John Singleton, who is also black said that Davis did not have any performance problems and he was opposed to Universal’s firing, the announcement said.

The EEOC presented evidence of a telephone interview during which the interviewer asked Davis, “What color are you? Are you black?”   In addition, the EEOC said that Davis was replaced with a white assistant director.

The court said Universal gave inconsistent reasons for firing Davis.   Universal also gave reasons for the firing for which white assistant directors were not fired.

“Movie studios like Universal are not above the law and cannot flagrantly violate the rights of people brave enough to complain about discrimination,” said EEOC Los Angeles Regional Attorney Anna Park, in the announcement.