Korean Worker's National Origin Discrimination Case Dismissed

April 16, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Simply because an employee had been with a company for a long time did not legally change his status as an "at will" worker, a federal appellate court has ruled.

In making that determination, the 9 th  U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a wrongful termination lawsuit against the former employer, a Gardena, California, manufacturer of aerospace fasteners.The appellate panel asserted that   U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California was correct in his determination   that plaintiff   Neung Kang had not proven Kang’s contention that his June 2003 dismissal by PB Fasteners was because of his national origin. Kang is Korean.

The company said it decided to retain the lead worker in Kang’s department rather than Kang because the other employee was more proficient in English. Employees in Kang’s unit had to interact with customers, the court pointed out.

Kang claimed that because he had worked for the company for 30 years and “received merit raises, promotions, and highly favorable performance reviews,” his work record effectively created an employment contract that was violated when he was dismissed.

The appellate panel declared that Kang “offers no direct evidence, and only weak circumstantial evidence” to prove his claims.

The ruling in Kang v. PB Fasteners , No. 06-55913 (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2008) is available here .