When DEI Violates EEO Law
In Lutz v. Liquidity Services, Inc., No. PWG-21-1229 (United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division, 12/12/22), a vice president of human resources is suing his former employer. According to the VP, the CEO/chairman of the board said to him, “Mike, I want you to retire. I have a diversity problem. I need to improve the diversity profile of the company. And I need to promote Novelette [Murray] into your job.” (Fyi, Novelette is an African-American woman, and the company’s leadership at that time was all white men). The VP’s retirement was announced with kudos for his accomplishments, but then (oddly) he was terminated “without cause,” although the company is now stating that it was for performance issues. The case was allowed to continue to trial. Lesson learned? Taking negative employment actions against a non-minority employee in order to create opportunities for minority employees is still a violation of discrimination laws, even if done in the name of diversity.