Eeoc V. Wc&M Enterprises, Inc., 496 F.3d 393 (5th Cir. August 10, 2007)
1128 WordsApr 10, 20135 Pages
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v.
WC&M Enterprises, Inc.
496 F.3d 393 (5th Cri. 2007)
EEOC v. WC&M Enterprises, Inc., 496 F.3d 393 (5th Cir. August 10, 2007)
Facts: This is a Title VII action alleging harassment based on national origin and religion. The facts are set forth in the light most favorable to Rafiq. On May 11, 2001, Mohommed Rafiq was hired as a car salesman. Rafiq was born in India and is a practicing Muslim. The alleged harassment began on September 11, 2001. When he arrived for work that afternoon, his co-workers were watching news coverage of the terrorist attacks and one of them asked him in a mocking way, "Where have you been?", as if to infer that he had participated in the attacks.
After the United…show more content…
That is an incorrect legal standard. Applying the totality of the circumstances test, the Fifth Circuit finds that the EEOC has presented sufficient evidence to create an issue of fact as to whether the harassment that Rafiq allegedly suffered was so severe or pervasive as to alter a condition of his employment.
Next, the court also finds sufficient evidence that the harassment was based on Rafiq 's national origin or religion. The district court erred by finding that the EEOC could not prevail on the national origin claim because none of the alleged harassment related to the fact that Rafiq is from India. The Fifth Circuit explains that "a party is able to establish a discrimination claim based on its own national origin even though the discriminatory acts do not identify the victim 's actual country of origin." Moreover, the court reviews the evidence and finds support for the EEOC 's claim that Rafiq was harassed based on his national origin.
Finally, the district court applied Texas law to hold that the EEOC could not recover for Rafiq 's mental anguish because there was no evidence that the anguish or stress that Rafiq suffered "was so debilitating that it interrupted his daily life." In reaching this conclusion, the district court erred in two ways: (1) the availability of mental anguish damages for a Title VII claim is determined by federal law, not state law; and (2) the district court did not view the evidence in the light most favorable to the EEOC.