He was demoted for nude sunbathing at work…so he sued for discrimination

by Juliette Willow16 May 2014
An HR director in charge of a school district has spent seven years dealing with a feisty sunbather of an employee.

Charles Davis was working as a custodian at an elementary school in Kansas City when he was caught sunbathing in the nude on the roof of his school in 2007. He wasn’t fired, but he was suspended for a month and demoted.

Over the next five years, he applied for seven different jobs as head custodian at different schools in the same district, only to be turned down for all of them.

So three times, he responded by filing racial discrimination claims with the EEOC – and though none of them were successful, he then filed a retaliation claim. When that, too, was denied, he filed suit against the district’s HR director, Stephen Vaughn.

A district court had made a unanimous summary judgment affirming that the HR director was in the right, saying: “In a nutshell the key issue is whether a common purpose to retaliate against Davis must be inferred from the sheer volume of his promotion denials; we think not when seven independent and informed decision makers are involved.”

But Davis protested, taking it to a US Court of Appeals, which just this month affirmed the original judgment, almost seven years after Davis was originally found in the buff.

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