Legal Briefing: Comment Key to Discrimination Case


Feb. 11, 2014

Leanne Kidd, a white woman, worked for Korean-owned Mando America Corp. where she was responsible for accounts payable/general ledger. Following her January 2008 hire and after an assistant accounting manager was terminated, Kidd was assigned his job duties. In the spring of 2009, Mando hired a new assistant accounting manager without advertising it to Kidd and hired a Korean male for that position. Kidd sued the company under Title VII for discriminatory failure to promote on the basis of national origin and sex, and the U.S. District Court for Middle Alabama granted summary judgment to Mando, even though Kidd contended that Mando’s HR manager told her the company “refused to even consider an American candidate.”  

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit remanded the case back to the district court for trial to determine the admissibility of the HR manager’s purported comment.

The 11th Circuit rejected Mando’s argument that the HR manager’s statement should not be considered as evidence of discriminatory motive because the HR manager was not the decision-maker. The court held that “a statement made by a nondecision-maker may be both relevant and attributable to the defendant employer if the nondecision-maker was sufficiently involved in the decision-making process.” Kidd v. Mando Am. Corp. 11th Cir. 2013, No. 12-12090 (Sept. 27, 2013).  

IMPACT: Employers must ensure that managers are sensitized about the issues of responding to questions about decisions by employees to avoid even the appearance of improper motive.

James E. Hall, Mark T. Kobata and Marty Denis are partners in the law firm Barlow, Kobata and Denis, which has offices in Los Angeles and Chicago. To comment, email FollowWorkforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


New Labor Laws Taking Effect in 2023

The new year is fast approaching, and with its arrival comes a host of new labor laws that will impact ...

labor laws, minimum wage, wage and hour law

workforce blog


Wage and Hour Laws in 2022: What Employers Need to Know

Whether a mom-and-pop shop with a handful of employees or a large corporation staffing thousands, compl...

compliance, wage and hour law