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Patterson v. McLean Credit Union Case


In Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, Patterson, an African-American woman who worked for McLean, a small company with less than 15 employees, sued the employer claiming that he (employer) discriminated her by promoting a white person to the position of an accountant. Based on chapter reading, justice was not served. Indeed, Mallevold (1991) supports this conclusion claiming that where two parties engage in at-will employment contract, the contract is renewed every time a new duty is assigned between the employer and the employee (in this case, Patterson).

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Consequently, in the case, the jury should have concluded that continuous racial harassment or discrimination preceded every new contract. From the exclusion of post-formation behavior in the review process of any racial prejudice towards Patterson by the defendant, a departure from the precedents established in cases that involve civil rights was evident. Patterson was accustomed to discriminatory practices throughout her tenure.

A perception that she could not find any remedy may have contributed to her long wait before suing. Nevertheless, even if she could have sued in time, the decision for the court could not have changed since the ruling was not made primarily based on time jurisdictions but by the limitations of the circumstances under which provision 42 U.SC. §1981 was actionable.

My Interview with Patterson

In the capacity of a manager, my interview process with Patterson would be done in a manner where all terms of work are laid out, including remuneration, the nature of work, and prerequisites for any promotion. From the case, I have learned that the interviewing process should be carried out in a manner where any implied or assumed contractual terms are clearly deliberated to avoid any legal liability. Due to failures of McLean to stipulate the nature of work that he anticipated Patterson to perform, Patterson compared the job she did with that of the Whites. This situation developed claims of the post-formation plan of racial discrimination and harassment that would be justifiable in a court of law.

Patterson’s Allegations

Some of the actions that Patterson alleged McLean engaged in seemed inappropriate. For instance, after being fired, Patterson claimed that McLean maintained a racially discriminating work environment. Besides, the plaintiff also argued that the employer had been exploring discriminatory practices such as unduly criticizing her in meetings, something he did not do to white employees (Cornell University Law School, 2015).

She went on to inform the court that she was given menial jobs such as dusting among others, which were not within the scope of her job description. Patterson was employed specifically to coordinate files and/or work as a teller. She executed this job for 10 years before she was fired. Rather, she was okay with it to the extent that she remained employed. This situation justified the permissibility of any alleged action by Patterson during her term in employment.

Patterson sued under the 42 USC §1981 provision. The article stipulates that all people have equal rights in making and enforcing contracts, just like the Whites. Although Patterson could have been anticipated to sue under the provisions of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, this plan was not possible since McLean employed less than 15 employees. The trial court ruled in favor of McLean. The trial judge informed the Jury that the plaintiff had to demonstrate that she was equally or over qualified comparing the White who was promoted to the position of the accountant. The court stated that the claims of harassment were not in any way actionable under the provision of 42 USC §1981 (Cornell University Law School, 2015).

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Patterson was not contented. She appealed, although the Appellate Court held the same decision. However, Patterson also appealed. The Ultimate Court ruled that the conditions of employment were not actionable under the 42 USC §1981 clause. Patterson could not receive any compensation for the post-contractual claims of racial discrimination.

Reference List

Cornell University Law School. (2015). Patterson v. McLean Credit Union. Web.

Mallevold, C. (1991). Patterson v. McLean Credit Union: Denying the equality of effect in the right to contract. Pace law review, 11(2), 411-454.

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