By Portia Williams
ASHLAND, Ky. — The Greenup County School District is seeking the dismissal of a federal lawsuit filed last year by David Parker, a former custodian who alleges his termination from his position was racially motivated. Parker alleges he was terminated as an act of retaliation for filing complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in regard to his treatment by the district.
The Greenup County School Districts attorney, James H. Moore III, said he filed a 41-page motion for summary judgment in U.S. District Court in Ashland on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Judge Henry R. Wilhoit is presiding over the case in the U.S District Court Eastern District of Kentucky.
“We filed the motion on Friday, and Mr. Parker’s attorney will have 21 days file his response. He get’s a response, and we get a reply, and then after that the court will decide whether it wants to hear oral arguments, or whether it wants to have it submitted based on the written arguments and making it a ruling, one way or another,” Moore said.
Parker maintains his allegations of racial discrimination and retaliation were substantiated by the EEOC in July 2011, but the district had made no attempt to settle the charges. A notice of Parker’s right to sue was issued by The Department of Justice in January of 2013.
Moore maintains the plaintiff, David Parker, who is African-American, has failed to produce evidence to prove he suffered racial discrimination. He said the basis for Parker’s release from his position with the school system stems from unsatisfactory job performance.
According to Moore, it will be a long process that is contingent upon the judge’s ruling.
“It is going to be fully-briefed. The judge in his discretion may want to hear the attorneys argue orally, and sometimes he says, ‘No I’ve got enough in writing,’ you just never know,” he said.
Moore said Parker was terminated by the Greenup County school system for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons. Moore also contends that the evidence to prove that Parker’s termination is devoid of racial animus is very clear.
According to U.S District court records Parker alleges in his complaints include that he was subjected to harsh treatment in the workplace on the basis of his race, and being called racial slurs by his co-workers.
While the Greenup County school system acknowledges Parker was fired and then reinstated, they maintain Parker’s reinstatement “was not based on an admission of racial motivation,” but rather upon a determination his termination was not done in compliance with the “applicable policies and procedures” of the school system.
According to Moore, Parker’s performance evaluation for the 2008-09 school showed “a variety of problem areas,” and those continued to escalate during the following school year. Video evidence and the depositions of a number of witnesses showed Parker spent excessive time in the GCHS gym watching boys’ and girls’ basketball games when he was supposed to have been working, and watching basketball games on TV during his breaks, often exceeding the time authorized for such breaks.
Moore also said in the motion that Parker built an impressive negative employment record from the time of his hire to the time his contract was non renewed in 2010.
Moore said they are confident about the filing of the motion for dismissal of Parker’s lawsuit.
“We are very hopeful. We think that there is a substantial basis for the for the motion, but of course the other side will think differently, but the judge will decide. That is the process,” he said.
Moore said there will be a pre-trial conference for the case will convene in the district court on April 23, 2014.
Portia Williams can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.