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Court Rejects Proctor & Gamble's Request for Immediate Appeal in Discrimination Case

MALDEF

(MIAMI) – A federal judge in Florida has rejected a request by Procter & Gamble to immediately appeal the judge’s earlier denial of summary judgment to the company.

The order comes in a discrimination lawsuit filed by David M. Rodriguez, who is authorized to work in the U.S., but Procter & Gamble denied him a job because he is a recipient of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

Judge Kathleen Williams of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued the ruling in a lawsuit filed by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and Outten & Golden LLP in 2017 on behalf of Rodriguez.

"Although Procter & Gamble loudly and publicly proclaims its commitment to equity and inclusion, the company continues to tenaciously assert a right to discriminate against DACA recipients,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “Procter & Gamble’s litigation tactics mark the company with the dubious distinction of being a leading defender of discrimination against young immigrants authorized to work in this country.”

In June, Williams rejected Procter & Gamble’s argument that the lawsuit should be kicked out before trial. Lawyers for the company had argued that Procter & Gamble’s policy of refusing to consider DACA recipients was permissible under the law. That decision, however, is not appealable to a federal circuit court of appeals unless it is certified for “interlocutory appeal.” A month later, attorneys for the consumer-product giant sought certification for an immediate appeal.

In her 15-page ruling issued last week, Judge Williams concluded that Procter & Gamble failed to meet the standard for certification. Specifically, the court noted the company “cited to no statutory text, legislative history, or provisions in Title VII or IRCA to support its position.” Plaintiff’s motion for class certification is pending and otherwise, the case is trial-ready.

“We hope that P&G moves in the right direction by opening up job opportunities to this highly qualified and motivated population that is legally authorized to work in the U.S.” said Ossai Miazad, partner at Outten & Golden LLP.

Rodriguez applied for an internship in 2013, while a student at Florida International University. The application required that he provide information related to his citizenship and immigration status. After completing the form, Rodriguez was subsequently denied the internship and received confirmation from a Procter & Gamble representative that he was rejected because of his immigration status.

The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment that the company’s hiring practices are unlawful, back pay and damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.

Read the ruling HERE.

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Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the “law firm of the Latino community,” MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.

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