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IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT No. 08-30444 MARCUS LEE Plaintiff - Appellant v. KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RAILWAY CO Defendant - Appellee Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Before JONES, Chief Judge, and WIENER and BENAVIDES, Circuit Judges. JACQUES L. WIENER, JR., Circuit Judge: Plaintiff-Appellant Marcus Lee, who is African-American, was an engineer for Defendant-Appellee Kansas City Southern Railway Co. (“KCS”) from 1993 until his employment was terminated in 2004 after he failed to observe and obey a stop signal, thereby failing to stop the train he was operating in a Shreveport, Louisiana railyard. Lee sued KCS, alleging (1) race-based employment discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and (2) retaliatory discharge for (a) his prior filing of complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or (b) his numerous absences under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), or both. United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit F I L E D June 30, 2009 Charles R. Fulbruge III Clerk
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No. 08-30444 Lee, a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, joined KCS in 1993 as a 1 brakeman and was promoted to locomotive engineer in 1995. An engineer is in charge of operating the train. When moving trains between tracks in a railyard — as was the situation when Lee committed the final infraction among those for which he was fired — the engineer works with a conductor, who is on the ground giving the engineer instructions, and communicates via radio with a dispatcher, who authorizes each of the train’s movements. 2 In support of his claim of racially motivated employment discrimination, Lee identified several other KCS employees who he contends were similarly situated to him but were treated differently because they are white. The district court determined that these comparators were not similarly situated to Lee and granted summary judgment in favor of KCS, holding that Lee failed to establish a prima facie case of employment discrimination. Convinced that Lee identified at least one appropriate comparator, by virtue of which he established a prima facie case, we reverse the district court’s judgment on Lee’s Title VII claim, but affirm the remainder of the court’s summary judgment in favor of KCS, dismissing the rest of Lee’s claims. I. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS A. Factual Background Lee was an engineer for KCS for nine years until he was fired in September 2004 following an incident that occurred that month while Lee was 1 operating a train in a railyard in Shreveport near the railroad bridge over the Red River. He was attempting to move his train forward on one track and then back the train onto a second track. After Lee pulled the train forward, the conductor with whom Lee was working indicated that he should proceed to reverse the train as planned. Neither Lee nor the conductor could see a red “block signal” which was indicating that Lee’s train must stop because there were trains parked on the second track.
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2011 for the course EMGT 5130 taught by Professor Jeong during the Fall '11 term at UH Clear Lake.

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