Zainalian v. Memphis Bd. of Educ. (6th Cir. 2001): Failed Employment Discrimination Case

An Iranian Muslim teacher sued his former employer, the Memphis Board of Education, under Title VII, alleging retaliation and discrimination on the basis of national origin and religion. The plaintiff argued that he was denied a permanent, full-time position because of his race and religion. The defendant argued that the denial was because the plaintiff received several unsatisfactory reports while serving in substitute positions. At trial, the U.S. District Court for the District of Tennessee granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the lower court's decision, concluding that the plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie case of discrimination and that the defendant had legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for refusing to offer the plaintiff a permanent position.

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