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Machado v. Goodman Manufacturing Co.

10 F. Supp. 2d 709 (1997)

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Machado v. Goodman Manufacturing Co.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas

10 F. Supp. 2d 709 (1997)

Facts

Eduardo Machado (plaintiff) worked for Goodman Manufacturing Company, L.P. (defendant) for four years in its Miami office as a regional sales manager before being promoted to vice president of international sales and relocating to Houston, Texas. Machado was Cuban by ethnicity. Machado did not experience any discriminatory comments or behavior at work while working as a manager in Miami. However, when Machado sought a promotion, Goodman’s president and CEO, Thomas Burkett, did not seem to want to promote Machado. Once promoted, Machado was paid less than the outgoing vice president and given an inferior office. Then, after transferring to Houston, Machado received harassing comments regarding his ethnicity. For example, another vice president, Barry Watson, said three different times that he did not want Cubans living in his neighborhood. Also, Machado alleged that discriminatory treatment undermined his authority and his ability to carry out his duties. For example, when Machado was preparing for an international trip, another vice president, Peter Alexander, told Machado to act clueless when he arrived overseas and just bring back information for the other leaders to review. On one occasion, when Machado arrived in Thailand, the company he was visiting informed him that the company had received a call indicating that Machado was not authorized to make decisions and that Machado’s role was simply to see equipment and gather brochures. After only two months, Machado resigned, citing the discriminatory remarks and treatment. Burkett succeeded in convincing Machado to stay. Burkett investigated Watson’s comments and threatened to fire Watson if he kept making the remarks Machado complained about. Yet Watson continued his remarks and behavior. For this reason, after only three months in Machado’s new position, Machado appealed to Burkett to allow him to return to Miami and to work from there. Burkett agreed. However, Burkett made Watson Machado’s supervisor despite Watson’s alleged harassment of Machado. Watson’s discriminatory behavior continued, but this time Machado’s complaints to Burkett were not taken seriously. Machado resigned two months later and brought suit, alleging discrimination based on national origin and constructive discharge because his work environment had become so hostile. Goodman moved for summary judgment on both claims.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Atlas, J.)

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