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Zamora v. Elite Logistics, Inc.

478 F.3d 1160 (2007)

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Zamora v. Elite Logistics, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

478 F.3d 1160 (2007)

Facts

In 2001 Elite Logistics, Inc. (Elite) (defendant) hired Ramon Zamora (plaintiff), a Mexican citizen legally in the United States. Zamora provided Elite with his date of birth, Social Security card, and alien-registration card. Elite later learned that the company might be investigated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to ensure compliance with immigration laws. Elite hired contractors to verify that all its 650 employees had a Social Security number and could legally work within the United States. The investigation revealed that 35 employees, including Zamora, were using duplicate Social Security numbers. Larry Tucker, who was Elite’s human resources manager, informed the employees that they had 10 days to provide additional documentation verifying their Social Security numbers and right to work. Zamora was suspended for not providing additional documentation. Zamora then provided a Social Security Administration document detailing his wage earnings. Tucker refused to accept the document because of certain inconsistencies. Zamora then produced a Social Security Administration statement. Tucker verified the statement and asked Zamora to return to work. Zamora stated that he would not return unless he received an apology. Tucker refused to apologize. Elite terminated Zamora. Zamora filed a Title VII discrimination claim against Elite in federal district court, alleging that his suspension and termination constituted discrimination based on race and national origin. Elite claimed that it suspended Zamora to avoid INS sanctions and terminated Zamora under the belief he would not return without an apology. However, Zamora attempted to introduce evidence that Tucker did not act in good faith. The district court granted Elite summary judgment on the suspension and termination claims. Zamora appealed. A panel of judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed. The case was then heard en banc.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ebel, J.)

Dissent (Lucero, J.)

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