(CN) – Boeing must face discrimination charges from two female engineers who were fired for low skills-test scores, the 9th Circuit ruled.
The court reversed an Arizona district court’s dismissal, ruling that a reasonable jury could conclude that the women were fired for reasons other than their work performance.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on behalf of Antonia Castron and Renee Wrede, two longtime employees at Boeing’s Tucson plant. Castron and Wrede both say they were fired by supervisors with histories of sexist and discriminatory behavior, and were “set up to fail” during skills evaluations.
In Castron’s case, her supervisor said he “didn’t want any more women and that women were not worth a shit,” according to the ruling.
Castron requested a transfer because she felt “mistreated and unwelcome” in the all-male department. Managers assigned her to a project high above her skill level and fired her two months later when she failed a skills test, the ruling stated.
“A jury might conclude that (her supervisors) deliberately set Castron up to fail,” the St. Louis-based circuit ruled.
Wrede, who had received high scores on similar skills tests for years, failed an evaluation based on what she says were lies told to her by her supervisors.
Testimony on that point from Wrede’s coworkers was critical to the court’s reversal.
“Coworker testimony is particularly relevant here because it would allow a jury to infer that Boeing’s proffered reason for termination – a poor evaluation – was not only inaccurate, but is simply unworthy of credence.”