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Ex-Keebler Worker Loses Discrimination Claim

(CN) - A former Keebler employee failed to show that his race, and not a scrap with a co-worker, was the reason he got fired, a federal judge in New York ruled.

U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe said Edgar Uribe failed to provide evidence that the Keebler fired him because he is Hispanic, using the pretext that he and a fellow employee had violated the workplace violence policy.

Uribe claimed that a non-Hispanic co-worker, Walter Smith, threatened to kill him and pushed him onto a table for opening the break-room door, creating a breeze.

Uribe allegedly put his hands on Smith, but the men were quickly pulled apart by two other employees.

After an investigation, Keebler determined that both employees violated a union agreement banning workplace violence and fired them.

Uribe's union filed a grievance over his firing, but an arbitrator concluded that Uribe had "engaged in fight during work hours, which was grounds for immediate discharge."

Judge Gardephe agreed.

"Uribe's discrimination claim rests entirely on his assertion that Keebler treated him unfairly by imposing the same discipline on him and Smith, when Smith's conduct was allegedly worse than Uribe's," he wrote.

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