Male restaurant manager loses appeal over claim of gender, age discrimination

By John Breslin | Sep 25, 2018

A former restaurant manager has lost his appeal over claims he was discriminated against because of his gender and age.

Randall Remaley, who managed the Travel Centers of America restaurant in Baytown, Texas, prior to his March, 2014, firing, claims his termination happened following the appointment of a female area supervisor.

A Harris County District Court dismissed for lack of evidence the claim against TA Operating for gender and age discrimination under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. This was affirmed by the the 14th Court of Appeals.

"Remaley has not demonstrated error or harm," Justice William J. Boyce wrote in the unanimous opinion of the three judge appeals panel .

"To demonstrate a prima facie case of employment discrimination based on alleged disparate treatment arising from his disciplinary termination, Remaley had  to proffer evidence that he was treated less favorably than similarly situated persons who were female or younger," Boyce wrote.

"Because he proffered no evidence on this essential element of his prima facie case, we affirm the trial court’s grant of no-evidence summary judgment in favor of TA Operating."

Remaley, in his initial complaint, alleged that he was fired shortly after he came under the supervision of a female field manager, Margie Swisher. He was 55, his female replacement was 44.

He claimed to run a "relatively successful" restaurant for eight years, and had a "positive working relationship" with male field managers.

Remaley claimed that following Swisher's appointment, he was treated poorly and that she "wanted to terminate Remaley when she was first introduced to him.” He alleged that his replacement was recruited at least seven days before his termination.

"He further contends that 'Swisher terminated other male managers under questionable circumstances' and 'did not interview male candidates for Remaley’s position,'" according to the court documents

TA Operating countered that Remaley was fired because of his treatment of a female server at the restaurant, and other events.

Ramaley, court documents state, threatened to fire a server over work scheduling and the customer hotline received two complaints reporting that the manager was "verbally abusing” the same employee, which caused her to cry.

The trial and appeals agreed with TA Operating's position, that the plaintiff provided no evidence that Swisher considered Remaley's gender or age ahead of firing him, or against the company's position that he was terminated because of his treatment of an employee.

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