EMPLOYMENT – Ky Civil Rights Act, discrimination, prima facie case: Woods v. Western Kentucky University (CA 9/11/2009)

Woods v. Western Kentucky University
2008-CA-001825 9/11/09 2009 WL 2901520 DR pending

Opinion by Judge VanMeter; Judges Keller and Stumbo concurred. The Court affirmed a directed verdict in favor of Western Kentucky University on appellant’s claim that the change in the qualifications for a director’s position for which she applied was racially motivated in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA).

The Court held that under the burden-shifting approach of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 702, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973), and Kentucky Ctr.For the Arts v. Handley, 827 S.W.2d 697 (Ky. App. 1991), appellant was unable to meet the burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination. She was objectively unqualified for the position since she did not possess a doctorate degree or faculty experience at the time she applied. Even so, the University offered legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for changing the qualifications. Appellant’s own opinions about her work qualifications did not sufficiently cast doubt on the reasons proffered by the University.

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