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www.courthousenews.com

Case 1:09-cv-06338

Document 1

Filed 10/09/2009

Page 4 of 11

Haro's handbook further provides

"the following examples of offenses which are so intolerable that they wil result in immediate, severe disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination on the first offense":

"Failure to complete...work assignment."

"Insubordination, including refusing or failing to obey a reasonable work request or instruction of a supervisor."

"Failure to return from a leave of absence or vacation when notified to do so or the leave or vacation." upon expiration of

13. The only component of

Gooch's conduct that might have been objectively

acceptable was his food selection for the Jet, a responsibility of flght attendants. Winfrey

commented on at least one occasion that "white folks don't know what southern food should

taste like." Disparate food selection concerns, however, were resolved when Pansing

implemented the simple curative of having Ms. GehrIs procure for Winfrey the same food as

Gooch as well as three chefs that were to Winfrey's culinary satisfaction. That, however, did

nothing to address the Gooch's persistent resistance to his flght attendant duties, and the

ongoing strife caused by his conduct.

14. Ultimately, Gooch decided to have Ms. GehrIs and Mr. Pansing terminated. As

set forth more fully below, this would be facilitated by virtue of Gooch's unique, unilateral

access to Winfrey and his consequent ability to control Harpo' s decisionmaking concerning

fellow employees.

15. Gooch recognized, however, that their termination could not be based on

objective job pedormance, because Pansing's and GehrIs' historical performance had been

without incident. Neither had ever been insubordinate, refused duties, or in any way guilty of

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