Farah v. JBS USA, LLC
ORDER Denying 20 defendant's motion for summary judgment, by Judge Richard P. Matsch on 6/5/17. (ktera)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Senior District Judge Richard P. Matsch
Civil Action No. 15-cv-02387-RPM
WELI A. FARAH,
JBS USA, LLC d/b/a JBS SWIFT COMPANY,
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Weli Farah claims that he was fired from his job at the JBS meat processing plant
in Greeley, Colorado, because he was born in that part of Somalia which declared itself
an independent nation called Republic of Somaliland in 1991 and the decision to
terminate his employment was made by Maxamed Xasan who was born in the remaining
part of Somalia. There is enmity between these areas due to political, tribal1 and cultural
differences. Accordingly, Farah asserts national origin and racial discrimination in
violation of Title VII and discriminatory treatment because of race in violation of 42
U.S.C. § 1981.
JBS moved for summary judgment of dismissal asserting that Farah violated
company policy and that Xasan was not the decision maker.
There are many factual disputes. Farah became employed at the plant as a
production worker in 2009. At the times relevant to this case he was a classroom trainer
responsible for training production workers cutting meat on the time controlled production
Farah says that he is of the Isaaq clan and Xasan is a member of the Hawiye tribe.
line. Many workers came to the plant without English language ability. Farah speaks
English, Somali and Swahili and a large part of his work was translating the instructions.
Classroom trainers worked on the second floor above the line. Production trainers
worked on the production line floor. Many languages were involved and there was a
large turnover of employes with new workers needing training in their duties and for
Brandon Sellers was the training manager supervising Farah and others until
December, 2014. Xasan came to the Greeley plant in October, 2014, and fired Sellers in
December. He replaced Sellers with Yulibeth Rocha in January, 2015. She was
transferred from the JBS plant in Cactus, Texas. Kacem Andalib became the B Shift
Human Resources Supervisor at the same time. Farah primarily worked the B shift.
While Sellers was the manager, Farah often called production workers up to his
office. To keep the line moving the floor trainers filled in the position being worked by
those called up by Farah. Most of those called up were women.
After receiving employee reports of suspicious conduct with these women,
Andalib and Rocha called Farah in for an interview on March 11, 2015. They asked him
about a particular employee who was with him frequently and for long periods of time.
Farah explained that she helped him with Ethiopian employees whose language he did
not speak. When the interview ended Andalib and Rocha told Farah he was suspended,
based on their conclusion that he had misused company time and harassed female
After interviewing other employees Andalib called Farah on March 13, 2015, to
inform him his employment was terminated.
Farah claims that he was the only employee from Somaliland and that he was
disliked by the Somali community in the plant. There is little evidentiary support for that
but his credibility may not be discounted on summary judgment.
JBS contends that Xasan played no part in the firing decision and that the
evidence clearly supports the violations of company policy.
The timing of events raises an inference that Xasan wanted Farah out of the plant
because of his ethnicity and that Rocha and Andalib were aware of that and did his
bidding. Xasan arrived in October, 2014. Sellers and Farah had a good relationship.
Sellers was fired in December, 2014. Xasan brought Rocha and Andalib in January from
outside the plant. Their investigation after the interview took two days.
It may be that Farah did violate company policy and did act inappropriately with
some employees. His denials and explanations raise factual questions which will be
evaluated by a jury.
The claim of race discrimination is questionable. He and Xasan are both AfricanAmerican. The differences between them appear to be more ethnicity than race. What
constitutes race under Title VII is evolving. The legal sufficiency of the claim will be
considered at trial.
The defendant’s motion for summary of dismissal is denied.
June 5, 2017
BY THE COURT:
s/Richard P. Matsch
Richard P. Matsch, Senior District Judge
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