The case involves Rule 11 sanctions against an attorney for bringing a case for alleged Title VII claims for national origin, religious, and racial discrimination without any evidentiary support. The Court upheld the imposition of sanctions because various factual elements of the plaintiffs' claims were missing entirely.
However, in the course of its opinion, the Court said as follows:
[I]t is quite possible that an employee could have cognizable causes of action for both national origin discrimination and race discrimination. An employer could discriminate against all Caucasian employees, as well as all employees of Confederate Southern American descent, or that employer could discriminate against only Caucasian employees who were also of Confederate Southern American descent. An attorney representing a member of both classes should not be threatened with the risk of sanctions for bringing causes of action for both race discrimination and national origin discrimination.(Emphasis added.)
Now, employment and labor law is not my field of concentration. Nor do I have an advanced degree in American history. But I seem to recall that some time ago there was a group of rebels who attempted to secede from this nation and to form a government that went by the name of the Confederate States of America. This alleged government was never recognized by the United States of America and the rebellion was ultimately quashed. That being the case, how can anyone claim discrimination based on national origin if the claimed national origin is a nation that never existed?
Shouldn't someone tell the Fourth Circuit that the Civil War is over and that the Union won?
The District Court in the Chaplin case got it right. The reported decision, found at 293 F.Supp.2d 622 (E.D.Va. 2003), shows the appeals panel here in even a worse light since the District Court relied on a previously unpublished Fourth Circuit opinion in support of the proposition that "Confederate-American" is not a protected class. ("This Court finds, as did the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion, that 'Confederate-American' is not a protected class. See Terrill v. Chao, 31 Fed. Appx. 99, 100 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 823, 154 L. Ed. 2d 32, 123 S. Ct. 108 (2002).")