Rashdan v. Geissberger

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: 08-26-2014
  • Case #: 12-16305
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge McKeown for the Court; Circuit Judge Clifton and District Judge Ezra
  • Full Text Opinion

When evaluating a Title VI discrimination claim, the court may use the test for Title VII discrimination to determine if the plaintiff established a prima facie case.

Dalia Rashdan, a student from Egypt, was enrolled in a two-year dentistry program at the University of the Pacific designed for international students to be able to practice in the United States. After failing to complete the program, Rashdan brought suit against employees of the University for national origin discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Rashdan claims that on one occasion after she unsuccessfully performed a dental procedure, an administrator called her performance “Third World Dentistry.” After that incident, another employee referred to her as “TW” referencing the “Third World” remark. Once the program administrators determined Rashdan should not be allowed to successfully complete the program, the administrators sent emails to each other about devising a “strategy” for her. The administrators determined that Rashdan should complete more schooling before being able to practice dentistry in the United States. Rashdan quit the program and filed suit. The district court granted the University’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit applied the test under McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, which is typically used to determine if a plaintiff in a Title VII claim has proven a prima facie case for discrimination. Under the McDonnell analysis, the panel did not find that Rashdan’s allegations established a prima facie case for discrimination. While the administrators were insensitive, their actions did not create a cause of action under Title VI for discrimination based on national origin. AFFIRMED.

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