Former custodian Teofilo Matias has filed for an appeal following his civil court case loss to Elon University on Nov. 26.
According to the original lawsuit filed in May 2017, Matias was employed by Elon for 17 years as a custodian before being fired in February 2016 following a sexual harassment investigation. Matias is Hispanic and a naturalized United States citizen, who said he was fired wrongfully and during his employment was passed over for promotion because of his ethnicity.
On Nov. 26 , a U.S. District Court judge for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled that Matias was unable to prove “his qualifications were demonstrably superior” to the man Elon ended up hiring.
Matias also argued a fellow employee had “been accused of sexual harassment multiple times by different employees on different occasions,” and remained on the job while Matias was let go “under apparently similar circumstances.”
Human Resources investigations found the employee never violated Elon University’s code of conduct. This compares to the HR investigation against Matias that found he “created a hostile work environment for [his coworker],” according to the court opinion. Thus, the court found these two incidences not “similarly situated.”
According to the court opinion, Matias was also unable to prove discrimination was a reason for his termination, but failed to show “evidence of conduct or statements that both reflect directly the alleged discriminatory attitude and that bear directly on the consented employment decision.”
Matias' appeal was filed Dec. 21 to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth District.