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Smith v. Exxon Mobil Oil Corporation

Smith v. Exxon Mobil Oil Corporation

Exxon Mobil Corporation is one of the largest private oil company in the world. It conducts succesfull business for many years and its employees receive high salaries and have a wide benefits package. Newerhteless, there are plenty of cases when the workers were laid off for different reasons, but they were disagree with such dismissal and wanted to protect the labor rights judicially. I this essay one of such trials is discussed. There is an example of court decision when the judge ruled in favor of the employer only because the employee chose the wrongful basis for his dismissal.

Facts of the Case

November 31, 2007 Mr. Smith was recruited by Exxon Mobile as a senior consultant in a retail unit located in Chicago. During six month Mr. Smith demonstrated outstanding job performance, attracting new clients and retaining the existing one. His solicitation resulted in the 7%-10% sales increase in the area of his operation, being one of the most impressive statistics of the company.

January, 2008 with the advent of the global financial crisis, the managerial board of the company resolved to exercise a massive layoff (10% of the entire workforce) due to the need to cut the costs of sale and to avoid the eminent bankruptcy of the company.  The selectivity process was to be conducted in accordance with pending federal and state law and internal firm’s regulations.

Mr. Smith was dismissed on the ground that he had been recently recruited, while Mr. McCoy retained his position, although he performed poorly professionally. Mr. Smith suited the company to the state court of Illinois, claiming that he rights were violated and in particular stressing that he was racially discriminated since Mr. McCoy was a White American Protestant and he was Afro American.

Issue of the Law

The state court of Illinois had to decide whether the selection of the person who was to be dismissed was fully consistent with the pending provisions of the constitutional and labor law of the United States of America (Gregory, 2012). In particular, it had o be resolved whether the decision of the managerial board to dismiss more qualified, but with less career duration employee was reinforced by his racial affiliation, or the decision was purely dictated by the common sense and existing federal and state compulsory legal regulations.

The Decision of the Court

Having examined the matters of the case and the matters of the law, the court delivered a unanimous decision, claiming that violation of the minority rights did not take place and the actions of the Board of Directors of the company were fully concordant with the existing federal, state and labor case law and no discrimination was ascertained to have taken place (Malin, 2012).

The Reasoning of the Court

The court in its decision reasonably cited three landmark cases. In Bahous v Pizza Express Restaurant Ltd [2012] All ER (D) 191 (Jan) the court found that the racial indicator shall be decisive one that determines the decision of the employee to dismiss or somehow otherwise violate the respective labor rights and privileges of the employees or other stakeholder. With regard to the substantive matters of the present case, it has become evident that the motives of racial affiliation were not the determinative ones, since the reasoning of the managerial board majorly based on the duration of employment characteristic (Danner, D, 2011).

Another cited case was McKinson v Hackney Community College and others [2012] All ER (D) 128 (Jan), in where the federal court of the United States established that one of the necessary elements of the labor discrimination act is the direct violation of the legal provision. With regard of the present case, the respective labor rights of the allegedly damaged person are regulated by Civil Rights Act, which does not contain the provision which either explicitly or impliedly substantiate the position of the claimant (Howell, 2012).

The latest component of the court decision is McCarrick v Hunter [2012] All ER (D) 86 (Feb), which sets forth that racial motives shall be either expressly or impliedly commuunicated to the employee, and provided that this was not done in the present case, this criterion is not applicable.


Based on aforementioned it can be assumed that the claimant chose the wrongful reason for dismissal. As a result he failed to prove that the company laid him off on the basis of the racial affiliation. Due to the fact that the court considers a case only within the plaintiff’s complaint it ruled in favor of Exxon Mobil. If to take into consideration that the illegality of the dismissal could be proved by another reasons, this case is an example of claimant’s wrongful argumentation that caused the failure to protect the violated rights.


I agree with the court’s decision due the fact that the racial discrimination was not the cause of the dismissal. The decision corresponded to the legislature provisions concerning the color bar. The question is why Mr. Smith decided that this was the reason for his discharge. Considering the fact that he demonstrated outstanding job performance he could not be laid of primarily, while the company was obliged to evaluate the operability of all workers on a similar post and decide who should be hired. However, the court assessed only the arguments of the parties and made the right conclusion the absence of acts of racial discrimination.


This case shoved that the proper argumentation is the way to success in a trial. While the claimant is obliged prove to prove his case, there is the necessity to find the most convincing arguments to support your position. In addition, it can be recommended to mention at least two different reasons for dismissal in order to strengthen your claims in a court.


Assuming the fact that all three indispensable criterions were not met, the discrimination was adjudicated not have place, although the plaintiff seems to have sufficient grounds to challenge the dismissal on other basis.



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