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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Gustavo Monarrez and Jose Rodriguez worked as bus mechanics for the Ysleta Independent School District. All of the bus mechanics were male, while all the bus drivers and attendants were female. After spending an evening together drinking, Rodriguez asked Monarrez to clock in for him at work the next day since he was unsure whether he would make it in on time. Monarrez clocked in for Rodriguez, but Rodriguez never came in to work, so Monarrez clocked Rodriguez out at the end of the day, just as if he had worked a full day. Both men eventually went to their supervisor to admit they had violated time-clock procedures. Both men were eventually terminated for misconduct. Rodriguez and Monarrez sued the school district under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. They claimed they were victims of gender discrimination because women in the department who had violated time-clock procedures were merely reprimanded, not terminated. The trial court entered judgment for the two men, awarding Monarrez $43,900 in lost wages and $175,000 for mental anguish, and awarding Rodriguez $74,000 in lost wages and $175,000 in mental anguish. Attorneys’ fees of $30,000 were also awarded. The appeals court affirmed, finding the evidence sufficiently supported the verdict. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. Noting that it has never considered before what it means to be “similarly situated” in an employment- discrimination context under the TCHRA, the court looks to federal precedent for guidance, noting in some cases that the disciplined and undisciplined employees’ misconduct must be of “comparable seriousness.” Reviewing the circumstances surrounding the women’s disciplinary actions for time-clock procedure abuses, the court points out that in each instance where one female employee clocked in for another, both employees appeared for work. Moreover, the court finds, it appears the women usually clocked in for one another as a matter of convenience. None of the violations involved a conspiracy to conceal another employee’s absence from work. “Thus, even though the female employees worked in the same department and were subject to the same time clock rules, there is no evidence that their respective misconduct was of”comparable seriousness.’” OPINION:Per curiam; Willett, J., did not participate in the decision.

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