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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On April 25, 2001, Randy T. McCoy, a senior test engineer at TI’s Semiconductor Group, Wireless Catalog Products Branch, was laid off. He met with Cotton, his immediate supervisor, who informed him that the reason for his separation was a company-wide reduction in force resulting from the downturn in the semiconductor industry. In October 2001, McCoy raised charges of race discrimination and retaliation in a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In April 2002, he filed suit alleging racial discrimination, retaliation and slander. Besides Cotton, McCoy also named two other TI employees in his original petition. TI submitted evidence to establish that the layoff was based on a need to reduce its costs based on business conditions at the time. The evidence established that, consistent with TI policy, management ranked the employees taking into account job performance, skills and length of service. The ranking was supervised by Human Resources. McCoy is black. He alleged that he was laid off after complaining to Cotton that a 6-inch-by-4-inch Confederate flag in Cotton’s office was offensive. Cotton is British, and a British flag in his office was replaced with a Confederate flag as a practical joke by his co-workers. Cotton told McCoy he did not know the Confederate flag was offensive, and he threw it away. Appellees’ motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rules 166(a)(c) and (i) was granted. Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(c), (i). The district court did not specify the grounds relied upon in granting summary judgment. HOLDING:Affirmed. McCoy admits that he has no evidence that race or retaliation were factors considered in the reduction in force. Additionally, he cannot think of any inappropriate comments made to him by Solomon, Melvin or Cotton. He claims that, based on his subjective belief, a disproportionate share of those laid off were black, and as such, the reduction in force was discriminatory. The only summary judgment evidence presented by McCoy was his own affidavit and deposition testimony. He does not present any facts to refute that the reduction in force was due to business conditions. He asserts that he was the top engineer in his branch and that he had been nominated for an award at TI based on his high technical qualifications and his contribution to the revenue and profits at TI. He also claims that, although he was successful at being rehired by TI, he was humiliated by being forced to interview for a new position. In a circumstantial evidence race discrimination case, such as the one before us, the McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), burden shifting test applies. McCoy established that he complained about the Confederate flag and that he was subjected to the layoff, but to establish the prima facie case of retaliation, he needed to show a causal connection between the complaint and the subsequent layoff. Evans v. City of Houston, 246 F.3d 344 (5th Cir. 2001). McCoy admitted in his Response to the Motion for Summary Judgment that he had no direct evidence of discrimination or retaliation. The only evidence he presented was his own affidavit and deposition testimony outlining his subjective belief of racial discrimination and retaliation. An employee’s subjective belief of discrimination or retaliation, no matter how genuine, cannot serve as the basis for judicial relief. As further evidence of TI’s discriminatory and retaliatory intent, McCoy asserted that he was better qualified than several employees who were not laid off. Merely disputing TI’s assessment of his qualifications will not create an issue of fact. McCoy failed to establish that nonprotected employees were not treated similarly, thus failing to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. McCoy also failed to show any connection between the complaint regarding the Confederate flag and his subsequent layoff, thus failing to establish a prima facie case of retaliation. Even if McCoy had made a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation, under the burden shifting analysis of McDonnell Douglas, TI then had the burden of offering a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating McCoy. TI met that burden by producing evidence that McCoy was terminated as part of a companywide reduction in force precipitated by a downturn in the semiconductor industry. A reduction in force is a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating an employee. TI’s evidence established as a matter of law that there was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory and nonretaliatory reason for McCoy’s lay off. McMoy did not produce a scintilla of evidence that the companywide reduction in force in response to the downturn in the semiconductor industry was a pretextual reason for his termination. The trial court properly granted summary judgment. McCoy failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation. Additionally, there was no evidence that TI’s stated reason for McCoy’s layoff was a pretext for discrimination or retaliation. OPINION:Mazzant, J.; Whittington, Wright and Mazzant, JJ.

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