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The full case caption appears at the end of this opinion.

I. Facts and Procedural History

On August 27, 1990, Formosa Plastic Corporation hired plaintiff, Merlon Crawford, to work in the Engineering Center of itsmanufacturing plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Plaintiff subsequently requested and obtained a transfer to the MaintenanceDepartment. In January 1994, plaintiff was promoted within the Maintenance Department to the position of AssistantInstrument Manager. As Assistant Instrument Manager, plaintiff was responsible for the supervision of approximately 25employees.

Since his promotion, Crawford has had a successful, yet often checkered, career at Formosa. On September 9, 1996,plaintiff’s supervisor, Andre Borne, sent plaintiff a memo which addressed plaintiff’s “poor performance as a manager.” Thememo contained several examples of his poor performance including Crawford’s failure “to get involved and communicate” withhis employees to “find out what is going on within [his] department.” [FOOTNOTE 2]Borne accused Crawford of “taking the easy way out”by merely deflecting problems rather than solving them. A February 19, 1997 memo reported Ricky Perez, a subordinate ofCrawford, as stating that Crawford “was not a good manager. He has no idea how to manage and he can not accomplishanything in the M&I Department.”

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