Garcia-Garcia v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 17-1014 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
After approximately 11 years of working his way up the Costco employment ladder, Garcia was fired following an investigation which revealed an inventory discrepancy in the Meat Department that he managed. Garcia sued, alleging six Puerto-Rico-based claims. The First Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Costco, upholding the admission of affidavits by Costco employees and attached exhibits. Puerto Rico’s "Law 80," provides a remedy to employees who are discharged "without just cause." Costco met its burden of proving just cause, which was not rebutted by evidence of Garcia’s employment history. Costco was not required to demonstrate without any doubt that Garcia manipulated the numbers, but only had to show by a preponderance of the evidence that it had good cause to terminate Garcia, P.R. Laws tit. 29, 185b. Even a "perceived violation" is sufficient to rebut an allegation that the decision to dismiss an employee was made on a whim. Garcia’s claims of gender-discrimination, of retaliation for reporting such discrimination, and of defamation, failed for lack of evidence.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on December 28, 2017.