Rashdan v. Geissberger, No. 12-16305 (9th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Rashdan, an Egyptian dentist, enrolled in a program to credential her for practice in the U.S. Three months before graduation, Rashdan followed her clinical supervisor’s instructions to seat a crown, but the procedure was unsuccessful. The head of the restorative dentistry program, Geissberger, heard about the failed procedure, and told Rashdan, within earshot of others, that her “clinical work ... was ‘Third World Dentistry.’” Later, another supervisor greeted Rashdan saying, “What’s up, TW?” then stated: “Don’t you get it? ... Third World?” Days before graduation, Rashdan was informed that despite adequate academic work, she was not recommended for graduation and that she would have to remediate in restorative dentistry and removable prosthodontics. Rashdan entered an additional quarter of clinical work at no extra cost; her performance did not improve. Evaluators stated that she was actively harming patients. Faculty members exchanged emails about her poor performance, and recommended that Rashdan pursue an additional quarter of remedial work on models, after which she could return to work on patients. Rather than appeal the plan or begin remediation, Rashdan took a leave of absence and filed suit, claiming national origin discrimination in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000d. The district court rejected the claim on summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the McDonnell Douglas framework for disparate treatment claims under Title VII applied to the Title VI claim. Rashdan did not establish a prima facie case of national origin discrimination.