must then submit evidence that defendant's articulated reason for the discharge was pretextual. 411 U.S. at 804, 93 S. Ct. 1817, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668.
In a suit challenging the propriety of a firing, plaintiff's burden in proving its prima facie case differs slightly from the standard articulated above. Plaintiff, in such a case, must show that he is a member of the protected class; that he was qualified for the job that he held; that he satisfied the normal requirements of the job; and, that he was the object of adverse action. See Whack v. Peabody & Wind Engineering Co., 452 F. Supp. 1369 (E.D.Pa.1978), aff'd mem., 595 F.2d 190 (3d Cir. 1979).
Importantly, the order of proof mandated by McDonnell Douglas does not require that evidence be produced in a compartmentalized form. Thus, plaintiff's evidence relevant to the issue of pretext can be as part of plaintiff's initial evidence which seeks to establish a prima facie case. Worthy v. United States Steel Corp., 616 F.2d 698, 701 (3d Cir. 1980). Likewise, defendant's evidence may be properly employed to both undermine plaintiff's ability to establish a prima facie case and to show that plaintiff was terminated for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason.
In the case at bar, the parties agree that plaintiff satisfies three of the four requirements necessary to establish a prima facie case as articulated in Whack. They disagree, however, on whether plaintiff has adduced sufficient evidence to carry its initial burden on the issue of whether plaintiff satisfied the normal requirements of his job. Defendant asserts that plaintiff's undisputed record of absenteeism and his failure to properly document sick days, coupled with notice from defendant that such conduct was intolerable, forecloses plaintiff's ability to now argue that he properly performed his job. Lieberman v. Gant, 474 F. Supp. 848, 864-65, n. 17 (D.Conn.1979), aff'd without discussion of this point, 630 F.2d 60 (2nd Cir. 1980). Assuming plaintiff's establishment of a prima facie case, defendant also asseverates that plaintiff cannot rebut its articulated reason for the discharge and successfully claim that the adverse job action was pretextual. We assume for present purposes that plaintiff has established a prima facie case. In order for defendant to meet its burden of persuasion, it need only "articulate" its reasons for the firing, Kunda v. Muhlenberg College, 621 F.2d 532, 543 (3d Cir. 1980); Hauck v. Xerox Corp., 493 F. Supp. 1340, 1350 (E.D.Pa.1980), it need not "persuade the court that it was actually motivated by the proffered reasons." Texas Department of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 101 S. Ct. at 1094.
Plaintiff at this juncture and in order to avoid summary judgment, must now "demonstrate that the proffered reason was not the true reason for the employment decision." This obligation "merges with the ultimate burden of persuading the Court that (he) has been the victim of intentional discrimination." Texas Department of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 101 S. Ct. at 1095 (emphasis added).
Plaintiff, in proving pretext, may rely on statistical, or other, evidence that whites with similar work histories were not fired under like circumstances. Absent identical work records, "comparable" work records of similarly situated whites will suffice to meet plaintiff's burden. See McDonnell Douglas, Inc. v. Green, 411 U.S. at 804, 93 S. Ct. at 1825.
However, notwithstanding the massive amount of discovery taken to date, plaintiff has not been able to produce a work record of any other Mack employee, of any color, which compares with his own. Rather, he argues that facts adduced through his own affidavit and deposition testimony-that his assistance to black Mack employees before the Pa HRC was the reason for his termination-creates a genuine issue of material fact as to pretext.
Plaintiff's affidavit, in part, merely rehashes his deposition testimony. To the extent that it draws the legal conclusion that he was "racially harassed" without setting forth the specific facts upon which that conclusion is based, it may be disregarded. Wire Mesh Products, Inc. v. Wire Belting Ass'n, 520 F. Supp. 1004, 1005 (E.D.Pa.1981).
Moreover, plaintiff's assertion that he was fired for helping black co-workers file charges against Mack fails since his assistance ended in 1972, five years before his termination. Plaintiff has adduced no facts linking the events in 1972 to his termination in 1977. Cf, Burke v. Leader Dogs for the Blind, 516 F. Supp. 1374 (E.D.Pa.1981) (To withstand a motion for summary judgment plaintiff must adduce facts connecting defendant's conduct to his injury.)
Finally, plaintiff cannot prove pretext by arguing that he was disciplined for filing a number of his own charges before the Pa HRC since Mack's steadily increasing sanctions leveled at him for his unacceptable work history antedate the first discrimination charge.
Clearly, McDonnell Douglas was not intended to erase Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 from Title VII actions. Martinez v. Bethlehem Steel Corp., 496 F. Supp. 1002, 1004 (E.D.Pa.1979), aff'd, 633 F.2d 210 (3d Cir. 1980). In the case at bar, plaintiff's proffered evidence that a white worker would have been treated differently than he was, is simply speculative. Speculation is, of course, insufficient to defeat a Rule 56 motion. An appropriate order will issue granting defendant's motion for summary judgment.