Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Haydar v. Amazon Corporate, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 3, 2019


          Stephanie Dawkins Davis Magistrate Judge.


          Laurie J. Michelson U.S. District Judge.

         In 2015, Amazon terminated Abdullah Haydar's employment. Haydar sued alleging discrimination and retaliation. Remaining for trial is Haydar's claim that Amazon discriminated against him because of his religion and national origin. Amazon says the legitimate, non-discriminatory reason that it fired Haydar was because he could not satisfy Amazon's “leadership principles.” These principles include earning trust from other Amazonians and disagreeing but once a decision is made, committing. After Haydar left Amazon he got a job at FarmLogs; that employment ended. After the FarmLogs job, Haydar got a job at Criteo; that employment also ended. Amazon says that the reason-or at least part of the reason-those jobs ended is because Haydar exhibited the very same conduct that he exhibited at Amazon. Because Haydar will likely argue at trial that the leadership deficiencies that Amazon identified are false or, at least, exaggerated, Amazon seeks to admit evidence of Haydar's similar issues at FarmLogs and Criteo. Amazon also argues that the evidence from Criteo and FarmLogs is relevant to whether Haydar has mitigated his damages. Haydar has filed a motion in limine to exclude this evidence. For the reasons that follow, the Court will largely grant Haydar's motion.



         In 2012, Amazon hired Abdullah Haydar as a senior technology manager.

         Early in his tenure at Amazon, Haydar attended an offsite event that was also attended by Peter Faricy, the head of Amazon Marketplace. Haydar asserts that during the offsite event, Faricy made discriminatory remarks about his relationship with his wife. After the offsite, Haydar emailed Faricy to follow-up on a conversation they had during the event. (R. 68-75, PageID.8130-8131.) Faricy responded to Haydar's email, “[In my opinion], any focus you have on advising others across the team is premature at this point. To quote a famous football coach ‘keep your head down, your mouth shut and do your job'.” (R. 68-75, PageID.8130.)

         In April 2014, Joel Mosby provided Haydar with his first annual evaluation (covering April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014). Although Haydar's performance was rated “Achieves, ” his growth potential was rated at “Limited” and his leadership was rated at “Development Needed.” This resulted in a “Least Effective” overall rating, a rating that corresponds to the bottom 10% of Amazonians.

         Although Haydar's supervisors saw improvement for a time, toward the end of 2014 they again expressed concern about Haydar's ability to satisfy Amazon's leadership principles. The parties dispute the motivation for this. Amazon points to, among other things, Haydar's handling of an employee transfer and interactions with a business partner, Stephen Haney. In contrast, Haydar claims that his supervisors' dissatisfaction was at least partly attributable to his national origin and religion. Some evidence supports Amazon's claim. For example, one Amazonian stated, “[Haydar] can easily plow through conversations where nobody else can get a word in. This is a miss on earn trust because (myself included) don't always want to engage with him because they know what the communication will be like.” (R. 68-112, PageID.8504.) And some evidence supports Haydar's claim. For example, Haydar testified that Faricy “made references to you people, to you people need to learn how to treat your wives better.” (R. 68-1, PageID.6327.)

         Whatever the cause-Haydar's leadership deficiencies, Faricy's animus, or some of both- Haydar was given a second “Least Effective” rating in February 2015. That led to a performance improvement plan. As part of that plan, Haydar was to “openly voice opinions with peers and leadership, using data to thoughtfully explain counter-arguments, if any, while actively listening to the opposing view.” (R. 68-32, PageID.6629.) In the opinion of Haydar's then supervisor, Garrett Gaw, Haydar instead “kep[t] his distance from conversations or professional debates” and did not engage during certain meetings. (R. 68-32, PageID.6629-6630.) Haydar saw his conduct differently: “I have received positive feedback in allowing others to speak more and dominating conversations less.” (R. 68-143, PageID.8946.)

         On September 22, 2015, Amazon terminated Haydar's employment. Gaw explained, “we had worked with Abdullah on finding-providing him more and more opportunities to show that he can earn trust with folks and be vocally self-critical, and . . . at that point it had turned into more sulking and just not participating in meetings.” (R. 68-54, PageID.7446.)


         About two months after his last day at Amazon, on November 13, 2015, Haydar accepted employment at FarmLogs (sometimes referred to as AgriLogic).

         On his first day at FarmLogs, November 23, 2015, Haydar sent an email to the entire team. It directed that all those who had a “red or yellow status task” to be ready “with a plan for a ‘path to green.'” (ECF No. 103, PageID.10944.) In response, the CEO at FarmLogs, similar to Faricy at Amazon, indicated to Haydar that he should “first focus on building relationships with the team before taking a directive tone” and that “the biggest concern” in hiring Haydar was that Haydar would “come in and prescribe solutions before taking the time to learn and understand [FarmLogs'] environment and create alignment with the team.” (ECF No. 103, PageID.10944.)

         In December 2015, several of Haydar's team members at FarmLogs expressed concern over Haydar's “communication style.” (ECF No. 103, PageID.10944.) For instance, some engineers thought that during one-on-one meetings, Haydar would appear to be “just waiting for [them] to finish so that he c[ould] talk and tell [them] what he th[ought].” (ECF No. 103, PageID.10944.)

         In January 2016, someone on FarmLogs' customer-service team “mentioned [Haydar's] tendency to interrupt conversations between two people to extract what he needed from someone without ever acknowledging his interruption.” (ECF No. 103, PageID.10945.)

         In February 2016, FarmLogs sent a survey to its engineers. After the survey results, the following was entered into Haydar's “Performance Documentation”: “Tyler can tell [Haydar] is trying but there is still a major disconnect between Abdullah and the rest of the eng team. He doesn't feel like Abdullah accurately represents their needs; he doesn't even seem to care about gathering their feedback in the first place.” (ECF No. 103, PageID.10948.)

         Haydar's last day at FarmLogs was exactly 90 days after his first. (ECF No. 103, PageID.10948.) FarmLogs paid Haydar the severance package that was agreed to at the time of his hire. (Id.) Haydar later testified, “I started to sense a very strong resistance to the changes I was implementing and a notion that, you know, they felt that I wasn't supporting them because I wasn't vouching for things such as getting them first dibs on the new office when they expanded our office.” (ECF No. 68, PageID.6424-6425.) Haydar further recalled, “Jesse, the CEO, and I sat down and we agreed that, you know, he no longer was going to move forward with the expansion of the engineering organization and the formalization that I was implementing and that, you know, we would separate ways and that they would pay me the preagreed severance to make that happen.” (ECF No. 68, PageID.6425.)

         Haydar's last day at FarmLogs ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.