United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Employment — national origin discrimination
Where the employer hired the plaintiff, withdrew the offer, and then hired another person of the same national origin, the jury verdict in favor of the employer on the plaintiff’s national origin discrimination claim is affirmed.
“Dr. Rapold’s insistence on the existence of an anti-Germanic or anti-European bias is undercut by the fact that Hunt extended the employment offer to Dr. Rapold and then later withdrew it. Moreover, after withdrawing Dr. Rapold’s offer, Baxter filled his position temporarily with a Belgian national and ultimately replaced Dr. Rapold with a German physician. Although we have rejected the notion that a common actor hiring and later firing an employee creates a presumption of nondiscrimination, it is certainly one more piece of evidence for the jury to consider. See Blasdel v. Nw. Univ., 687 F.3d 813, 820 (7th Cir. 2012) (‘When the same person hires and later fires the employee who claims that his firing was discriminatory, judges are skeptical, because why would someone who disliked whites, or Germans, or members of some other group to be working for him have hired such a person in the first place?’). Certainly Hunt’s hiring of Dr. Rapold followed by her decision to hire two additional individuals from Europe in his stead would allow the jury to infer that Hunt did not generally harbor animus towards Swiss, German, or European individuals. This conclusion further buttresses our view that the only reasonable inference to draw from the evidence is that Dr. Rapold’s national origin came into play only in a way that would support the jury’s conclusion that Hunt and others were testifying truthfully when they said that Dr. Rapold’s nationality was not a factor in the ultimate withdrawal of Baxter’s employment offer.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Hibbler, J., Rovner, J.