United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Employment – ADA — ADEA
An employer’s investigation of an employee’s misconduct is not disability or age discrimination.
“Teruggi has chosen to use the direct method with circumstantial evidence. To survive summary judgment on his claims under the ADA, ADEA, and IHRA, he must offer evidence from which an inference of discriminatory intent can be drawn, such as: ‘(1) suspicious timing; (2) ambiguous statements or behavior towards other employees in the protected group; (3) evidence, statistical or otherwise, that similarly situated employees outside of the protected group systematically receive better treatment; and (4) evidence that the employer offered a pretextual reason for an adverse employment action.’ Dickerson v. Bd. of Trs. of Cmty. Coll. Dist. No. 522, 657 F.3d 595, 601 (7th Cir. 2011). A party may combine these various types of evidence to present a ‘“convincing mosaic” of circumstantial evidence’ from which a factfinder can make a reasonable inference of discriminatory intent. Rhodes v. Ill. Dep’t. of Transp., 359 F.3d 498, 504 (7th Cir. 2004) (quoting Troupe v. May Dep’t Stores Co., 20 F.3d 734, 737 (7th Cir. 1994)); but see Sylvester v. SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, Inc., 453 F.3d 9900, 904 (7th Cir. 2006) (‘But it was not the intention in Troupe to promulgate a new standard, whereby circumstantial evidence in a discrimination or retaliation case must, if it is to preclude summary judgment for the defendant, have a mosaic-like character.’). Teruggi’s evidence consists of events that began with his 2005 workers’ compensation claim and 2007 settlement and that concluded with his 2009 discharge, including Cashman’s comments, the ‘sham’ interview for the senior vice president position, the company’s decision to monitor his email account rather than counsel or discipline him, and the hasty investigation into his alleged misconduct. This evidence falls far short of what is necessary to support a reasonable inference of age or disability discrimination.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Guzman, J., Williams, J.