United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Employment — race discrimination
Even if an employee was terminated for reporting the misconduct of a white supervisor, summary judgment was properly granted to the employer on the employee’s race discrimination claim, where there is no evidence that race played any role in the decision.
“[E]ven if SVT did fire Morgan because of the Kajdawowski incident, it does not follow that the termination was based on race. There is no indication in the record that either Gutierrez or Mowery was unhappy with Morgan’s handling of the incident because the subject of his report was a white man. Indeed, the only indication that either of them was unhappy about the incident comes from Gutierrez’s comment that he thought Morgan should have acted more aggressively by stopping Kajdawowski before he left the store—a comment that is flatly inconsistent with the inference that Gutierrez was upset that Morgan was not deferring to his white superiors. Hypothetically, one could imagine a discrimination claim based on an African-American employee’s being punished for pointing out the misconduct of a white supervisor if African-American employees were fired for reporting white managers, but white employees were not, or if the employee’s supervisors expressed extreme and irrational displeasure at the employee’s decision to report a white superior. Under the facts before us, however, it is far more likely that Gutierrez and Mowery were at most annoyed over the fuss caused by such a minor incident. That would be a different reason for firing Morgan than the one stated, but it would not be impermissible, because it is not based on race or any other prohibited ground.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Brown, Mag. J., Wood, J.