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Home / Case Digests / 00-3325 Shanoff v. Illinois Department of Human Services

00-3325 Shanoff v. Illinois Department of Human Services

“[W]e conclude that Shanoff was subjected to six rather severe instances of harassment during the four months that he was working at the Madden Center during the limitations period (and one more instance of harassment while he was on leave). Riperton-Lewis made three remarks (approximately one remark each month) during the limitations period (from late December 1997 to March 1998) in which she specifically referred to Shanoff by his race and religion in an intimidating manner. Through these remarks, she emphatically expressed to Shanoff her hostility to his race and religion, and that she was motivated by that hostility to impede his career (‘keep his ass down’). She also took steps to hinder his career (by prohibiting him from teaching medical students) and to drive him from the Madden Center (‘once and for all that [he] needed to leave Madden and get out of her hair’). And despite Shanoff’s repeated objections to her harassment, Riperton-Lewis made further discriminatory remarks to him and expressed her approval of his failing health and diminished professional responsibilities. See Saxton, 10 F.3d at 534. She used her supervisory position to bully, intimidate and insult Shanoff because of his race and religion, which is the type of ‘extreme’ harassment that is the hallmark of a hostile environment claim. Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775, 788 (1998). Riperton-Lewis’ remarks were not merely inappropriate, insulting, demeaning or annoying, and there is no indication that she was teasing Shanoff or that she simply lacked a proper sensitivity to his race and religion. In short, the summary judgment record (viewing the facts in a light most favorable to Shanoff) amply demonstrates that Riperton-Lewis’s remarks evinced her direct, unambiguous hostility to Shanoff because of his race and religion, and that she was motivated by her hostility to hinder his career at the Madden Center. Thus, Shanoff has presented sufficient facts to enable a reasonable jury to conclude that Riperton-Lewis’ harassment created an objectively hostile work environment.”

Reversed and remanded.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Holderman, J., Manion, J.


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