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Home / Opinion / 08-3951 Montgomery v. American Airlines, Inc.

08-3951 Montgomery v. American Airlines, Inc.

Hostile work environment

Where an employee never complained of a hostile work environment, summary judgment was properly granted on his claim against the employer.

“Employers need not divine complaints from the ether, guessing at the subjective suspicions of employees. An aggrieved employee must at least report-clearly and directly-nonobvious policy violations troubling him so that supervisors may intervene. See Durkin v. City of Chicago, 341 F.3d 606, 612-13 (7th Cir. 2003) (holding an employer will not be liable for alleged coworker harassment ‘when a mechanism to report the harassment exists, but the victim fails to utilize it.’). What verbal complaints Montgomery did make to Shay, Brooks, and Schaefer were too vague to put American on notice of the racial harassment he now alleges. Montgomery complained of general unfairness in task assignments and of employee delinquency, but these complaints did not provide notice of any racial harassment concerns. Because Montgomery ‘unreasonably fail[ed] to take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities,’ and American consequently did not know about his concerns, American ‘cannot be held liable.’ Bright v. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., 510 F.3d 766, 770 (7th Cir. 2007).”


08-3951 Montgomery v. American Airlines, Inc.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Der-Yeghiayan, J., Kanne, J.

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