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10-3073 Diaz v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc.

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//August 8, 2011//

10-3073 Diaz v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc.

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//August 8, 2011//

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Employment
Race discrimination

An employer cannot rebut evidence that similarly situated employees outside of the protected group received better treatment, by identifying an employee within the group who was not discriminated against.

“Title VII would have little force if an employer could defeat a claim of discrimination by treating a single member of the protected class in accordance with the law. Suppose the district court’s view carried the day: a female employee suffering from discrimination on the basis of her sex would have to establish that her employer discriminated against all women in the workplace to assert a sex discrimination claim. That, sensibly, is not how Title VII operates. Instead, ‘[t]he principal focus of the statute is the protection of the individual employee, rather than the protection of the minority group as a whole.’ Connecticut v. Teal, 457 U.S. 440, 453-54 (1982); City of Los Angeles, Dep’t of Water and Power v. Manhart, 435 U.S. 702, 708-09 (1978) (recognizing that fairness to the class of women employees does not excuse discrimination against an individual female employee). Discrimination against one Hispanic employee violates the statute, no matter how well another Hispanic employee is treated. See Brown v. Henderson, 257 F.3d 246, 252 (2d Cir. 2001). We agree with the plaintiffs that there is no token exception to anti-discrimination law. See Teal, 457 U.S. at 455 (‘Congress never intended to give an employer license to discriminate against some employees on the basis of race or sex merely because he favorably treats other members of the employees’ group.’).”

Affirmed in part, and Reversed in part.

10-3073 Diaz v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Guzmán, J., Wood, J.

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