United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Employment – discrimination — retaliation
Where an employee did not file a claim with the EEOC until 5 months after she was fired, summary judgment was properly granted to the employer on her retaliation claim.
“While the filing of an EEOC charge of discrimination is statutorily protected activity, here, Smith’s EEOC charge does not save her claim. See Tomanovich, 457 F.3d at 663 (noting that the filing of a charge of discrimination with the EEOC satisfies the requirement that the plaintiff engage in statutorily protected activity) (citing Ajayi v. Aramark Bus. Serv., Inc., 336 F.3d 520, 533 (7th Cir. 2003)). An employer must have actual knowledge of the employee’s protected activity to state a claim for retaliation. Nagle v. Vill. of Calumet Park, 554 F.3d 1106, 1122 (7th Cir. 2009). Here, Smith did not file her charge of discrimination until November 2006, five months after she was terminated. Accordingly, Smith is unable to show that the Bank administrators who terminated her were aware that she ever filed a charge of discrimination. “This dooms [her] claim not only under the direct method, but also under the indirect method.” Id. at 1122 (citing Mattson v. Caterpillar, Inc., 359 F.3d 885, 888 (7th Cir. 2004); Tomanovich, 457 F.3d at 668-69). For these reasons, Smith’s retaliation claim under the ADEA must fail as a matter of law. Therefore, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment against Smith.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, DeGuilio, J., Young, J.