United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Employment — race discrimination
Where an employee was disciplined numerous times for insubordination and misconduct, his termination was not race discrimination.
“In an effort to show that Koppers’ non-discriminatory reason for terminating Johnson was pretextual, Johnson seems to argue that her termination was not based upon her insubordination but rather on a larger conspiracy within Koppers that stemmed from a discriminatory animus against her race and gender. In support of this theory, Johnson points out that although both she and O’Connell were involved in the prior July 2007 verbal altercation, O’Connell (a white male) was disciplined less severely than Johnson. She argues that discrimination can be inferred from Koppers’ disparate treatment of these two similarly-situated employees. See Coleman v. Donahoe, 667 F.3d 835, 846–47 (7th. Cir. 2012). But O’Connell, unlike Johnson, had not previously violated Koppers’ policy against threatening misconduct, so he is not an appropriate comparator. See Amrhein v. Health Care Serv. Corp., 546 F.3d 854, 860 (7th Cir. 2008) (employees were not similarly-situated because, unlike the plaintiff, they did not previously engage in misconduct).”
12-2561 Johnson v. Koppers, Inc.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Lefkow, J., Bauer, J.