Johnson v. Koppers, Inc.

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Employment Discrimination
Case Number: 
No. 12-2561
Decision Date: 
August 8, 2013
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.
Dist. Ct. did not err in granting defendant-employer’s motion for summary judgment in action alleging that defendant terminated plaintiff on account of her race and gender. Plaintiff’s termination was based on incident in which third-party independent witness saw plaintiff push male co-worker into wall, as well as plaintiff’s disciplinary history that included incidents of verbal altercations and threats of violence to co-workers. While plaintiff proceeded on “cats paw” theory that attempted to link racial animosity of said male co-worker to management’s decision to terminate her, plaintiff could only speculate as to male co-worker's discriminatory bias, even if she could show that he provided false account of shoving incident. Ct. further rejected plaintiff’s claim that defendant could not use disputed shoving incident to establish that she was not performing her job in acceptable manner, even though plaintiff had not admitted to such conduct.