Smith v. Ill. Dept. of Transportation

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Employment Discrimination
Case Number: 
No. 18-2948
Decision Date: 
August 21, 2019
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.

Dist. Ct. did not err in granting defendant-employer’s motion for summary judgment in plaintiff-employee’s Title VII action alleging that defendant subjected him to hostile work environment on account of his race and fired him in retaliation for his race discrimination complaints. Dist. Ct. could properly exclude testimony of plaintiff’s expert, who stated that plaintiff’s trainers created hostile work environment when they scolded, ridiculed and threatened plaintiff, and that defendant had fired plaintiff for complaining about race discrimination, where expert had not spoken to plaintiff or his supervisors and did not know whether relevant decision-maker had been aware of plaintiff’s race discrimination complaints. Also, plaintiff could not establish viable retaliation claim, where record supported defendant’s claim that plaintiff’s supervisors considered him unsafe, argumentative and unable to follow directions, which led to decision to terminate him. Moreover, plaintiff could not establish viable hostile work environment claim, where majority of harassment occurred prior to his discrimination complaints, and where certain supervisors equally harassed plaintiff’s co-workers. Too, although one supervisor used “n” word in plaintiff’s presence, plaintiff failed to show that one-time racial epithet altered his work environment.