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7th Circuit affirms court in retaliation claim

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A man who claimed he was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for claiming racial discrimination at his workplace was fired for just cause, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

From 2005 to August 2007, Kenneth Harper – who is African-American – was an instructor for truck driving school C.R. England Inc. In March 2007, he alleged that another African-American employee called him a racial epithet within earshot of his immediate supervisor, Eric Metzler, who is also African-American. Metzler said he never heard the insult, and after interviewing other people who had been in the room with Harper, he was unable to substantiate Harper’s claims.

In July 2007, Metzler met with Harper to issue several written warnings about his poor attendance, telling him he could not miss any more work for the remainder of the year. Harper subsequently took several days off to attend his sister’s wedding. In August, Harper was fired; by that time, he had missed 17 days of work in 2007.

Following the termination of his employment, Harper filed a charge of racial discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against C.R. England. On March 6, 2008, after receiving a “right to sue letter” from the EEOC, Harper filed a complaint in the Porter Superior Court, alleging racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 and Title VII, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e et seq. C.R. England removed the case to the District Court and, once removal was effected, moved for summary judgment.

The District Court concluded Harper had failed to set forth a prima facie case, under either the direct or indirect method of proof, to support his claim that C.R. England had retaliated against him for reporting what he believed to be unlawful racial discrimination. The 7th Circuit affirmed the District Court’s findings in Kenneth Harper v. C.R. England, Incorporated, No. 11-2975.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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