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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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