The Eleventh Circuit holds that a jury could find that a written test by Goodyear Dunlop Tires is designed to ensure that blacks are excluded from the maintenance mechanic position. The District Court’s dismissal is vacated.
A white case worker alleged that an African American co-worker created a racially hostile work environment. The Court found that “[b]ecause the epithets carried clear racial overtones, they permit an inference that racial animus motivated … all of her offensive conduct.”
A union member sued a Steelworkers’ Local and his employer for a racially hostile work environment. The Local argued that it only had four employees, and therefore was not liable for compensatory damages. The Eighth Circuit found that the Local, which had over 1,500 members, should be treated like employers with 1,500 employees.
An African American clerk was subjected to three racist comments, such as “go help your people.” The court found that “Incidental or occasional racial comments, discourtesy, rudeness, or isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) are not discriminatory changes in the terms and conditions of a worker’s employment.”
United Airlines fired a flight attendant because he “deviated without authority” from his flight schedule. The employee claimed race and age discrimination. The District Court found that the employee did not even have enough evidence to warrant a trial. The Seventh Circuit found that a triable issue existed and reversed the District Court decision because of United’s shifting explanation for the firing and confusion over the meaning of “deviated without authority.”
Salmon Cannery workers alleged race discrimination because of hiring channels, job classifications and housing that was different for non-whites. However, there was no “headwind to minority advancement.”
Displaying a noose and racist comments did not create a racially hostile work environment because they were isolated, sporadic and did not alter employment conditions; the incidents were not severe or pervasive enough to establish a discriminatory hostile work environment.
A jury’s punitive damage award was reduced by the trial judge, and then restored by the Eighth Circuit. The punitive damages against the individual supervisors was ordered to be recalculated “to the extent the record substantiates their wealth.”