Bank Avoids Discrimination Claim Based on Disparate Enforcement of Attendance Policies
An African-American employee sued his former employer under the Illinois Human Rights Act alleging race-based discrimination for terminating him for attendance violations such as tardiness and absenteeism. The employee claimed discrimination because white employees with attendance problems were not terminated or equally scrutinized. The employer maintained the employee was terminated during a workforce reduction and he was the least senior in his position with the worst attendance record, being tardy 11 times during the month before his firing. The trial court refused on authentication grounds to allow video footage of co-workers purporting to demonstrate the attendance violations of white workers. The Seventh Circuit upheld both summary judgment for the employer based on lack of evidence regarding white coworkers and the trial court’s ruling declining to consider cell phone video evidence of the same. The court also found white coworkers were not similarly situated to the employee.