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Employee Must Raise Evidence of Discriminatory Treatment to Have Case Proceed
Description Appeals court held that a Title VII suit could not proceed because the employee failed to meet the fourth part of the prima facie test-showing that he suffered an adverse employment action on the basis of national origin.
Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Prima Facie Case; Adverse Employment Action
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Pantoja was fired after working at NTN for nine years. The firing came soon after his manager learned that he had complained about discrimination to the EEOC. During his last year of employment, he has been disciplined a number of times and he had been complaining that he was being mistreated because he is Hispanic. After being fired, he sued for violation of Title VII, claiming harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on race and national origin. The district court dismissed the suit. Pantoja appealed.
Decision Affirmed. To establish the fourth element of a prima facie case, Pantoja needed to show that his employer sought someone to perform the same work after he left. He did not do that. Nor did he raise an inference of discrimination with respect to his termination. He failed to show that as a Hispanic he was held to different expectations than non-Hispanics. He did not contend that the reasons for being disciplined and terminated were peculiar based on race or national origin. The fact that he had been subject to discipline does not, by itself, raise and interference of discrimination. He would need to show that the employer's reasons for discipline an termination-poor performance, failure to punch time card, leaving work without permission, and dishonesty-were pretexts. The fact that he was fired about the time he let it be known he was complaining to the EEOC does not, by itself, mean retaliation or harassment for exercising his protected rights.
Citation Pantoja v. American NTN Bearing Manufacturing Corp., ---F.3d--- (2007 WL 2230095, 7th Cir., 2007)

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