On June 28, 2016, the 7th Circuit affirmed an order of summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by a registered nurse in which she claimed that she was fired from her job because of her age and race, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VII”) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). Simpson v. Franciscan Alliance, Inc., No. 15-2679 (7th Cir. 6/28/2016). The 7th Circuit concluded that the plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination or offer evidence that the employer’s proffered reason for her termination was pretext for employment discrimination. There was no evidence that similarly situated employees outside of the plaintiff’s protected classes were treated more favorably than her under similar circumstances. The plaintiff’s vague and conclusory assertions were not enough. She did not submit admissible evidence of other nurses who were not disciplined or fired after engaging in similar misconduct.
The employer provided a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the discharge–alleged multiple patient complaints for which she was repeatedly reprimanded. The plaintiff offered no evidence to show that the alleged incidents documented in the reprimands were fabricated or that management lied in any of the reprimands. The fact that she disputed the accuracy of the reports is irrelevant to the issue of pretext.