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Matthews v. Waukesha County

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 22, 2014

BERNADINE E. MATTHEWS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
WAUKESHA COUNTY, et al., Defendants-Appellees

Argued January 15, 2014

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 2:10-cv-00440 -- RTR -- Rudolph T. Randa, Judge.

For Bernadine E. Matthews, Plaintiff - Appellant: Gingras, Cates & Luebke, Madison, WI.

For Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Defendant - Appellee: Crivello Carlson, S.C., Milwaukee, WI.

Debbie Rapp, Defendant - Appellee: Crivello Carlson, S.C., Milwaukee, WI.

Before FLAUM, EASTERBROOK, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 822

Rovner, Circuit Judge.

In January 2006, Bernadine Matthews submitted an application to Waukesha

Page 823

County for two open positions--Economic Support Specialist (" Specialist" ) and Economic Support Supervisor ("Supervisor"). She was unsuccessful in her efforts to secure either position, and filed a suit in federal court alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of race when she was not hired, in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Matthews dismissed her claim related to the Supervisor position, and therefore this appeal concerns only her allegations of race discrimination relating to the Specialist position. The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, and Matthews appeals that determination.

Because this is an appeal from a grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, we will consider the facts in the light most favorable to Matthews, resolving all evidentiary conflicts in her favor and according her the benefit of all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the record. O'Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625, 630 (7thCir. 2011). Except where indicated, the following facts are undisputed and largely are culled directly from the Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Proposed Statement of Undisputed Facts. Those undisputed facts reveal that summary judgment was appropriate.

Included in the job description for the position of Specialist at Waukesha County is that the person must work with and evaluate specific public and economic assistance programs including FoodShare, Medical Assistance, Child Care, Child Support, and W-2. The Specialist at Waukesha County is responsible for conducting eligibility determinations as to public and economic assistance programs and working with individuals and families with minor children to evaluate, calculate and determine eligibility for such programs. The new employee would be under the supervision of Economic Support Supervisor Luann Page and therefore Page was the one responsible for coordinating the hiring process and ultimately making the decision as to whom to hire. The position was posted and advertised by Human Resources Assistant Debbie Rapp, who was responsible for seasonal job openings and entry-level positions which included the Specialist position. Rapp engaged in the initial screening of the applications to determine if the applicants possessed the minimum qualifications of the position. The advertisement for the Specialist position affirmatively requested no resumes, but a resume was required for application for the Supervisor position.

Matthews submitted an application for the Specialist position, and submitted a resume as well because she also sought to be considered for an open Supervisor position. The cover letter and resume submitted for the Supervisor position would have been forwarded to Senior Human Resources Analyst Renee Gage and would not have been seen by Rapp, who handled only the applications for the Specialist position. Matthews also voluntarily chose to complete a separate, optional, Affirmative Action Program form, which disclosed her race as African-American. Pursuant to her duties, Rapp examined Matthews' application when it was submitted, and determined that it did not reflect the minimum qualifications. Accordingly, she wrote " No T & E," signifying that the application lacked evidence of the required training and experience, and a rejection letter was sent informing Matthews of that determination. The letter informed Matthews that she could contact Rapp if she had additional information to bring to ...


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