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Smith v. Chicago Transit Auth.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 23, 2015

ROBERT E. SMITH and JOSEPH A. BALDI, Trustee, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Defendant-Appellee

 Argued December 10, 2014

Page 901

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 10-cv-1585 -- Sharon Johnson Coleman, Judge.

For Robert E. Smith, JOSEPH A. BALDI, not individually, but solely as the Trustee of the Estate of Robert Smith, debtor, Plaintiffs - Appellants: John William Moynihan, Attorney, Jeffrey Corso, Attorney, Cooney Corso & Moynihan, LLC, Downers Grove, IL.

For Chicago Transit Authority, Defendant - Appellee: Rachel L. Kaplan, Attorney, Judith A. Kelley, Attorney, Chicago Transit Authority, Law Department, Chicago, IL.

Before EASTERBROOK, SYKES, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 902

SYKES, Circuit Judge.

Robert Smith alleges that the Chicago Transit Authority (" the CTA" ) fired him because of his race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The CTA says it fired Smith because he violated its policy against sexual harassment. The district court granted summary judgment for the CTA, concluding that Smith's case failed under the direct and indirect methods of proof. We affirm.

I. Background

Smith, who is black, began working at the CTA in 1986. In the fall of 2006, he held the position of Transportation Manager and was assigned to the Bus Services

Page 903

Management unit, which was responsible for the movement of buses and monitoring bus service in the field.

The CTA has a policy prohibiting sexual harassment, including " [u]nwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature" when the " conduct has the -- effect of -- creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment." The CTA's EEO Unit is tasked with investigating sexual-harassment complaints brought to its attention. Operations managers who learn of sexual-harassment allegations are required to pass them on to the EEO Unit. Managers are instructed to collect written statements from the employees involved in the complaint and submit them to the EEO staff for investigation. An EEO staff member then investigates the complaint and prepares a report. Based on a review of the investigator's file and report, the general manager of the EEO Unit ...


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