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United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
September 23, 1993, Argued ; December 17, 1993, Decided
Nos. 93-1125, 93-1266
[*670] FLAUM, Circuit Judge. On April 27, 1989, after exhausting state administrative remedies, James E. Rodgers ("Rodgers") brought suit in federal district court against his former employer, Western-Southern Life Insurance Company ("Western-Southern"). Rodgers alleged that Western-Southern discriminated against him by creating a racially hostile environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment and in so doing constructively discharged him. [**2] The district court dismissed Rodgers' Fourteenth Amendment claim on the ground that Western-Southern is not a state actor. Following a bench trial, the district court held Western-Southern liable under Title VII for maintaining a racially hostile work environment and awarded back pay to Rodgers in the amount of $ 101,674.78 under the constructive discharge theory. The court also ordered Western-Southern to provide Rodgers with an annuity in accordance with its pension plan. Western-Southern appeals from the court's liability determination and its award of back pay. Rodgers cross-appeals from the court's failure to award front pay. For the following reasons, we affirm the district court in all respects.
James E. Rodgers was employed in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin office of Western-Southern Life Insurance Company from 1973 until 1985. Throughout Rodgers' period of employment, Western-Southern's Milwaukee office employed approximately eighteen to twenty Sales Agents who reported to four Associate Sales Managers who, in turn, reported to one District Sales Manager. The District Sales Manager during this entire period was William Mann ("Mann"). In addition to supervising the overall operation [**3] of the Milwaukee office, Mann also hired all [*671] Sales Agents, including Rodgers. Mann is a white man; Rodgers is a black man.
Rodgers began his tenure with Western-Southern as a Sales Agent, a position that required Rodgers to sell insurance policies, collect premiums from policyholders, negotiate policy loans and transfers, and perform weekly and monthly accounting of the premiums he collected. As of 1973, four of the Milwaukee-based Sales Agents were black, and that number increased to six or seven by the time Rodgers quit in 1985. By all accounts, Rodgers compiled an outstanding record as a Sales Agent and experienced no significant conflicts with any of the Associate Sales Managers who supervised him.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
12 F.3d 668 *; 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 32982 **; 63 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 694; 63 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P42,729
JAMES E. RODGERS, Plaintiff-Appellee, Cross-Appellant, v. WESTERN-SOUTHERN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant, Cross-Appellee.
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 89-C-484. John W. Reynolds, Senior Judge.
district court, sales agent, harassment, resignation, constructive discharge, comments, insults, race-neutral, stress, hostile work environment, insurance agent, hire, quit, open account, clear error, front pay, racist, backpay, circumstances, employees, epithet, credibility determinations, hostile environment, reasonable employee, clearly erroneous, fact finding, racial slur, cross-appeal, remarks
Business & Corporate Compliance, Discrimination, Racial Discrimination, Federal & State Interrelationships, Labor & Employment Law, Affirmative Action, General Overview, Harassment, Racial Harassment, Hostile Work Environment, Civil Procedure, Trials, Bench Trials, Judicial Officers, Judges, Appeals, Standards of Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, Enforcement, Sexual Harassment, Scope & Definitions, Title VII Discrimination, Remedies, Affirmative & Equitable Relief, Constructive Discharge, Statutory Application, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Damages, Backpay, Wrongful Termination, Disparate Treatment, Defenses, Reinstatement