Thursday, August 7, 2014
Racial Discrimination within International Truck and Engine Corporation
In 1996, Matthew Whitfield—an African American—applied for an open electrician position at Navistar’s plant in Indianapolis. Whitfield was told that he could not be hired because his experience could not be proven. In 2001, Whitfield along with 26 other Plaintiff’s sued Navistar under Title VII, alleging Navistar discriminated in hiring and maintained a racially hostile work environment. Under Title VII, employers may not “discriminate against any individual with respect to his . . . privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1).
In 2013, the district court dismissed Whitfield’s claim, and ruled that Whitfield’s evidence did not show proof of discrimination. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and held that Whitfield satisfied his burden of proof for showing discrimination, and that Whitfield demonstrated that he was more qualified than white comparators. The court further explained that Whitfield providing proof that his file was labeled with the word “black” was sufficient to determine discrimination. Whitfield v. Int'l Truck & Engine Corp., 13-1876, 2014 WL 2547772 (7th Cir. June 6, 2014).