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Unformatted text preview: t [*11] to kill two coworkers provided sufficient basis for discharge);
Payton v. Runyon, 990 F. Supp. 622, 629 (S.D. Ind. 1997) (holding that employer
proffered legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for terminating employee, that he made
death threats against his supervisor); Smith v. New York Times, 955 F. Supp. 558, 560
(D. S. C. 1996) (holding that plaintiff's threat to kill supervisor was legitimate
nondiscriminatory reason for his discharge), aff'd, 107 F.3d 867 (4th Cir. 1997). Smith
does not deny making the threatening statement. Furthermore, it was undisputed that Guy
believed Smith was irrational and out of control, and that he communicated this feeling to
his supervisor, Ford. Because Smith has not proven that the threat was "factually false,"
he has not established pretext under the first Manzer prong. See Manzer, 29 F.3d at 1084.
To establish pretext under the second Manzer method, the plaintiff admits the factual
basis underlying the discharge and acknowledges that such conduct could motivate the
dismissal, but attacks the employer's explanation "by showing circumstances [*12]
which tend to prove an illegal motivation was more likely than that offered by the
defendant." Manzer, 29 F.3d at 1084. "In other words, the plaintiff argues that the sheer
weight of the circumstantial evidence of discrimination makes it 'more likely than not'
that the employer's explanation is a pretext, or coverup." Id.
Smith attempted to prove that his threat did not actually motivate his discharge by
offering proof of racial statements made by his coworkers. However, none of the racial
comments were made by the persons who terminated Smith: Riley, Avise or Ford.
"'Statements by nondecisionmakers . . . [can not] suffice to satisfy the plaintiff's burden . .
.' of demonstrating animus." Bush v. Dictaphone Corp., 161 F.3d 363, 369 (6th Cir. 1998)
(quoting Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 277, 104 L. Ed. 2d 268, 109 S. Ct.
1775 (1989) (O'Connor, J., concurring); McDonald v. Union Camp Corp., 898 F.2d 1155,
1161-62 (6th Cir.1990) (holding that statemen...
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