Unformatted text preview: mosphere is not rendered irrelevant by its failure to coincide
precisely with the particular "time-frame involved in the specific events that generated a
claim of discriminatory treatment." Discriminatory statements may reflect a cumulative
managerial attitude among the defendant-employers' supervisors that has influenced the
decision-making process for a considerable period of time. See id.
In addition, the majority seems to be establishing that unless racially motivated
misconduct is aimed at the plaintiff directly, simply seeing or overhearing it targeted at
another is not sufficient to label the misconduct as "severe." We have held that evidence
of racist remarks or isolated incidences of racial conduct directed towards other AfricanAmerican employees at the plant may be critical for the jury's assessment of whether
[*31] a given employer was more likely than not to have acted from an unlawful motive.
See Robinson v. Runyon, 149 F.3d 507, 513 (6th Cir. 1998). An employer may create a
hostile environment for an employee even where it directs its discriminatory acts or
practices at the protected group of which the plaintiff is a member, and not just at the
plaintiff himself. See Jackson v. Quanex Corp., 191 F.3d 647 (6th Cir. 1999). Thus, the
fact that Smith was not the targeted victim of a racial remark made by a supervisor does
not mean that such a remark was not offensive or humiliating to Smith. The jury was
entitled to factor such remarks into their decision.
I believe that the Supreme Court did not intend for us to interpret the "totality of the
circumstances" test so narrowly by disaggregating the effect of each incident over time
until its significance is lost or diluted. Instead, we should look more at the cumulative
effect of these incidents over time in order to assess whether the atmosphere at the plant
was racially hostile from plaintiff's subjective point of view. The district court found that
evidence of racial slurs and the offensive cartoon [*32] coupled with a lack of an
effective disciplinary response to each inci...
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- Spring '08
- Supreme Court of the United States, Appellate court, Summary judgment