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Unformatted text preview: motivate the termination, or (3) the proffered reason was not sufficient to
motivate the discharge. See Manzer v. Diamond Shamrock Chem., 29 F.3d 1078, 1084
(6th Cir. 1994).
In this case, Smith does not dispute that he made the threatening remark under the first
prong of the Manzer test or the fact that such [*34] a remark, under certain
circumstances, would be a sufficient nondiscriminatory reason for firing someone under
the third Manzer prong. However, under the third prong, there is a real dispute as to
whether Smith's threat was directed toward any employee of the company or whether
anyone at the plant took Smith's threat seriously. Moreover, there is no explanation as to
why there was no direct law enforcement the day after the threat was made or why the
employer waited until Monday to fire Smith. These are disputed issues, which in my
opinion, are questions of fact for a jury, not the court, to decide.
Under the second prong of the Manzer test, Smith seeks to show that "the sheer weight of
the circumstantial evidence of discrimination makes it more likely than not that the
employer's explanation is pretext." Id. at 1084. Smith produces evidence of racism and
unequal treatment over a twenty year period to show that a racially hostile work
environment existed at the plant. The district court allowed such evidence to go to a jury
so that the jury could decide whether Smith was fired because of the threat or
discriminatory reasons. The majority incorrectly [*35] dismisses this evidence on the
grounds that none of the racial comments were made by the persons who terminated
Smith and most of the comments were made long before Smith's termination. Again, it is
important to reiterate this Court's language in Ercegovich that evidence of a corporate
state of mind or discriminatory atmosphere is not rendered irrelevant by its failure to
coincide precisely with the particular actors or time-frame involved in the specific events
that generated a claim of discriminatory treatment. Ercegovich, at 354-55. Thus, although
discriminatory statements by a non-decision maker, standing alone, generally do not 110 support an inference of discrimination, such statements are not categorically excluded.
Finally, the majority writes that the evidence...
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- Spring '08