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officials were not indicative of discrimination when the ultimate decision to discharge
[*13] is made by an upper-level official); Wilson v. Stroh Cos., Inc., 952 F.2d 942, 94546 (6th Cir. 1992) (holding that racial animus by plant manager could not be imputed to 102 upper-level manager who made decision to terminate absent proof of a connection); cf.
Talley v. Bravo Pitino Restaurant, Ltd., 61 F.3d 1241, 1249 (6 th Cir. 1995) (holding that
repeated racial slurs by two owners constituted direct evidence that the plaintiff's
termination might have been racially motivated).
Further, the stray comments were made long before Smith's termination. See Phelps v.
Yale Security, Inc., 986 F.2d 1020, 1025-26 (6th Cir. 1990); see also Russell v. AcmeEvans Co., 51 F.3d 64, 68 (7th Cir. 1995) (holding that threat to shove a shotgun up the
plaintiff's "black ass" made fifteen years prior to termination decision was "too tenuously
related to the alleged discriminatory action by supervisors many years later" to create an
inference of discrimination). Thus, the stray remarks were not relevant. See Ercegovich v.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 154 F.3d 344, 354 (6th Cir. 1998) ("In assessing the [*14]
relevancy of a discriminatory remark, we look first at the identity of the speaker. An
isolated discriminatory remark made by one with no managerial authority over the
challenged personnel decisions is not considered indicative of . . . discrimination."); cf.
Robinson v. Runyon, 149
F.3d 507, 512 (6th Cir. 1998) (holding that evidence showing that coemployees
circulated a fake employment application incorporating racial stereotypes was relevant
where the plaintiff showed that upper management knew of the application, but did not
Nor can we say that the error was harmless. The derogatory and graphic racial comments
in this case are the "smoking gun" type evidence that added an "emotional element" as a
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2012 for the course ENC 102 taught by Professor Deria during the Spring '08 term at FIU.
- Spring '08