In a case of first impression, the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (covering central states including Illinois) allowed an employee to pursue his claim against an individual manager for retaliation in violation of Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act. In Smith v. Bray, Smith's employer was bankrupt. His only hope for recovery of damages was against individual managers. Smith settled with the supervisor who allegedly harassed him on account of his race. He pursued his suit against Bray, the human resources manager who had a role in the company's termination decision. Smith alleged that Bray retaliated against him on account of his complaints of discrimination. While acknowledging an employee's right to pursue his claim against an HR manager who had a role in the termination decision, the court nonetheless dismissed the claim as Smith presented no evidence that Bray had any retaliatory motive in recommending his termination. She had recommended Smith's termination for an unauthorized absence.
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Human resources manager held not liable for causing employer to retaliate against an employee in violation of Civil Rights Act § 1981
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Director, Legal Services
Cisco Systems, Inc