In two separate opinions, the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of age and religious discrimination lawsuits, where the plaintiffs could not overcome significant evidence of non-discriminatory performance problems as the basis for their terminations In Senske v. Sybase, the court held that a 58-year old sales manager failed to show that his age was a factor in his termination. The court ruled that, despite the fact that plaintiff was the company’s top earner in North America the previous year, there was a “virtual avalanche of documentation” showing that the next year plaintiff fell consistently short of the employer’s performance expectations, achieving only 20% of his annual quota. Although plaintiff had two major deals in the fourth quarter, the company “convincingly” showed, and plaintiff could not rebut, that they were “bluebird” deals for which plaintiff performed little or no work.
In Patterson v. Indiana Newspapers, two newspaper editorial writers claimed religious discrimination because of disagreements with management over their “traditional Christian” beliefs about homosexuality. The court held that the writers failed to show that religion was a factor in their termination. One writer repeatedly violated the newspaper’s overtime policy and did not meet other legitimate performance expectations, and the newspaper repeatedly warned the other writer about poor writing and errors.