No Less Favorable Treatment or Causal Connection

The Seventh Circuit held that the District Court did not err in granting defendant-employer’s motion for summary judgment.Hnin v. TOA (USA) LLC, No. 13-3658 (May 5, 2014).

Employee Hnin alleged that his employer violated Title VII when it fired him from his assembly line position because of his national origin and because he had previously complained of discrimination. However Hnin only complained after his employer had conducted internal investigation as to whether Hnin had sexually harassed a co-worker and had otherwise acted aggressively against other co-workers.

The Seventh Circuit held that Hnin failed to establish that any other co-worker, who had been accused of similar sex-based misconduct, was treated more favorably. The fact that Hnin believed that his misconduct was mere teasing that did not amount to actionable sexual harassment did not require different result because an employer can discipline employees for misconduct that is not actionable sexual harassment. Furthermore, Hnin failed to show that his complaint of discrimination that occurred twelve months before he was fired was causally related to his termination.