Maurice Johnson v. CTA
Filed Nonprecedential Disposition PER CURIAM. AFFIRMED. Frank H. Easterbrook, Circuit Judge; Michael S. Kanne, Circuit Judge and David F. Hamilton, Circuit Judge. [6878925-1]  [17-1827]
To be cited only in accordance with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Submitted October 23, 2017*
Decided October 24, 2017
FRANK H. EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge
MICHAEL S. KANNE, Circuit Judge
DAVID F. HAMILTON, Circuit Judge
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY,
Appeal from the United States District
Court for the Northern District
of Illinois, Eastern Division.
No. 14 C 9432
John Z. Lee,
O R D E R
Maurice Johnson sued his former employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, see 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e‐2(a)(1), 2000e‐3(a), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He contends
that in suspending him and later eliminating his job, the Chicago Transit Authority
discriminated against him because of his sex and retaliated against him for complaining
about discrimination. He also asserts that the CTA violated an Illinois law that governs
* We have agreed to decide the case without oral argument because the briefs and
record adequately present the facts and legal arguments, and oral argument would not
significantly aid the court. See FED. R. APP. P. 34(a)(2)(C).
staff reductions. The district court dismissed the state‐law claim because it does not
provide a private right of action, and it granted summary judgment for the CTA on the
federal claims for lack of evidence. Johnson has waived a challenge to the first ruling, so
we say nothing further about it, and the second ruling is sound, so we affirm.
We present the facts with all reasonable inferences construed in Johnson’s favor.
Johnson, who had worked for the CTA since 1992, became an administrative manager
for bus operations in 2009. His duties included selecting bus runs for drivers working in
his garage. In March 2013 Johnson incorrectly assigned routes to drivers, an error that
required those drivers to “re‐pick” their routes. Discipline followed two months later,
when Adrian Lewis, Johnson’s supervisor, suspended Johnson from work for three
days. The next day Johnson wrote to CTA’s president to complain that Lewis
suspended him on orders from Lewis’s supervisor who had “personal feelings” against
Johnson. Several weeks later, Johnson followed up with a complaint to CTA’s internal
office for equal employment opportunities. He charged that the suspension reflected
Three months later, in September 2013, Johnson’s position (among others) was
eliminated. The CTA’s Board of Directors passed an ordinance abolishing 53 job
categories, including Johnson’s position. The Board cited the need to consolidate
management and administrative duties. Johnson applied for two other positions at
CTA—Senior Manager and General Manager. But he did not get either job, and CTA
ended his employment at the end of the year.
This lawsuit followed. The district court eventually entered summary judgment
for CTA on the discrimination and retaliation claims. It concluded that on the record
before it no reasonable jury could find that the CTA discriminated or retaliated against
Johnson by suspending him or eliminating his position.
On appeal Johnson argues that he has presented a prima facie case of sex
discrimination, but he is incorrect. To get to a trial, he had to furnish evidence that
would permit a reasonable factfinder to infer that the CTA took adverse action because
he is a man; that inference may arise from evidence that Johnson was meeting CTA’s
legitimate expectations, that he suffered an adverse‐employment action, and that the
CTA treated him less favorably than similarly situated female employees. See Formella v.
Brennan, 817 F.3d 503, 511 (7th Cir. 2016); see also Ortiz v. Werner Enterprises, Inc.,
834 F.3d 760, 765 (7th Cir. 2016) (holding that legal standard is whether reasonable
factfinder can infer discrimination from all the evidence taken as a whole).
Even if Johnson was meeting the CTA’s expectations, and even though he
suffered adverse actions (suspension and job loss), he loses because he failed to supply
evidence that anti‐male bias motivated those actions. He offered no evidence that the
CTA was inclined to discriminate against men or that anyone ever referred to his
gender. True, he contends that at least one employee at the CTA had “personal
feelings” against him, but he provides no evidence that the employee disliked him
because he is a man. See Hester v. Ind. State Dep’t of Health, 726 F.3d 942, 948–49 (7th Cir.
2013); Brown v. Advocate South Suburban Hosp., 700 F.3d 1101, 1105 (7th Cir. 2012).
Moreover, Johnson has not identified a female employee who was similarly situated to
him but was not suspended or discharged. He names women with the same job title
that he had, but that is not enough. He needed to submit evidence that he and the
female employees “reported to the same supervisor, engaged in the same conduct, and
had the same qualifications,” and that “there were no ‘differentiating or mitigating
circumstances as would distinguish . . . the employer’s treatment of them.’” Ineichen v.
Ameritech, 410 F.3d 956, 960–61 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting Radue v. Kimberly‐Clark Corp., 219
F.3d 612, 617–18 (7th Cir. 2000)). Johnson has not done so. A factfinder therefore could
not reasonably conclude from this evidence that the CTA discriminated against him.
Johnson also contests the grant of summary judgment on his retaliation claim,
but this challenge fails, too. To survive summary judgment on a claim of retaliation
under Title VII, Johnson must offer evidence that the CTA took an adverse action
against him because of his statutorily protected activity. Nicholson v. City of Peoria, Ill.,
860 F.3d 520, 523 (7th Cir. 2017). The protected activity that Johnson contends led to his
discharge is his internal complaint that the CTA suspended him because he is a man.
(He has no retaliation claim with regard to the suspension itself because he filed his
internal complaint after his suspension already had occurred.) But Johnson provided no
evidence to the district court that the CTA employees involved in eliminating his
position during the workplace restructuring even knew of this complaint.
Johnson replies on appeal that other unnamed CTA employees knew about his
internal complaint because “discriminatory issues” were discussed at a meeting in July
2013. Johnson says that no one mentioned his name at this meeting, but he speculates
that participants must have inferred that he was the one who had complained of
discrimination. Even if we consider this evidence (which is not in the record) and
assume that those who discharged him learned at this meeting of his complaint, he still
cannot overcome summary judgment. For mere knowledge of an internal complaint
does not by itself imply retaliatory motivation for an adverse action that did not occur,
as here, until three months later. Sauzek v. Exxon Coal USA, Inc., 202 F.3d 913, 919 (7th
Cir. 2000) (three‐month interval insufficient to permit inference of retaliation).
That brings us to Johnson’s claim under § 1983. He argues that the abolition of
his job resulted in “unconstitutional deprivation.” He does not elaborate on how this
claim differs from his others. He may be referring to the Fourteenth Amendment right
to due process, because in his complaint he states that the CTA abolished his job
without first meeting with him. But because Johnson does not develop this point further
on appeal, it is waived. See Gross v. Town of Cicero, Ill., 619 F.3d 697, 704 (7th Cir. 2010).
We have considered Johnson’s additional arguments, and none has merit.
Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is
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