Lauth v. Covance, Inc., No. 16-2939 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Lauth, then 54, began working at Covance in 2006, as a shift supervisor. His performance reviews noted needed improvements in his communication style and that staff members had expressed discontent with Lauth’s supervision and communication style, eventually stating that Lauth “appears unreceptive to take help and/or suggestions from others” and that Lauth “must improve … [his] working relationship with his fellow shift supervisors.” In a 2011 meeting, Lauth’s supervisor asked Lauth when he planned to retire. Lauth submitted a complaint regarding another employee, for what Lauth characterized as “bullying.” Lauth was unhappy with the result and filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming age discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC issued a dismissal. A new supervisor at Covance wanted to dismiss Lauth based on his “argumentative and insubordinate” interactions. Warnings and complaints continued. In 2012, Lauth was terminated. Based on his EEOC charge, Lauth filed suit, alleging age discrimination and retaliation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. 621. The district court granted Covance summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Lauth failed to provide evidence, other than his belief that Covance’s assessments of his workplace behavior were mistaken, from which a jury could infer that Covance terminated him because of his age.