Baines v. Walgreen Co., No. 16-3335 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Baines alleged that when her former employer, Walgreens, refused to rehire her in 2014, it intentionally retaliated against her for complaining about race discrimination several years earlier. She sued under 42 U.S.C. 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The district court granted Walgreens summary judgment. The court said it found no evidence linking Baines’ protected activity (filing EEOC charges) and Walgreens’ adverse employment actions (failing to rehire her). The Seventh Circuit reversed. While Baines did not offer direct evidence of a causal link, she offered sufficient circumstantial evidence to satisfy the summary judgment standard. She offered evidence that the manager who handled her earlier EEOC charges intervened in the 2014 decision not to rehire her, and did so in ways that deviated significantly from Walgreens’ standard hiring procedures. Walgreens offered no explanation for this unusual behavior. Other circumstantial evidence included missing records of Baines’ application and her interview scores, a decision to hire instead someone less qualified, and dishonest answers from Walgreens decision-makers when asked to explain their decisions. If a jury believes Baines’ evidence, it could reasonably find that Walgreens unlawfully retaliated against her.