Owens v. Old Wisconsin Sausage Co., No. 16-3875 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Owens worked as Old Wisconsin's manager of Human Resources and the company’s only female manager, from June 2011 until her termination in April 2012. Kobussen applied for a position at Old Wisconsin. Owens was involved in the interview process but did not disclose that she and Kobussen were involved in a six-year relationship. Owens was also involved in the hiring of a long-time friend, which resulted in allegations, by other employees, of preferential treatment. The company indicated that the reason for termination was lack of professionalism and lack of knowledge concerning HR and safety policies. Owens was replaced by a woman. She filed suit, alleging discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 215(a)(3). Owens had complained of FLSA violations at the company. The district court granted summary judgment, rejecting all claims. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, stating that while “Owens sets forth a plethora of other actions which she claims constitute discriminatory treatment,” there is nothing inherent in them that would allow an inference that they were related to her sex, and no evidence that other similarly-situated employees were treated differently or other reason to indicate they indicate sex discrimination.