Smith v. Rosebud Farm, Inc., No. 17-2626 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Since 2003, Smith has worked behind the meat counter at Rosebud, a local grocery store. After several years of ongoing sexual and racial harassment from his male coworkers and supervisor, Smith sued, citing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 1981, and the Illinois Gender Violence Act. Smith had complained about the harassment, to no avail. The jury returned a verdict for Smith. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. To win, Smith had to show more than unwanted sexual touching or taunting; he had to show that the harassment occurred because of his sex. The evidence supports the inference that Smith’s coworkers harassed him because he was male. The shop was a mixed‐sex workplace, and only men were groped and taunted. Because men were treated differently from women at Rosebud, a reasonable jury could conclude that Smith was tormented because of his sex. Rosebud also argued that the district court should have awarded it judgment as a matter of law on Smith’s section 1981 retaliation claim and granted a new trial because of inflammatory statements that Smith’s counsel made during his closing argument. Rosebud did not raise either of these arguments below, so it has forfeited them.