Mollet v. City of Greenfield, No. 18-3685 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Firefighter Mollet became a battalion chief in 2009. His relationships with chief Cohn and assistant chief Weber were strained. One night, firefighter Hernandez forgot to stow his gear. Other firefighters displayed the items and posted a paper sign with a Mexican flag and the words “Border Patrol.” Hernandez did not file a complaint but another firefighter reported it. Mollet emailed Cohn and Weber, who agreed “that this crosses the line of firehouse hazing” and asked Mollet to investigate. Four individuals were eventually disciplined. In the following months, Cohn and Weber were critical of Mollet’s performance on multiple occasions and stated that he might be demoted or reassigned. Mollet received an offer of employment from another department. Cohn and Weber indicated that he would be demoted if he did not take that position. Mollet told Weber he was going to accept the offer, which was contingent upon his passing a physical and psychological exam. Cohn sent a letter accepting Mollet’s resignation; Mollet responded he would not resign until the contingencies were met. Cohn responded that Mollet’s employment had terminated. Mollet was placed on paid leave until he submitted his resignation and began his new employment. Mollet filed suit, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, alleging he was retaliated against for opposing workplace discrimination. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment rejecting the claim; no reasonable trier of fact could find that reporting the Hernandez incident was the but-for cause of Mollet’s constructive discharge.