Robertson v. Wisconsin Department of Health Services, No. 19-1179 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Robertson brought claims against DHS and two DHS employees, Mattke and Evan, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, alleging retaliation for complaining of discrimination in the workplace. The district court dismissed the claims against Evans and Mattke because Title VII authorizes suit only against an employer as an entity, not against individuals, then granted summary judgment, holding that Robertson’s retaliation claim against DHS for failing to promote her to a director position failed because she could not prove a “but-for” causal link between her protected activity (reporting discrimination) and DHS’s decision not to promote her. With respect to her second retaliation claim, alleging that DHS continued the retaliation against her through Evans, the court held that Robertson failed to establish that she suffered an adverse action. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. With respect to her failure-to-promote claim, DHS provided a nonretaliatory reason for choosing another candidate. Robertson failed to submit evidence that DHS’s reason was pretextual. Robertson failed to “identify such weaknesses, implausibilities, inconsistencies, or contradictions” in DHS’s stated reason for hiring Evans over her “that a reasonable person could find [it] unworthy of credence.” With respect to her claim that DHS continued the retaliation through Evans, Robertson has failed to show that she suffered a materially adverse action.