was in any way connected to Plair's discharge.
Garland Williams states that he received a written final warning for making unauthorized telephone calls while at work. Williams Aff. P 4-5. Williams states that an investigation later revealed that Darrell Mills, a white employee, made the unauthorized calls. Williams Aff. PP 6-9. Klepper refused to void the warning letter and did not issue a letter to Mills. Williams Aff. PP 11-12. Williams further attests that Klepper later fired him for theft after a white employee gave him two half-used cans of spray paint. Williams Aff. PP 13-19. There is no substantial nexus between Williams' allegations and Plair's discharge -- although both were disciplined by Klepper, they were disciplined under different circumstances for different alleged rule violations. Williams also does not allege that Klepper articulated race as a reason for his discipline, only that Klepper's discipline was unreasonable and therefore racially motivated. Because there is no nexus to Plair's termination and because there is no direct evidence of Klepper's intent in punishing Williams, Williams' testimony does not raise a reasonable inference that Plair was fired because of his race nor does his testimony establish a question of material fact as to pretext.
4. Statistical Evidence
Plair relies on statistical evidence to prove that race played a role in his discharge. Statistics are of relatively limited utility in an individual discrimination claim; standing alone, statistics cannot establish a case of individual disparate treatment. Gilty v. Oak Park, 919 F.2d 1247, 1252, 1253 n. 8 (7th Cir. 1990). Unless there are independent grounds for disbelieving an employer's explanation for a termination, there is a stringent degree of certainty required of statistical evidence. Bush v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 778 F. Supp. 1436, 1444 (N.D. Ill. 1991), aff'd, 990 F.2d 928 (7th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 128 L. Ed. 2d 367, 114 S. Ct. 1648 (1994).
The statistical evidence Plair proffers is not so stringently certain as to warrant a reasonable inference that he was discharged on account of his race. Plair produces an expert report concluding that African American Brach employees are 7.3 times more likely than non-African American employees to be terminated for disciplinary reasons and that, excluding temporary employees from the pool, African-American employees are 3.4 times more likely than non-African American employees to be terminated. Pl. Ex. T (Update) at 4. However, this report is of very limited probative value. Plair's expert makes no effort to analyze the number of disciplinary terminations in light of the total number of disciplinary actions taken against African American and non-African American employees. Deposition of Xiaochang Jin ("Jin Dep") at 289-91. Moreover, Plair's statistical analysis proves very little with regard to the specific rule violations with which Plair was charged. Plair's analysis considers disciplinary terminations in general. However, Brach produces evidence that among employees charged with the same rule violations for which Plair was dismissed, African American employees are not significantly more likely to be discharged than non-African American employees. Def. Ex. AA.
Plair also proffers a chart of disciplinary actions in which Klepper was a supervisor. Pl. Ex. W. The chart reveals that 11 of 14 (78.6 percent) of African Americans charged with violation of time card regulations, leaving the work area, or falsification of company records were terminated; the chart also shows that only 13 of 22 (59.1 percent) of non-African Americans charged with the same infractions were terminated. This evidence is entitled to little weight given the extremely small sample size; the percentage difference between the two groups rests on the experience of three non-African American employees. Where even a minor change in the raw disciplinary data would eliminate the significant deviation, statistics do not prove that an employment decision was motivated by racial bias. Soria v. Ozinga Bros., Inc., 704 F.2d 990, 995 (7th Cir. 1983).
Plair fails to produce evidence from which a rational factfinder could find that Brach's reasons for his termination lacked a factual basis, were insufficient to motivate his termination, or did not in fact motivate his termination. Because Plair fails to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to pretext, Brach is entitled to summary judgment. See Anderson v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 13 F.3d 1120, 1124 (7th Cir. 1994).
The motion for summary judgment is granted. Judgment is entered in favor of defendants E.J. Brach & Sons, Inc. and E.J. Brach Corporation and against plaintiff John Plair.
Suzanne B. Conlon
United States District Judge
April 20, 1995