and the five plaintiffs, while attacking policies that would have affected all of Jewel's women employees as a class, have stated only their individual claims, not a class action")).
Williams' attempt to prove intentional discrimination through use of circumstantial evidence is not persuasive. In Troupe, the Seventh Circuit held that a plaintiff could prove discrimination by using circumstantial evidence that employees "similarly situated to the plaintiff other than [by race] . . . received systematically better treatment." Troupe, 20 F.3d at 736. Even if this court were to give Williams the benefit of the doubt and use the evidence of similarly situated employees to find a prima facie case of discrimination, the evidence is not sufficient to prove intentional discrimination because it did not show "systematically more favorable treatment" toward similarly situated caucasian employees. E.E.O.C. v. Our Lady of the Resurrection Med. Ctr., 77 F.3d 145 (7th Cir. 1996).
In addition to evidence concerning purportedly similarly situated caucasian employees, Williams relies on the company's investigation and documentation of incidents concerning other minorities to prove intentional discrimination. The three individuals Williams identified, however, were never suspended or terminated. Johnny Stewart, an African American, was accused of engaging in sexual harassment on four separate occasions over a four-year period. The company agreed to drop its investigation and Stewart was never disciplined. Gilberto Gonzalez, an Hispanic employee, was accused of sexually harassing a female employee by pulling up his pant leg and pointing to it. The company did not discipline Gonzalez. Andy Williams, an African American male employee, made inappropriate and offensive comments to a female outside contractor about women's roles in the workplace. The complainant contended that Andy Williams prevented her from completing her assignment. Andy Williams was warned that his comments offended the outside contractor and that he should refrain from making similar comments in the future.
The company's actions concerning Stewart, Gonzalez and Williams do not show the company systematically treated caucasians more favorably. The company documentation shows that the General Mills takes its obligations concerning sexual harassment seriously and investigates allegations when they are brought to the company's attention. The company documented and investigated eight accusations made against caucasian employees. Indeed, the majority of the company's sexual harassment investigations were of caucasian male employees, showing that caucasians are not treated more favorably concerning company investigations of harassment allegations. As with some of the allegations against African American employees, General Mills issued formal written reprimands against some of the caucasians who purportedly made offensive comments on isolated occasions.
In sum, Williams failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. Nor did Williams prove that General Mills' articulated basis for terminating him, sexual harassment, was not the real reason or that he was more likely terminated because of his race. Rather, the evidence shows that General Mills took its obligation to investigate and remediate sexual harassment complaints seriously, and that it terminated Williams because it honestly believed that he repeatedly sexually harassed women over a ten-year period despite previous warnings, discipline, counseling and training.
The summary judgment motion is granted. Judgment is entered in favor of defendant General Mills, Inc. and against plaintiff Alvin Williams.
Suzanne B. Conlon
United States District Judge
June 3, 1996