CBOCS West v. Humphries

Humphries, an African-American male, sued CBOCS West alleging discrimination and retaliatory firing in violation of Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, based on his discharge as an associate manager at one of CBOCS's Cracker Barrel restaurants. The district court dismissed Humphries’s Title VII claims as procedurally barred. It then granted summary judgment in favor of CBOCS West on the § 1981 claim, holding that Humphries could not prove his prima facie case, which requires showing that a similarly situated individual in a non-protected class was treated more favorably than he.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. First, the Seventh Circuit held that § 1981, as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, applies to claims of retaliatory discharge. Second, the Seventh Circuit found that Humphries had presented sufficient evidence that similarly situated individuals who did not complain about discrimination were not fired.

Question Presented:

Is a race retaliation claim cognizable under 42 U.S.C. § 1981?

Decision under Review

Supreme Court Opinion