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Brown again replied no. During cross-examination, Brown was questioned about a "Documentation Outline" concerning Stacks' termination. Brown also admitted that the investigation of Stacks following her suspension was "in-depth" and "unusual. Counsel also asked Brown if the company had options other than termination in dealing with sales representatives who had been good performers but began experiencing problems.

Brown responded that the company could give the employee a warning, place him on probation, or enroll him in a "Development Program," which was a formal procedure whereby a manager and an employee were given the opportunity to work out a problem. Brown testified that he had considered recommending the program when Hudson reported that Stacks was having problems in Hot Springs, but did not go forward with it, explaining the ultimate decision rested with Hudson.

As to Hudson's manner, Brown characterized Hudson as "very mannerly" and the "consummate professional," but acknowledged that Hudson was "emotionally honest" and publicly "chewed out" all employees. Brown admitted that Stacks' complaint prompted him to instruct Hudson to criticize his employees behind closed doors.

Brown also admitted that he had heard that Hudson had remarked that women and blacks were the worst thing that had happened to the company. Alternatively, Brown stated that he believed that Hudson made the remark "in jest or as points of frustration. Hudson could not recall the discussion. As to Stacks' other claims, Brown denied making any comment to her about masturbation. Brown, however, admitted that he was present when the stripper performed and had commented on the "show in the back of the room. In an opinion issued from the bench, the district court acknowledged the case was one of the most difficult discrimination cases it had ever heard.

The court stated:. I'll admit that I do have some problems with some of [Hudson's] testimony. I think he may well have thought that women were the worst thing that happened to Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages and that if he had his druthers, he wouldn't have any women there. Yes, I have some problems with the way Ms. Stacks' attitude was being evaluated. As to the hostile-work-environment claim, the court noted that despite its reservations about Hudson's testimony it did not believe that Hudson had harassed Stacks because of her sex.

The court believed that Hudson was "unpleasant toward everybody. The court, however, apparently believed her testimony concerning the other incidents, but found the incidents could not support a hostile-work-environment claim. The court discounted the videotape incident because it was isolated and there was no showing of company involvement.

The court rejected Stacks' testimony that the closed parties made her feel less than human because she had admitted having had a relationship with a married man. As to her discharge claim, the court noted that it would not have terminated Stacks, characterizing her as a "crackerjack salesperson. Stacks appealed. Although she acknowledged that generally a finding of no discrimination is subject to the clearly erroneous rule, she argued that the district court erred as a matter of law in failing to address the question whether the mixed-motives analysis of Price Waterhouse v.

Hopkins, U. Asbill, F. This court agreed and remanded, instructing the district court to make findings "whether Stacks demonstrated that her gender was a motivating factor in the challenged employment decision, and, if so, whether Yellow Pages met its burden to demonstrate it would have made the same decision anyway. We directed the district court to reconsider its statement concerning Hudson's remarks about women at Yellow Pages and the "way Ms. On remand, the district court again rejected Stacks' claims.

The district court stated that the "discharge claim [wa]s dealt with easily under Price Waterhouse. The court then went on to apply Price Waterhouse to Hudson's treatment of Stacks in the context of her harassment claim. The court found that Price Waterhouse was inapplicable because Stacks refused to follow Hudson's instructions and had lied about her whereabouts on the job. Alternatively, the court found that even if there was a gender-based motive in Hudson's treatment of Stacks, Stacks would not prevail because Hudson "would have taken the same action against a man who intentionally disobeyed, frustrated his managerial efforts, and was untruthful.

After remand, Stacks first argues that the district court erred in failing to analyze her discharge claim under Price Waterhouse. In particular, she argues that as a matter of law and fact the court erred in finding that Brown was the sole relevant decisionmaker as to her discharge.

We agree. As made clear in our remand, evidence that gender was a motivating factor includes evidence of "[c]omments which demonstrate a discriminatory animus. McDonnell Douglas Corp. Unisys Corp.

Here, without doubt Hudson was closely involved in the decision-making process at each step. At trial Hudson admitted that he participated in the decisions to suspend and terminate Stacks. Diversitech Gen. We need not remand a second time for the district court's reconsideration.

Although the court erred in failing to apply Price Waterhouse to Stacks' discharge claim, it did apply it to her harassment claim. While, as will be discussed, the court erred in applying Price Waterhouse to the harassment claim, its analysis in the context of the harassment claim is applicable to the discharge claim.

Despite its earlier concern that Hudson's comments reflected a discriminatory animus that affected the way in which he evaluated Stacks' performance, on remand the court found that Hudson's comments and conduct did not invoke Price Waterhouse because Stacks had disobeyed and lied to him.

The district court evidently misunderstands the first part of the Price Waterhouse mixed-motives analysis. Even if an employee is disobedient or has lied, that "does not render [gender]-based motives against such an employee justified. By focusing on Stacks' behavior the court failed to consider whether she presented "evidence, be it direct or circumstantial, sufficient to support a finding by a reasonable fact finder that [gender] actually motivated the challenged decision.

We believe she did. Zip Feed Mills, Inc. Hudson's comment that "women were the worst thing" that had happened to the company, however, warrants such an inference, even though it was not made during the decisional process. In Radabaugh, this court held that corporate documents which emphasized youth as a positive factor and were authored by one of two persons who participated in a decision to discharge an older worker supported the giving of Price Waterhouse instruction. The court noted that even though the documents were "not directly relate[d] to the challenged employment decision,. Alton Packaging Corp.

In Alton Packaging, the Eleventh Circuit held that a statement by a general manager that "if it were his company, he would not hire blacks" was evidence of a discriminatory animus sufficient to shift the burden to the employer under Price Waterhouse. The court noted that the manager had participated in the denial of a promotion to the black plaintiff and that the statement indicated a "decidedly negative attitude toward black people.

See also Brown v. East Miss. Power Ass'n. Leaving credibility issues aside, we believe Stacks also presented evidence that Brown was motivated by a discriminatory animus. At trial Brown admitted that he was aware that Hudson had stated that women and blacks were the worst thing that had ever happened to the company. Brown, however, attempted to minimize the comment by characterizing it as a joke or by explaining that Hudson was "only" referring to women and blacks who did not work.

He later conceded the remark "out-of-line" and claimed he discussed it with Hudson.

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Apparently, the discussion had little or no effect on Hudson; he did not remember it. In similar circumstances, the Fifth Circuit has held that a manager's response to a supervisor's use of a racial slur was evidence that the manager's decision to fire a black employee was "influenced by racial factors. East Mississippi Elec.

In Brown, the court noted that a manager had "minimized [a] complaint about [a supervisor's] use of racial slurs" and although the manager "ostensibly reprimanded [the supervisor], [the manager] never considered that [the supervisor's] blatantly racist attitudes might explain his criticism of [the employee] and might undermine the objectivity of his advice with respect to [the employee's] position with the company.

We are aware that the district court discounted Stacks' credibility and credited Brown's testimony in large part because the court did not believe that Brown told Stacks a joke about masturbation. Although we have some problems with the way in which the court evaluated credibility, we need not disturb this finding. Our holding that Stacks presented sufficient evidence to shift the burden under Price Waterhouse is based on undisputed evidence. However, we note that although the court found Brown to be a credible witness, there is documentary evidence which casts doubt on that finding.

Arkansas State Police, 10 F. However, "[w]here documentary or objective evidence contradicts witness testimony, an appellate court may reverse even a finding purportedly based on a credibility determination. Here, at trial Brown insisted that Stacks was not terminated because of customer complaints, even though he acknowledged that his handwriting was on a document concerning her termination which stated "Customer Complaint — Sole Reason for Termination.

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Briscoe v. Fred's Dollar Store, Inc. This disparity lends support to the court's conclusion that the reasons articulated at trial were mere pretexts for an impermissible reason for termination under Title VII. In addition, there is "ample circumstantial evidence in the sequence of events to support the contention that.

Ostrowski v.


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Atlantic Mut. Stacks presented undisputed evidence that she had been treated differently than her male counterparts in the disciplinary actions leading to her termination. See Johnson v.

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Here, the evidence was that male co-workers had not been suspended because of customer complaints or failure to return telephone calls. In fact, Brown conceded that top performers like Stacks often generated more complaints. In addition, the undisputed evidence was that Stacks' investigation was different from those of male co-workers. Brown admitted that the investigation following Stacks' suspension for failing to return telephone calls was "in-depth" and "unusual," rivaling investigations for employees accused of falsifying company documents. Also, Brown stated that Stacks was denied the opportunity to enroll in a development program, although he had considered the program at the time she began to "lose control.

Since Stacks satisfied her burden of proof under Price Waterhouse, the burden shifted to Yellow Pages to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that it would have terminated her even if it had not taken gender into account. The district court appeared to believe that the company fulfilled its burden because it would have terminated a male who had behaved as Stacks did after she was notified of the five-day suspension. By focusing on Stacks' behavior after the notification of the suspension, the district court again has erred.