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ARGUED OCTOBER 6, 2010

Before EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge, and WOOD and EVANS, Circuit Judges.

Kevin Loudermilk worked at Best Pallet Company, where his principal task was to disassemble pallets and stack the wood for reuse. Multiple employees worked simultaneously on a “tear-down machine.” Laborers at one end broke pallets into pieces, which were passed to others for stacking. Loudermilk contends that each side of the machine in the stacking area should have had at least two workers, but that Best Pallet assigned its staff so that two or more Hispanic workers were on one side, while Loudermilk (who is black) worked alone on the other. He could not keep up and was criticized for allowing boards to fall, and when he complained about the lack of help the Hispanic workers hurled racial epithets. He complained in turn about these taunts; management did nothing, Loudermilk says. (All of this opinion’s factual narrative comes from Loudermilk’s allegations and evidence, which we must accept for current purposes.)

 
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