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ARGUED JULY 12, 2011-

Before BAUER, CUDAHY, and TINDER,Circuit Judges.

Mark Rodgers, a longtime employee of the Secretary of State’s office in Illinois, was fired from his job but reinstated after arbitration. In this litigation he claims that two white managers targeted him for termination because he is black. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants. Rodgers’s primary argument on appeal is that he and two white co-workers engaged in the same alleged mis- conduct, yet his white counterparts were treated less harshly. Rodgers focuses on the co-worker with the same job title, but the other white employee, Rodgers’s immediate supervisor, is the better comparator. We have observed in many decisions that employees of differing ranks usually make poor comparators, but the rationale behind that general rule does not apply in this case. We conclude, based on evidence that Rodgers engaged in the same conduct as his supervisor but was disciplined more harshly, that a jury could reasonably infer that Rodgers was discriminated against. We thus vacate the judgment and remand for trial.

 
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