“[Plaintiff] claims that the Disciplinary Warning was issued in retaliation for his reporting of Cooper’s racially hostile statements. [Defendant] asserts that the warning issued because Willis demonstrated a ‘lack of good judgment’ and a ‘lack of respect for others’ when he sent the mass email disclosing that his co-worker son overdosed on pills. But [Plaintiff] has proffered summary judgment evidence sufficient to show a genuine dispute of material fact about whether these stated reasons are pretext for an underlying retaliatory motive. Specifically, Willis references an affidavit from Jerome C. Ardoin, Jr. (“Ardoin”), another Cleco employee, in which Ardoin explains that Melancon, Taylor’s direct supervisor in the Human Resources department, told him that he was ‘very pissed’ with Willis for reporting the conversation with Cooper. Moreover, Ardoin’s affidavit claims that Melancon stated: “If we have to find a reason, Ed [Taylor] and I have decided; we are going to terminate that nigger Greg Willis for reporting me and trying to burn my ass.’ If credited by a trier of fact, this statement fairly indicates that Taylor, whose direct supervisor is Melancon, issued the Disciplinary Warning because of retaliatory intent—that is, because Willis previously engaged in the protected activity of reporting the racially hostile comments Cooper made in a conversation with Melancon. Accordingly, Willis has produced the requisite ‘evidence indicating that the proffered elgitimate nondiscriminatory reason is a pretext for discrimination.’ Laxton v. Gap, Inc., 333 F.3d 572, 578 (5th Cir. 2003).”
Willis v. Cleco Corp., 749 F.3d 314, 318 (5th Cir. July 9, 2014) (Garza, J.).