Green (plaintiff) worked for McDonnell Douglas Corp. (McDonnell) (defendant) in McDonnell’s manufacturing plant for several years as a mechanic and laboratory technician before being laid off amidst general job cuts at the company. Green, a black civil rights activist, believed his firing was racially motivated. Following his termination, Green participated in a staged protest against the company, designed to disrupt its normal business activities. Green was charged with and plead guilty to obstructing traffic. Green subsequently applied for an open mechanic position at McDonnell and was rejected. Green sued McDonnell under § 703(a)(1) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., alleging the company had refused to rehire him because of his race. The district court found that McDonnell refused to rehire Green because of his involvement in the illegal protests against it and that nothing in Title VII prevented it from doing so. The district court dismissed Green’s §703(a)(1) claim. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed that dismissal, and McDonnell filed a petition for review by the United States Supreme Court.