Willie Lewis Sherman (plaintiff) complained to the government that his former employer, Burke Contracting, Inc., and its owner, William Burke (defendants), were guilty of racial discrimination. After leaving Burke's company, Sherman worked for Wade Palmer. When Palmer fired Sherman, Sherman secretly tape-recorded Palmer. On tape, Palmer said that Burke persuaded him to fire Sherman, in retaliation for Sherman's complaint to the government. Sherman sued Burke for damages arising from the Palmer firing. At the jury trial, Palmer denied having any contact with Burke concerning Sherman. Sherman then introduced the tape recording into evidence. Burke did not object to the tape's introduction or try to limit the purpose for which the tape was introduced. Burke appealed the trial verdict to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Burke contended that the tape contained hearsay and should not have been admitted into evidence.