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Brenda Patterson is a woman of color. She worked for McLean Credit Union as a fie clerk and teller from 1972 until she was fired in 1982. Brenda Patterson sued McLean for racial discrimination based on its conduct towards her while she was an employee. She testified at trial that her employer and its supervisors gave her more demeaning work than similarly situated white employees, passed over her for promotions given less qualified white employees and did not even inform her of promotion opportunities, denied wage increases routinely given other employees, and subjected her to gratuitous racial slurs, such as the opinion that "blacks are known to work slower than whites by nature."

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