Marshall v. Quincy Compressor, LLC
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER, Dft's 38 Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED as set out; Plf's 27 Motion for Summary Judgment, 31 Motion for Summary Judgment are DENIED as set out. Signed by Senior Judge Callie V. S. Granade on 9/14/2016. (copy mailed to Plf on 9/15/16) (tot)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
WILLIAM I. MARSHALL, pro se,
QUINCY COMPRESSOR, LLC,
) CIVIL ACTION NO. 15-0458-CG-C
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on Defendant’s motion for summary judgment
(Doc. 27), Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and opposition to Defendant’s
motion (Doc. 31), Plaintiff’s second motion for summary judgment and additional
opposition to Defendant’s motion (Doc. 38), Defendant’s response to Plaintiff’s
filings (Doc. 39), and Plaintiff’s reply (Doc. 40). For reasons that will be explained
below, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not established a prima facie case of
discriminatory discharge and has not shown that Defendant’s proffered nondiscriminatory reason for terminating Plaintiff was merely pretext. Accordingly,
Defendant’s motion for summary judgment will be granted and Plaintiff’s motions
for summary judgment will be denied.
Plaintiff, William I. Marshall, filed this action pro se, stating that he had
filed an EEOC complaint against his employer, Quincy Compressor, LLC, when he
was terminated from his job on June 27, 2014, while he had a shoulder injury. (Doc.
1). The Complaint in this case states that Plaintiff’s doctor had limited him to lifting
15 pounds and Plaintiff was put in a position where he would have to lift 45 to 50
pounds. The Complaint alleges that another employee, “Robert Lee”, was asked to
help Plaintiff, but refused and went to the office and complained that Plaintiff did
not want to work with him. Plaintiff alleges that he told them he had
documentation that he was limited to lifting 15 pounds, but they told him to sign a
statement that he needed counseling to be able to get along with people. Plaintiff’s
Complaint states that he refused to sign the document and was told by “the Plant
Manager, John Dow,”1 that if he did not sign the document they would consider
Plaintiff to have quit his job. The Complaint also asserts that Plaintiff needs
surgery and that the company failed to help Plaintiff get further medical treatment.
Plaintiff’s EEOC charge, dated July 14, 2014, alleged that he was
discriminated against on the basis of his disability. (Doc. 29-3, p. 37). In his EEOC
charge, Plaintiff stated that he experienced pain in his shoulder while at work on
Wednesday, June 25, 2016, and he told his supervisor and the safety director about
it. (Doc. 29-3, p. 38). The pain was in the same shoulder Plaintiff previously had
surgery on in 2011. (Doc. 29-3, p. 38). The EEOC charge then details the incident
between Plaintiff and the other employee that occurred the next day, on June 26,
2016, and describes how he was terminated for not signing a document that was
created by the company and that warns Plaintiff to go to counseling. (Doc. 29-3, p.
In support of its motion for summary judgment, Defendant submitted
The Court presumes that “John Dow” is actually John Daw, the Vice President of
Manufacturing at Quincy Compressor. See (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 11)
portions of Plaintiff’s deposition testimony and the declaration of Elizabeth Byrd,
the Materials Manager for Quincy Compressor at its facility in Bay Minette,
Alabama. (Docs. 29-1, 29-2, 29-3, 29-4). Plaintiff submitted no deposition or
affidavit evidence, but provided copies of correspondence and court notices
regarding the scheduling of Plaintiff’s deposition, correspondence with Liberty
Mutual, and medical records dating from July 2011 – March 2012 and February
2015 – August 2015. As will be discussed further below, the information contained
in the documents submitted by Plaintiff is irrelevant to the merits of Plaintiff’s ADA
claim for discriminatory discharge on June 27, 2014. Thus, the following facts were
supplied entirely from the evidence submitted by Defendant.2
Plaintiff began working for the Defendant Company, Quincy Compressor in
2005. (Doc. 29-1, pp. 9-10). On numerous occasions during his employment there,
Plaintiff asked to be moved from one position to another because of conflicts with co“In opposing a motion for summary judgment, a ‘party may not rely on his
pleadings to avoid judgment against him.’” Resolution Trust Corp. v. Dunmar Corp.,
43 F.3d 587, 592 (11th Cir. 1995), cert. denied sub nom., Jones v. Resolution Trust
Corp., 516 U.S. 817 (1995)(citing Ryan v. Int’l Union of Operating Eng’rs., Local
675, 794 F.2d 641, 643 (11th Cir. 1986)). Moreover, “ [t]here is no burden upon the
district court to distill every potential argument that could be made based upon the
materials before it on summary judgment. Rather, the onus is upon the parties to
formulate arguments; grounds alleged in the complaint [or answer] but not relied
upon in summary judgment are deemed abandoned.” Id. at 599 (citations omitted).
While the court must interpret all questions of fact in the plaintiff’s favor at the
summary judgment phase of litigation, there must be alleged facts and evidence on
the table in order for the court to interpret them to plaintiff’s benefit. Clark v.
Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991) (The non-movant must
“demonstrate that there is indeed a material issue of fact that precludes summary
judgment.”); Vega v. Invsco Group, Ltd., 2011 WL 2533755 at *2 (The non-moving
party “may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading; rather, its
response .... must be by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule be set out
specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.”).
workers and he continued to have problems working with others. (Doc. 29-1, pp. 2425, 33-35; Doc. 29-2, pp. 3-4; Doc. 29-4, ¶ 3). Performance reviews in 2007 and 2013
noted Plaintiff’s inability to cooperate or work with others and in July of 2013,
Plaintiff was verbally counseled for arguing with a coworker and Team Leader.
(Doc. 29-4, ¶ 4). Plaintiff acknowledges there were many disputes but denies any
wrongdoing. (Doc. 29-1, p. 39; Doc. 29-2, pp. 16-20, 35, 37-39). Plaintiff’s co-workers
claimed that Plaintiff was the problem. (Doc. 29-2, p. 18).
Plaintiff suffered an injury to his right shoulder in 2011 and had surgery on
the shoulder in 2011. (Doc. 29-1; Doc. 29-3, p. 28). After the surgery, on September
29, 2011, Plaintiff’s doctor released him to light duty, restricting Plaintiff from
lifting more than 15 pounds and from overhead lifting. (Doc. 29-1, p. 54, Doc. 29-3,
p. 29). On January 12, 2012, Plaintiff was released to full duty by his physician on
a trial basis. (Doc. 29-3, pp. 30-31). At Plaintiff’s follow up visit on February 9,
2012, the doctor noted Plaintiff was doing well, his pain was controlled, his wound
was benign, his range of motion was full, his strength was normal, and that he had
tolerated his return to duty. (Doc. 29-3, p. 32). Plaintiff’s physician sent a work
status report stating that Plaintiff was released to full duty. (Doc. 29-1, p. 78; Doc.
29-3, p. 33). Plaintiff never presented any medical restrictions for his shoulder after
February 2012 and according to supervisor Byrd, Plaintiff was assumed to be fully
capable to perform all duties. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 14).
In June 2014, Plaintiff was working as a Wirer with another employee,
Robert Lee Jones. (Doc. 29-2, pp. 25-27). Jones was a better Wirer because he had
been doing it longer and had trained Plaintiff. (Doc. 29-2, pp. 36, 40). Plaintiff
deferred to Jones to determine the best approach to wire the compressor units. (Doc.
29-2, p. 36).
On June 25, 2014, Plaintiff told his supervisor, Ron House, that he needed
help lifting some heavy objects because he had some pain in his shoulder. (Doc. 292, p. 47). Plaintiff did not ask for any medical attention, but Mr. House notified
Safety Director Cyndi Dees about the incident. (Doc. 29-2, p. 47, Doc. 29-4, ¶ 130).
Plaintiff did not go to a physician and did not provide any documentation of any
work restrictions he had at the time. (Doc 29-2, p. 51, 54; Doc. 29-4, ¶ 13). On the
morning of November 27, 2014, Safety Director Dees, Elizabeth Byrd and Ron
House had a follow up meeting with Plaintiff. (Doc. 29-4, ¶13). During the meeting
Plaintiff stated that he believed he had medical restrictions in place from his
surgery in 2011 and he asked to see his doctor’s records about the lifting restrictions
on his arm. (Doc. 29-2, pp. 55-56, 59; Doc. 29-4, ¶ 13). They told Plaintiff that he
had been released to full duty and that if he felt that had changed he should see a
physician. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 13). Plaintiff said he did not need to see a physician and
that he was fit for duty. (Doc. 29-2, pp. 50-51, 58; Doc. 29-4, ¶ 13).
The next day, on June 26, 2014, Plaintiff was involved in a conflict with
Robert Lee Jones. (Doc. 29-2, pp. 46-47). Elizabeth Byrd heard Plaintiff and Jones
engaged in a heated discussion and saw Jones leave the area. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 7). Byrd
spoke to Jones about the incident. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 8). Jones reported that Plaintiff had
unilaterally decided that he would do one task on each of three units and leave the
other tasks to be completed by Jones rather than both men working together on the
same unit until it was completed, as was standard practice. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 8). Byrd
spoke to Plaintiff about the incident and Plaintiff informed Byrd that he did not
want to do wiring anymore. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 9). Byrd decided to give Plaintiff a written
Employee Counseling Record to counsel him on the behavior that he needed to
improve. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 10). Byrd did not feel an Employee Counseling Record was
necessary for Robert Lee Jones because Jones did not have a history of difficulties
with co-workers and Jones had been trying to work in the normal teamwork method
that the company encourages. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 10).
The following day, Plaintiff again met with Byrd, along with the Vice
President of Human Resources, Emily Jones, and the Vice President of
Manufacturing, John Daw. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 11). Plaintiff was verbally counseled about
concerns over his lack of teamwork, communication, and cooperation in working
with others. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 11). Plaintiff was presented with the Employee
Counseling Record, but he refused to read, sign, or add any written comments to the
document. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 11). Ms. Byrd and Mr. Daw explained to Plaintiff that
participation in the counseling session and signing the form acknowledging his
understanding of the expectation that he work well with others was required for his
continued employment. (Doc 29-4, ¶ 12). Plaintiff still refused to cooperate or to
sign the document. (Doc. 29-4, ¶ 12). Mr. Daw advised Plaintiff that if he continued
to refuse he would not be allowed to continue working at the facility and that they
would view his refusal as Plaintiff’s decision to resign. (Doc. 29-3, p. 5; Doc. 29-4, ¶
12). Plaintiff refused to sign the document and was asked to leave the premises.
(Doc. 29-3, pp. 6-7).
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment shall
be granted: “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” The trial court’s
function is not “to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to
determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). “The mere existence of some evidence to support the
non-moving party is not sufficient for denial of summary judgment; there must be
‘sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for
that party.’” Bailey v. Allgas, Inc., 284 F.3d 1237, 1243 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249). "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not
significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Anderson, at 249-250.
(internal citations omitted).
The basic issue before the court on a motion for summary judgment is
“whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a
jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.”
See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-252. The moving party bears the burden of proving
that no genuine issue of material fact exists. O'Ferrell v. United States, 253 F.3d
1257, 1265 (11th Cir. 2001). In evaluating the argument of the moving party, the
court must view all evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party,
and resolve all reasonable doubts about the facts in its favor. Burton v. City of Belle
Glade, 178 F.3d 1175, 1187 (11th Cir. 1999). “If reasonable minds could differ on
the inferences arising from undisputed facts, then a court should deny summary
judgment.” Miranda v. B&B Cash Grocery Store, Inc., 975 F.2d 1518, 1534 (11th
Cir. 1992) (citing Mercantile Bank & Trust v. Fidelity & Deposit Co., 750 F.2d 838,
841 (11th Cir. 1985)).
Once the movant satisfies his initial burden under Rule 56(c), the non-moving
party "must make a sufficient showing to establish the existence of each essential
element to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial." Howard v. BP Oil Company, 32 F.3d 520, 524 (11th Cir. 1994)(citing
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). Otherwise stated, the nonmovant must “demonstrate that there is indeed a material issue of fact that
precludes summary judgment.” See Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608
(11th Cir. 1991). The non-moving party “may not rely merely on allegations or
denials in its own pleading; rather, its response .... must be by affidavits or as
otherwise provided in this rule be set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for
trial.” Vega v. Invsco Group, Ltd., 2011 WL 2533755, *2 (11th Cir. 2011). “A mere
‘scintilla’ of evidence supporting the [non-moving] party’s position will not suffice;
there must be enough of a showing that the jury could reasonably find for that
party.” Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1577 (11th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted).
“[T]he nonmoving party may avail itself of all facts and justifiable inferences in the
record taken as a whole.” Tipton v. Bergrohr GMBH-Siegen, 965 F.2d 994, 998 (11th
Cir. 1992). “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact
to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 at 587 (1986) (internal
quotation and citation omitted).
B. Plaintiff’s Claims
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and this Court will attempt to give his pleadings
a very lenient reading.
Courts do and should show a leniency to pro se litigants not enjoyed by
those with the benefit of a legal education. See, e.g., Powell v. Lennon,
914 F.2d 1459, 1463 (11th Cir.1990). Yet even in the case of pro se
litigants this leniency does not give a court license to serve as de facto
counsel for a party, see Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th
Cir.1991), or to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to
sustain an action, see Pontier v. City of Clearwater, 881 F.Supp. 1565,
GJR Investments Inc. v. County of Escambia, Fla., 132 F.3d 1359, 1369 (11th Cir.
1998). Plaintiff “is subject to the relevant law and rules of court, including the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” the same as any other litigant. Moon v.
Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989).
Reading Plaintiff’s pro se Complaint and his EEOC charge together, Plaintiff
appears to assert an ADA claim that he was discriminated against on the basis of
his injured shoulder when he was terminated in June 2014. Plaintiff’s Complaint
also asserts that Plaintiff needs surgery and that the company failed to help
Plaintiff get further medical treatment. In his Complaint and motions for summary
judgment, Plaintiff references issues concerning insurance coverage from Liberty
Mutual Insurance Company for surgery he reports he currently needs on his
shoulder. However, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company is not a party to this action
and it is unclear how the issues relate to Plaintiff’s ADA claim against Quincy
Compressor. If Plaintiff is attempting to assert an additional claim, separate from
his ADA claim, that claim is barred unless it was asserted or arose out of the
allegations in his EEOC charge. “A plaintiff’s judicial complaint is limited by the
scope of the EEOC investigation which can reasonably be expected to grow out of
the charge of discrimination.” Mulhall v. Advance Sec. Inc., 19 F.3d 586, 589 n. 8
(11th Cir. 1994). “In other words, judicial claims are allowed if they amplify, clarify
or more clearly focus the allegations in the EEOC complaint, while allegations of
new acts of discrimination are inappropriate.” Russell v. City of Mobile, 2013 WL
1567372, *2 (S.D. Ala. April 12, 2013) (internal quotations omitted). “The purpose
of this exhaustion requirement is that the [EEOC] should have the first opportunity
to investigate the alleged discriminatory practices to permit it to perform its role in
obtaining voluntary compliance and promoting conciliation efforts.” Gregory v. Ga.
Dept. of Human Res., 355 F.3d 1277, 1279 (11th Cir. 2004) (citations and internal
quotations omitted). Plaintiff’s insurance coverage issues are not based on the same
allegations as his ADA claim and Plaintiff has not demonstrated or attempted to
explained how his insurance claims could have grown out of his claim for
discriminatory discharge. Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiff has asserted
only an ADA claim for discriminatory discharge.
C. Discriminatory Discharge
The Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a) prohibits
discrimination “against a qualified individual on the basis of disability…” 42 U.S.C.
§ 12112(a). The Eleventh Circuit has explained that to establish a prima facie case
of disability discrimination under the ADA, a plaintiff must show that (1) he has a
disability; (2) he is qualified to perform the job; and (3) he was discriminated
against because of his disability.3 Cleveland v. Home Shopping Network, Inc., 369
F.3d 1189, 1193 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing Williams v. Motorola, Inc., 303 F.3d 1284,
1290 (11th Cir. 2002); Gordon v. E.L. Hamm & Assoc., Inc., 100 F.3d 907, 910 (11th
Cir. 1996)). If Plaintiff establishes a prima facie case, a presumption of
The Court has found that Plaintiff asserted only a claim of discriminatory
discharge. However, the Court notes that unlawful discrimination may also consist
of a failure to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disability if that
accommodation would enable the employee to perform an essential function of the
job. Lucas v. W.W. Grainger, Inc., 257 F.3d 1249 (11th Cir. 2001). Plaintiff has not
asserted that Defendant failed to provide a reasonable accommodation. If a
disabled employee requires an accommodation to perform the essential functions of
his job, he must make “a specific demand for an accommodation” and must prove
that the proposed accommodation is reasonable. See, e.g., Gaston v. Bellingrath
Gardens & Home, Inc., 167 F.3d 1361, 1363–64 (11th Cir. 1999). Plaintiff reportedly
asked for help lifting a heavy object because of pain in his shoulder. However, if
Plaintiff had asserted a failure to accommodate claim based on that event, it would
not survive summary judgment. There is no evidence that Defendant refused to
provide help or required Plaintiff to lift the heavy object and there is no evidence
that Plaintiff asked to be moved to a position that would not involve heavy lifting or
that he requested any other accommodation. Plaintiff told management he was fit
for duty and did not request an accommodation of any kind.
discrimination arises and the burden shifts to Defendant to proffer a legitimate,
non-discriminatory reason for the employment action. Id. (citation omitted). The
defendant “simply has a burden of production” and does not need to persuade the
Court that it was motivated by the reason. Id. (citation omitted). If Defendant
meets its burden, then Plaintiff has the ultimate burden of proving that Defendant
intentionally discriminated against him because of his disability and that the
proffered reason was a pretext for discrimination. Id. (citation omitted).
Defendant asserts that Plaintiff has not established a prima facie case
because he has not shown that he had a disability or that he was discriminated
against because of a disability. Under the ADA, the term “disability” means:
a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or
more major life activities of such individual;
a record of such an impairment; or
being regarded as having such an impairment ….
42 U.S.C. § 12102(1).
Plaintiff appears to assert that he is disabled because of his shoulder.
However, the evidence demonstrates that at the time of his discharge, Plaintiff’s
shoulder did not limit his ability to do his job. Plaintiff had been released to full
duty on a trial basis beginning in January 2012. Plaintiff’s doctor noted on
Plaintiff’s follow up visit in February 2012, that Plaintiff was doing well, his pain
was controlled, his wound was benign, his range of motion was full, his strength
was normal, and that he had tolerated his return to duty. Plaintiff’s physician then
released Plaintiff to full duty. There is no record of Plaintiff having any impairment
after February 2012 and no evidence that Plaintiff’s supervisors or other personnel
at Quincy Compressor regarded Plaintiff as having an impairment after February
2012. Plaintiff never presented any medical restrictions for his shoulder after
February 2012 and according to supervisor Byrd, Plaintiff was assumed to be fully
capable to perform all duties.
Plaintiff suggests that the Defendant Company knows about Plaintiff’s
condition by pointing to medical records and insurance correspondence or records of
which he contends Quincy Compressor should be aware. However, the records and
documents Plaintiff references appear to be of Plaintiff’s condition prior to February
2012 and/or after his discharge. Plaintiff’s condition prior to February 2012 or after
his discharge is not relevant to Plaintiff’s claim for discriminatory discharge. For
Plaintiff’s discharge to be “because of his disability,” the Plaintiff must have been
disabled or perceived as disabled at the time of his discharge. See Cash v. Smith,
231 F.3d 1301, 1306 n. 5 (11th Cir. 2000) (holding that subsequent change in
plaintiff's medical condition was “irrelevant” to her ADA claim because courts
“evaluate her disability as manifested at [the time of the alleged adverse
Plaintiff complained of shoulder or arm pain on June 25, 2014, two days
before he was discharged. However, Plaintiff did not ask for any medical attention,
he did not go to a physician and did not present any documentation of any work
restrictions he had at the time. Plaintiff was advised that if he felt he should have
restrictions he should see a physician, but Plaintiff stated that he did not need to
see a physician and that he was fit for duty.
There is no evidence that Plaintiff was disabled or regarded as disabled at
the time of his discharge and there is no evidence that Plaintiff’s discharge was
because of a disability. Accordingly, Plaintiff has not established a prima facie case
of discriminatory discharge.
Even if Plaintiff could establish a prima facie case, Defendant has proffered a
non-discriminatory reason for the employment decision and Plaintiff has not shown
that the proffered reason was merely pretext. “At the pretext stage, in order to
survive summary judgment, plaintiff must provide sufficient evidence to allow a
reasonable fact finder to conclude, at a minimum, that the proffered reasons were
not actually the motivation for the employer’s decision.” Miller v. Bed, Bath &
Beyond, Inc., 185 F.Supp.2d 1253, 1270 (N.D. Ala. 2002) (citing Combs, 106 F.3d at
1538). Plaintiff may do this “(1) by showing that the employer’s legitimate
nondiscriminatory reasons should not be believed; or (2) by showing that, in light of
all of the evidence, a discriminatory reason more likely motivated the decision.” Id.
(citations omitted). “This is done by pointing to ‘such weaknesses, implausibilities,
inconsistencies, incoherences, or contradictions in the employer’s proffered
legitimate reasons . . . that a reasonable factfinder could find them unworthy of
credence.’” Hamilton, 122 F. Supp.2d at 1281 (quoting Combs, 106 F.3d at 1539).
The ultimate burden of persuasion remains with the plaintiff at all times in cases
involving merely circumstantial evidence. Texas Dept. of Community Affairs v.
Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 253 (1981).
In satisfying the ultimate burden of proving that the adverse employment
action was on account of discrimination, a plaintiff need not establish that
discrimination was the sole reason for the action, but that it was a determinative
factor in the employer’s decision. See Anderson v. Savage Laboratories, Inc., 675
F.2d 1221, 1224 (11th Cir. 1982) (citing Haring v. CPC International, Inc., 664 F.2d
1234, 1239-40 (5th Cir. 1981)). However, it should be noted that federal courts “do
not sit as a super-personnel department that reexamines an entity’s business
decisions.” Chapman, 229 F.3d at 1030 (quoting Elrod v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 939
F.2d 1466, 1470 (11th Cir. 1991)). It is not appropriate for either the plaintiff or this
Court to “recast an employer’s proffered non-discriminatory reasons or substitute
his business judgment for that of the employer.” Chapman, 229 F.3d at 1030.
In the instant case, Quincy Compressor contends that it terminated Plaintiff
because he refused to participate in the counseling session or sign an Employee
Counseling Record acknowledging that he understood that he was expected to work
well with others. Plaintiff was advised that he must sign the form if he wanted to
continue working there, but he refused. Plaintiff’s own testimony, as well as the
allegations of his Complaint, asserts that he was told that if he did not sign the
document he would be considered to have quit his job. Plaintiff admits that he
refused to sign the document and he was thereupon escorted off the premises.
Plaintiff may dispute whether the counseling session or an Employee
Counseling Record was warranted. However, it is undisputed that Plaintiff had a
history of conflicts with his co-workers and there is no evidence that other
employees were treated differently under similar circumstances. The employee
Plaintiff had a conflict with on June 26, 2014, did not receive an Employee
Counseling Record, but that employee did not have a history of difficulties with coworkers. Even if the Court believed Quincy Compressor was wrong to conclude that
Plaintiff deserved counseling or a written Employee Counseling Record,4 as stated
above, the Court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the Defendant. An
“employer may fire an employee for a good reason, a bad reason, a reason based on
erroneous facts, or for no reason at all, as long as its action is not for a
discriminatory reason.” Nix v. WLCY Radio/Rahall Communication, 738 F.2d 1181,
1187 (11th Cir. 1984).
This Court finds no evidence that Quincy Compressor used poor judgment.
For the reasons stated above, Defendant’s motion for summary judgment
(Doc. 27) is GRANTED. Plaintiff’s motions for summary judgment (Doc. 31 & Doc.
38) are DENIED.
DONE and ORDERED this 14th day of September, 2016.
/s/ Callie V. S. Granade
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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