WILLIAMS v. WALMART ASSOCIATES INC
ORDER granting 13 Motion for Summary Judgment. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE HUGH LAWSON on 7/15/2021. (aks)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
Civil Action No. 7:19-CV-208 (HL)
WAL-MART ASSOCIATES, INC.,
Plaintiff Jeffery Williams brings this action against his former employer,
Defendant Wal-Mart Associates, Inc., alleging that Defendant discriminated
against him based on his association with his disabled father in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq.; 1
and interfered with his rights and retaliated against him in violation of the Family
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. Now before the Court is
Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 13). After carefully reviewing
the applicable law and the pleadings, briefs, and other evidentiary materials
presented, the Court finds no genuine issues of material fact exist as to any claim
and GRANTS Defendant’s Motion (Doc. 13).
Plaintiff has abandoned his ADA retaliation claim. (Doc. 15, p. 1 n.1).
Defendant Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. hired Plaintiff Jeffery Williams on
November 1, 2016 as a Cap 2 associate at Wal-Mart Store No. 2615 in Valdosta,
Georgia. (DSOMF ¶ 1). 2 Cap 2 associates are responsible for unloading freight
on both the grocery and general merchandise sides of the store and assist with
stocking freight and groceries throughout the store’s departments. (Id.).
Beginning in 2018, Plaintiff additionally was responsible for breaking down and
sorting break pack boxes, which contain an assortment of smaller items that
must be organized into bins and boxes for stocking on the appropriate aisles. (Id.
at ¶ 2). During his entire term of employment with Defendant, Plaintiff worked the
second shift, from 2:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. (Id. at ¶ 3).
Plaintiff’s direct supervisor was Cap 2 supervisor Kelley Cornwell. (Id. at ¶
4). Cornwell reported to one of several Assistant Managers, including Roberto
Montiel-Sierra and Jennifer Tooley. (Id. at ¶ 5). The Assistant Managers reported
to a Co-Manager. (Id. at ¶ 6). The General Merchandise Co-Manager was
Christine Guerrero. (Id.).
Throughout Plaintiff’s employment, Defendant followed a progressive
discipline policy known as the Disciplinary Action Policy. (Id. at ¶ 7). Under the
“DSOMF” refers to Defendant’s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts. (Doc.
13-2). The cited paragraphs are those admitted by Plaintiff.
policy, after an initial verbal warning any future disciplinary infraction could fall
into one of three categories:
Disciplinary Action 1 – Yellow: a first written warning issued after “a verbal
conversation . . . about a specific performance and/or conduct issue[ ] and steps
have not been taken to remedy it” or where a manager “has determined that
circumstances . . . warrant this level of accountability.” (Tooley Decl., Ex. 1, p. 2).
Disciplinary Action 2 – Orange: a second written warning issued after
receipt of a yellow level warning or where the “manager has determined the
circumstances with the job performance or conduct warrant a higher level of
Disciplinary Action 3 – Red: a third written warning issued after receipt of a
yellow level warning or where the “manager has determined that the
circumstances of the job performance or conduct warrants a higher level of
Any additional performance issues following disciplinary action at the red
level may result in termination. (Id. at p. 3). The policy gives discretion to the
manager to move to the next progressive step or to determine which level of
disciplinary action is appropriate based on the severity of the conduct. (Id.).
Some infractions can result in immediate termination. (Id.; Guerrero Dep., p. 18).
Plaintiff consistently struggled to meet his employer’s productivity
requirements. (Tooley Decl., ¶ 4). Assistant Manager Tooley stated that while
Plaintiff was under her supervision, he “often did not complete his assigned tasks
before leaving to go home, despite having plenty of time to do so, and he
frequently left his assigned work area to go to other areas of the store.” (Id.).
Plaintiff’s direct supervisor Kelley Cornwell also complained to Tooley about
Plaintiff’s poor productivity. (Id.). When Tooley attempted to discuss these issues
with Plaintiff informally, he became argumentative. (Id.). Plaintiff testified that his
relationship with Tooley was “strained.” (Pl. Dep., p. 21). Plaintiff felt that Tooley
nitpicked him and that he could not “get away with anything when it came to her.”
(Id. at p. 22, 23). He believed he was “put in a position to fail.” (Id. at p. 29).
Plaintiff received a written disciplinary action at the yellow level from
Assistant Manager Roberto Montiel-Sierra on July 12, 2017 for a productivity
issue. (DSOMF ¶ 8). The previous day, Plaintiff was assigned to unload two
trucks. (Id.). The task should have been accomplished within four hours. (Id.).
Plaintiff began unloading the truck around 2:49 p.m. (Pl. Dep., Ex. 3). However,
by the end of Plaintiff’s shift at 11:00 p.m., the job remained incomplete. (Id.).
On June 6, 2018, Jennifer Tooley issued Plaintiff a second written
disciplinary action at the orange level for poor productivity. (DSOMF ¶ 9). That
day, Cap 2 supervisor Kelley Cornwell directed Plaintiff to help in the chemical
department after he finished his work in the grocery department. (Pl. Dep., Ex. 2).
Cornwell and Tooley instructed Plaintiff and a team of other employees that
freight had to be unloaded in the chemical department before going home. (Id.).
Plaintiff left before finishing the job. (Id.). Plaintiff disputes Tooley’s account of the
events. (Pl. Dep., p. 25-26). Plaintiff testified that Tooley required the entire Cap
2 shift to stay past their scheduled time to complete the assignment. (Id. at p.
25). Plaintiff worked until 11:15 p.m. then left. (Id.). According to Plaintiff, he was
the only team member disciplined even though he was not the only one who left
before finishing the task. (Id.).
Tooley issued Plaintiff a third disciplinary action at the red level for poor
productivity on August 27, 2018. (Pl. Dep., Ex. 4). According to the disciplinary
report, Plaintiff was instructed after the 2:00 p.m. Cap 2 associate’s meeting to
break down the remix truck then report to the baker aisle. (Id.). At 7:15 p.m.,
Tooley rounded through the store to verify that the Cap 2 associates were in their
assigned areas. Tooley noted that Plaintiff was not in his assigned area and that
he had not finished breaking down the remix truck. (Id.). At 8:20 p.m., Tooley
walked through again and still did not see Plaintiff. Tooley did not locate Plaintiff
until 8:45 p.m. (Id.).
Tooley requested that Plaintiff meet with her in the personnel department.
(Id.). Once in the office, Tooley addressed her concern that Plaintiff had not
finished unloading the truck and that Plaintiff had returned late from his lunch
break. (Id.). Plaintiff became argumentative. (Id.). Later in the evening, Tooley
discovered Plaintiff talking to other employees rather than working. (Id.). Plaintiff
left that night without completing any of his assigned tasks. (Id.). Tooley made
the decision to progress to the next level of discipline because, despite previous
warnings about his productivity, Plaintiff failed to correct his behavior. (Id.). The
disciplinary report warned Plaintiff that if this behavior continued the next level of
action would be termination. (Id.). Plaintiff refused to acknowledge the
disciplinary action. (Id.). He only recalls discussing the timing of his lunch break
with Tooley; he does not remember her mentioning anything about unfinished
assignments. (Pl. Dep., p. 30-31).
On July 5, 2018, Plaintiff applied for intermittent leave under the Family
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). (DSOMF ¶ 13). Plaintiff’s father was diagnosed with
recurring pancreatic cancer in April 2018. (Id. at ¶ 11). Plaintiff requested leave to
assist his mother with his father’s care. (Id. at ¶ 12; Pl. Dep., p. 37). Plaintiff’s
application for intermittent FMLA leave was approved effective July 6, 2018
through July 5, 2019. (DSOMF ¶ 14). For absences related to his father’s
condition Plaintiff was permitted two episodes per month, with each episode
lasting up to four days. (Id. at ¶ 15). He was permitted two episodes per month,
with each episode lasting up to three days, for absences related to his father’s
treatment. (Id.). Records indicate that Plaintiff formally reported an eight-hour
absence on one occasion. (Id. at ¶ 18). However, Assistant Managers Kelly
Sims, Roberto Montiel-Sierra, and Jennifer Tooley were aware of Plaintiff’s
father’s diagnosis and informally granted Plaintiff leave to help his father without
requiring him to go through the formal reporting process. (Id. at ¶ 20).
Defendant terminated Plaintiff’s employment on June 3, 2019 after he
again did not complete a job assignment timely. (DSOMF ¶¶ 21, 25). On May 30,
2019, Plaintiff arrived at work at 2:07 p.m. for his 2:00 p.m. shift. Cap 2
supervisor Kelley Cornwell assigned Plaintiff the task of breaking down and
sorting the break pack boxes in the back of the store. (Id. at ¶ 22). Plaintiff
testified that there was a small truck that day and that there were not many break
packs. (Pl. Dep., p. 51).
Sometime after 5:00 p.m., Plaintiff received a telephone call from his
mother requesting that Plaintiff drive his father to the emergency room. (DSOMF
¶ 23). Plaintiff informed Cornwell of the situation, who then alerted Co-Manager
Christine Guerrero. (Id.). Guerrero authorized Plaintiff to leave but told him to
return to his next regular shift with a doctor’s note. (Id.). Plaintiff clocked out at
5:28 p.m. (Id. at ¶ 25).
After Plaintiff left, Cornwell “realized the job that [Plaintiff] had done before
that was nowhere near where it was supposed to be.” (Cornwell Dep., p. 6).
Cornwell reported the problem to Assistant Manager Kelly Sims. (Sims Dep., p.
6; Sims Decl., ¶ 3). Sims confirmed that Plaintiff completed almost none of his
assignment and concluded that he had ample time to finish the task in the three
and a half hours he worked. (Sims Decl. ¶¶ 3-4). Accordingly, Sims decided to
issue Plaintiff a written disciplinary action. (Id. at ¶ 4). After checking the
computer system, however, Sims discovered that Plaintiff was already at the
“red” disciplinary level and that the next step was termination. (Id.). Because
Plaintiff completed almost none of his work for the day, Sims determined that
termination was appropriate. (Id.).
Plaintiff returned to work on June 3, 2019. (Pl. Dep., p. 51). Sims met with
Plaintiff that day to conduct an exit interview. (DSOMF ¶ 28). Sims advised
Plaintiff he was being terminated for insubordination because he did not
complete his assigned task of breaking down and sorting the break packs before
leaving the store. (Id.).
Plaintiff filed a charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on August 19, 2019. (Pl. Dep., Ex. 8). Plaintiff
alleged in his charge that Defendant discriminated against him in violation of the
ADA and FMLA when Defendant terminated him for leaving work to assist his
terminally ill father with an emergency. (Id.). The EEOC issued a Dismissal and
Notice of Rights on September 20, 2019. (Pl. Dep., Ex. 9B). This lawsuit
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
A court “shall grant summary judgment 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.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986).
Not all factual disputes render summary judgment
inappropriate; only a genuine issue of material fact will defeat a properly
supported motion for summary judgment. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). “If the record presents factual issues, the court
must not decide them; it must deny the motion and proceed to trial.” Herzog v.
Castle Rock Entm’t, 193 F.3d 1241, 1246 (11th Cir. 1999). But, when “the record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving
party,” summary judgment for the moving party is proper. Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the “court must draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make
credibility determinations or weigh the evidence.” Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
133, 150 (2000)
determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate
inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.” Id. (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). The party seeking summary judgment
“always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if
any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of a material
fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 (internal quotation omitted). If the movant meets
this burden, the burden shifts to the party opposing summary judgment to go
beyond the pleadings and to present specific evidence showing that there is a
genuine issue of material fact, or that the movant is not entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Id. at 324-26. Summary judgment must be entered where “the
nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element
of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof.” Id. at 323.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated against him based on his
association with his terminally ill father. The ADA protects a “qualified individual”
from discrimination on the basis of disability in the “terms, conditions, and
privileges of employment.” 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). The ADA defines the term
“discriminate” to include “excluding or otherwise denying equal jobs or benefits to
a qualified individual because of the known disability of an individual with whom
the qualified individual is known to have a relationship or association.” Id.
§ 12112(b)(4). ADA association discrimination claims based on circumstantial
rather than direct evidence are analyzed using the familiar burden-shifting
framework established in McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792
(1973). See Cleveland v. Home Shopping Network, Inc., 369 F.3d 1189, 1193
(11th Cir. 2004).
To establish a prima facie case of association discrimination under the
ADA, the plaintiff must show “(1) that [he] was subjected to an adverse
employment action; (2) that [he] was qualified for the job at that time; (3) that [his]
employer knew at that time that [he] had a relative with a disability; and (4) that
the adverse employment action occurred under circumstances which raised a
reasonable inference that the disability of the relative was a determining factor in
the employer’s decision.” Wascura v. City of S. Miami, 257 F.3d 1238, 1242 (11th
Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted). If the plaintiff establishes a prima
facie case of discrimination, and the defendant articulates a legitimate,
nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action, then the burden
shifts back to the plaintiff to demonstrate that the alleged nondiscriminatory
reason is a pretext for discrimination. Id. (citing Chapman v. AI Transp., 229 F.3d
1012, 1024 (11th Cir. 2000)).
For the purposes of this motion, Defendant concedes that Plaintiff can
establish the first and third factors. (Doc. 13-1, p. 6). However, Defendant
contests that Plaintiff was qualified for his position at the time of his termination.
Defendant also argues that Plaintiff failed to produce evidence sufficient to create
a genuine issue of material fact that his father’s illness was a determining factor
in Defendant’s decision to terminate Plaintiff.
Under the ADA, an individual is “qualified” if he, “with or without reasonable
accommodation, can perform the essential functions and job requirements of the
position the individual holds.” Earl v. Mervyns, Inc., 207 F.3d 1361, 1365 (11th
Cir. 2000) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 12111(8)). Defendant argues that Plaintiff was not
qualified as a Cap 2 associate based on Plaintiff’s documented history of leaving
the job without completing his assignments. In Hilburn v. Murata Elec. N. Am.,
Inc., the Eleventh Circuit held that an employee is not “qualified” for a position if
he fails to meet the employer’s neutral attendance policy, even if the absence is
to care for a disabled parent. 181 F.3d 1220, 1231 (11th Cir. 1999) (citing Tyndall
v. Nat’l Educ. Ctrs., Inc., 31 F.3d 209, 214 (4th Cir. 1994) (“[A]n employer [does
not] violate[ ] the ADA by discharging an employee who was frequently absent
from work due to her disability and that of a family member.”)). Here, however,
the evidence demonstrates that Plaintiff struggled with—and was terminated
for—a lack productivity not attendance. Defendant has not otherwise shown that
Plaintiff could not fulfill his job duties on the days he had to leave early to care for
his father only that he did not. The Court therefore concludes that the facts
viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff reveal that Plaintiff was qualified to
perform the essential functions of his position.
Plaintiff ultimately fails to establish a prima facie case for association
discrimination because he has not demonstrated that his father’s medical
condition was a determining factor in Defendant’s decision to terminate him. The
undisputed evidence is that Plaintiff’s direct supervisors were aware of his
father’s medical condition and sympathetic to Plaintiff’s need to assist with his
care. (DSOMF ¶ 20; Tooly Dep., p. 19). His supervisors regularly permitted him
to leave his shift early or to take time off from work to attend to his father. (Id.).
Even on May 30, 2019, the last shift Plaintiff worked, Defendant did not hesitate
to grant Plaintiff permission to leave his shift to transport his father to the
emergency room. (DSOMF ¶ 23). After Plaintiff left, however, Kelley Cornwell
discovered that Plaintiff completed virtually none of his assigned task during the
three and a half hours was present that day. (Cornwell Dep., p. 6). Kelly Sims,
the Assistant Manager who made the final decision to terminate Plaintiff, attested
that while she knew Plaintiff left his shift early on May 30, she did not know the
purpose of Plaintiff’s early departure was to take his father to the hospital. (Sims
Decl., ¶ 3). She explained that she based her decision to terminate Plaintiff on
his failure to finish an assigned task that could have been completed prior to him
leaving that evening. Absent evidence of some discriminatory animus, Plaintiff
cannot satisfy the fourth factor of the prima facie case. See Cusick v.
Yellowbook, Inc., 607 F. App’x 953, 955 (11th Cir. 2015) (finding that the plaintiff
failed to establish a prima facie case of association discrimination because there
was no testimony suggesting that the employer “bore any discriminatory animus”
against the plaintiff or his ill child).
Even if Plaintiff could establish a prima facie case, he has failed to show
that Defendant’s legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating him was a
pretext for discrimination. Defendant provides that it terminated Plaintiff for
chronic lack of productivity. Prior to terminating Plaintiff, Defendant issued
Plaintiff three written disciplinary reports warning him that his continued failure to
complete assigned tasks could result in his termination. (DSOMF ¶¶ 8-9; Pl.
Dep., Ex. 4). Accordingly, to survive summary judgment, Plaintiff must present
sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact that Defendant’s
articulated reason was pretext. A plaintiff can show that an employer’s articulated
reason was false by pointing to “weaknesses, implausiblilities, inconsistencies,
incoherencies, or contradictions” in Defendant’s explanation. Combs v. Plantation
Patterns, 106 F.3d 1519, 1528 (11th Cir. 1997). But “[c]onclusory allegations of
discrimination, without more, are not sufficient to raise an inference of pretext or
intentional discrimination where [an employer] has offered . . . extensive
evidence of legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for its actions.” Mayfield v.
Patterson Pump Co., 101 F.3d 1371, 1376 (11th Cir. 1996) (quotations and
citation omitted). Plaintiff “must meet that reason head on and rebut it, and [he]
cannot succeed by simply quarreling with the wisdom of that reason.” Chapman,
229 F.3d at 1030.
Plaintiff has not shown that Defendant’s articulated reason for terminating
him was false. Instead, Plaintiff questions Defendant’s judgment, arguing that
Defendant terminated him for not completing a task it was impossible for him to
finish because he had to leave early. The inquiry into pretext concerns the
employer’s beliefs, not the employee’s own perception of his performance.
Holifield v. Reno, 115 F.3d 1555, 1565 (11th Cir. 1997), abrogated on other
grounds by Lewis v. City of Union City, Ga., 918 F.3d 1213 (11th Cir. 2019). The
Court does not “sit as a super-personnel department that reexamines an entity’s
business decisions.” Alphin v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 940 F.2d 1497, 1501 (11th
Cir. 1991) (quotation omitted). “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.” Chapman, 229 F.3d at
1030. Thus, while Plaintiff may disagree with Defendant’s decision, such
disagreement, without more, does not create a genuine issue of material fact that
Defendant’s reason for terminating Plaintiff was motivated by discriminatory
animus based on Plaintiff’s association with his disabled father. Defendant
therefore is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s ADA association
The FMLA provides that an eligible employee is entitled to take up to
twelve workweeks of leave in a twelve-month period to care for a parent with a
serious health condition. 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1)(C). An employee may take this
leave on an intermittent basis, as Plaintiff did here, meaning “in separate blocks
of time due to a single qualifying reason.” 29 C.F.R. § 825.202. It is unlawful for
an employer to “interfere with, restrain, or deny” the exercise of a right under the
FMLA or to discharge or discriminate against an employee who opposes any
practice made unlawful under the Act. 29 U.S.C. §§ 2615(a)(1) and (2). An
employee may bring two types of claims under the FMLA: “interference claims, in
which an employee asserts that his employer denied or otherwise interfered with
his substantive rights under the Act; and retaliation claims, in which an employee
asserts that his employer discriminated against him because he engaged in an
activity protected by the Act.” Pereda v. Brookdale Senior Living Cmtys., Inc.,
666 F.3d 1269, 1271 (11th Cir. 2012). Plaintiff brings claims for both interference
The FMLA prohibits an employer from interfering with, restraining, or
denying the exercise of any right provided under the FMLA. 29 U.S.C.
§ 2615(a)(1). “A plaintiff claiming interference must demonstrate by a
preponderance of the evidence that [he] was denied a benefit to which [he] was
entitled.” Pereda, 666 F.3d at 1274 (internal quotation marks omitted). “[T]he
employer’s motives are irrelevant.” Strickland v. Water Works & Sewer Bd. of the
City of Birmingham, 239 F.3d 1199, 1208 (11th Cir. 2001). The employee need
only prove that he was entitled to a benefit and that the employer interfered with
There is no evidence here from which a reasonable jury could conclude
that Defendant interfered with Plaintiff’s FMLA rights. The undisputed evidence is
that Plaintiff applied for and was granted intermittent FMLA leave so that he
could help care for his father, who was undergoing treatment for pancreatic
cancer. (DSOMF ¶¶ 11-15). Plaintiff formally utilized the leave afforded him on at
least one occasion. (Id. at ¶ 18). Defendant additionally informally allowed
Plaintiff to take days off or to leave work early to care for his father. (Id. at ¶ 20).
And, on May 20, 2019, Plaintiff’s last date of employment, Defendant did not
interfere with Plaintiff’s request to leave his shift early to take his father to the
emergency room. (Id. at ¶ 23). “[A] plaintiff suffers no FMLA injury when [he]
receives all the leave [he] requests.” Graham v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co., 193
F.3d 1274, 1274 (11th Cir. 1999). Defendant, therefore, is entitled to summary
judgment on Plaintiff’s FMLA interference claim.
Plaintiff also argues that his termination constitutes FMLA retaliation. To
succeed on a claim of FMLA retaliation, an employee must demonstrate that his
employer intentionally discriminated against him for exercising his rights under
the FMLA. Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Del., LLC, 854 F.3d 1261, 1270
(11th Cir. 2017). In the absence of direct evidence of an employer’s intent, courts
evaluating FMLA retaliation claims employ the McDonnell-Douglas burdenshifting framework. See id. at 1271. To establish a prima facie case of retaliation
under that framework, the employee must establish that “(1) he engaged in a
statutorily protected activity; (2) he suffered an adverse employment decision;
and (3) the decision was causally related to the protected activity.” Walker v.
Elmore Cnty. Bd. of Educ., 379 F.3d 1249, 1252 (11th Cir. 2004). Once an
employee makes out a prima facie case of retaliation, the burden shifts to the
employer to articulate a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the discharge. Id. If
the employer meets this burden, the burden then shifts back to the employee to
demonstrate that the proffered reason is pretext for discrimination. Id.
Here, even assuming that Plaintiff could establish a prima facie case for
FMLA retaliation, no reasonable factfinder could find that Defendant’s legitimate,
non-retaliatory reason for terminating Plaintiff is merely pretext for discrimination.
As discussed above, the evidence shows that Defendant terminated Plaintiff for
repeatedly failing to complete his work assignments and not, as Plaintiff
suggests, because Defendant was “tired of Plaintiff taking time off to care for his
invalid father.” (Doc. 15, p. 11). No mention was made of Plaintiff’s early
departure on May 30, 2019, during his June 3, 2019 exit interview. (DSOMF ¶
28). Rather, the focus was on Plaintiff’s insubordination for failing to finish any
portion of his work assignment during the time he worked that day. (Id.). Plaintiff
has otherwise failed to point to any evidence from which a jury could conclude
that his lack of productivity was not the legitimate basis for his termination.
Accordingly, Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s FMLA
For the reasons discussed herein, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion
for Summary Judgment (Doc. 13).
SO ORDERED, this the 15th day of July, 2021.
s/ Hugh Lawson________________
HUGH LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE
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