Jackson v. Chrysler Group, LLC
OPINION AND ORDER granting 24 Motion for Summary Judgment; denying 30 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. (WBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 14-12112
Hon. John Corbett O’Meara
CHRYSLER GROUP LLC,
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING
DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Before the court are the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment. For
the reasons explained below, Plaintiff’s motion is denied and Defendant’s motion
Plaintiff Raymond Jackson is an employee of Defendant FCA US LLC
(“FCA”), formerly known as Chrysler Group. Jackson holds the position of Team
Member Support at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, a union unskilled position
on the assembly line. Jackson, who is of African-American descent and in his late
fifties, contends that he was not hired for two jobs he applied for in 2013 because
of his age and race.
On February 5, 2013, Jackson applied for a Millwright position through
FCA’s external careers website. FCA contends that Jackson was not considered
for the position because he did not follow the proper application procedure; he
applied through a site for external candidates instead of through his local human
resources department. Because he indicated that he was a current FCA employee
on the external careers website, his application was automatically stopped and not
processed further. Def.’s Ex. D. Jackson was not considered for the Millwright
On September 11, 2013, Jackson applied for a Die Maintenance Supervisor
position, also through the external careers website. Jackson also was not
considered for the Die Maintenance Supervisor position, because FCA contends
that he again did not follow the proper application procedure.
FCA further contends that Jackson was not qualified for either position. The
Millwright position requires a U.S. Department of Labor Completion of
Apprenticeship Certificate as a Millwright or eight years of experience as a
Millwright. The Die Maintenance Supervisor position requires the applicant to
have a bachelor’s degree or be a journeyman die maker and to have three years of
die experience. Jackson’s resume and deposition testimony confirm that he is not a
journeyman millwright or die maker, does not have a bachelor’s degree, and does
not have eight years of experience as a millwright or three years experience as a die
maker. Def.’s Ex. A at 106-108, 110, 121-23; Def.’s Ex. G.
Jackson filed an EEOC charge contending that he was not hired for the
Millwright and Die Maintenance Supervisor positions because of his race and age.
The EEOC issued a right to sue letter on April 3, 2014. Jackson filed this action on
May 28, 2014.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate if “there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). When reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the facts
and any reasonable inferences drawn from the facts must be viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The party opposing summary judgment,
however, must present more than a “mere scintilla” of evidence; the evidence must
be such that a reasonable jury could find in favor of the plaintiff. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).
Analysis under Title VII and ADEA
Jackson contends that FCA discriminated against him in violation of Title
VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2; 29
U.S.C. § 623. A plaintiff may establish a prima facie case under Title VII and the
ADEA by presenting direct evidence of discrimination or by presenting
circumstantial evidence satisfying the McDonnell-Douglas burden-shifting
paradigm. See, e.g., Kline v. Tenn. Valley Auth., 128 F.3d 337, 348 (6th Cir. 1997);
Hendrick v. Western Reserve Care Sys., 355 F.3d 444, 459 (6th Cir. 2004).
Jackson does not present direct evidence of discrimination here. See United States
ex rel. Diop v. Wayne County Community College Dist., 242 F. Supp.2d 497, 510
(E.D. Mich. 2003) (“Direct proof of discriminatory animus . . . includes such
things as racial slurs and comments about a person’s age or gender made by
Accordingly, Jackson must satisfy the following elements: (1) he is a
member of a protected group; (2) he was subject to an adverse employment action;
(3) he was qualified for the position; and (4) he was treated differently than
similarly situated employees outside the protected group. Russell v. University of
Toledo, 537 F.3d 596, 604 (6th Cir. 2008).
Once a plaintiff has established a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the
defendant to articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the challenged
employment action. Russell, 537 F.3d at 604. If the employer satisfies its burden,
the plaintiff must demonstrate that the employer’s reason is a pretext to hide
unlawful discrimination. Id. To establish pretext, a plaintiff must show “either (1)
that the proffered reasons had no basis in fact, (2) that the proffered reasons did not
actually motivate [the employment action], or (3) that they were insufficient to
motivate [the employment action].” Id. (citing Manzer v. Diamond Shamrock
Chems. Co., 29 F.3d 1078, 1084 (6th Cir. 1994)).
Plaintiff has not set forth a prima facie case of race or age discrimination.
He has not demonstrated that he was objectively qualified for either the Millwright
or Die Maintenance Supervisor positions. Although Plaintiff argues the he is
qualified for the positions, he has not presented objective evidence that he meets
the qualifications. Plaintiff’s subjective belief the he is qualified is insufficient.
See Chappell v. GTE Prods. Corp., 803 F.2d 261, 268 (6th Cir. 1986) (“Mere
personal beliefs, conjecture and speculation are insufficient to support an inference
of age discrimination.”).
Even if Plaintiff were able to present a prima facie case, he has not
demonstrated that FCA’s reasons for not promoting him – that he did not follow
the correct application procedure and that he was not qualified – are mere pretexts
for discrimination. Plaintiff has no evidence that race or age were a factor in
FCA’s hiring decisions or that the job qualifications themselves were
discriminatory. Rather, Plaintiff relies upon conclusory allegations and
unsupported beliefs, which are insufficient to avoid summary judgment. The fact
that FCA did not offer the jobs to internal candidates and required a certain
application procedure, without more, does not raise an inference of discrimination.
See Diop, 242 F. Supp.2d at 515 (“[C]onclusory allegations and subjective beliefs
are insufficient evidence to establish a claim of discrimination as a matter of
Plaintiff suggests that FCA’s selection procedures have a disparate impact
on minorities, because the Jefferson North plant as a whole is “approximately 80%
minority,” whereas the skilled trades employees are “approximately 80% American
of European descent.” Aside from the fact that Plaintiff has not pleaded disparate
impact discrimination in his complaint, Plaintiff has not provided evidence
supporting such a claim. Plaintiff has not identified an employment practice used
by FCA that has caused an adverse disparate impact on African-American
employees, nor has Plaintiff presented statistical evidence of the alleged disparate
impact. See Grant v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson Cty., Tenn.,
446 F. App’x. 737, 741 (6th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff has failed to present evidence suggesting that he was not chosen for
the Millwright and Die Maintenance Supervisor positions because of his race or
age. As a result, the court will grant Defendant’s motion for summary judgment
and deny Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant’s April 6, 2015 motion for
summary judgment is GRANTED. Judgment will be entered in favor of
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s April 13, 2015 motion for
summary judgment is DENIED.
s/John Corbett O’Meara
United States District Judge
Date: July 15, 2015
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the
parties of record on this date, July 15, 2015, using the ECF system and/or ordinary
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