United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
RAMON P. HANSBERRY SR. PLAINTIFF
ARKANSAS STATE HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT DEFENDANT
OPINION AND ORDER
KRISTINE G. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is defendant Arkansas Department of
Transportation's (“ARDOT”)motion for summary
judgment (Dkt. No. 30). Plaintiff Ramon P. Hansberry, Sr.,
has responded in opposition, and ARDOT has replied (Dkt. Nos.
35, 40). For the reasons that follow, the Court grants
ARDOT's motion for summary judgment and enters judgment
in favor of ARDOT on Mr. Hansberry's race discrimination
complaint, Mr. Hansberry brought claims against ARDOT under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended
(“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
seq., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.,
42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment (Dkt. No. 1). On May 10, 2018, the Court
granted ARDOT's partial motion to dismiss and dismissed
without prejudice Mr. Hansberry's claims, with the
exception of his Title VII race discrimination claims
relating to an alleged failure to promote in 2015 and his
demotion in 2015 (Dkt. No. 29). ARDOT seeks summary judgment
on Mr. Hansberry's remaining Title VII race
discrimination claims (Dkt. No. 30).
otherwise noted, the following facts are taken from Mr.
Hansberry's response to ARDOT's statement of
undisputed facts (Dkt. No. 36). Mr. Hansberry was employed by
ARDOT when he filed his complaint but has since retired
(Id., ¶ 1). ARDOT is a state agency responsible
for the construction, maintenance, repair, and safety of the
Arkansas State Highway System, for coordinating public and
private transportation activities, and for implementing a
safe and efficient intermodal transportation system
(Id., ¶ 2).
first hired Mr. Hansberry on June 1, 1989, as a General
Laborer (Id., ¶ 3). During his first ten years
of employment, Mr. Hansberry held the positions of Single
Axle Truck Driver, Backhoe/Front End Loader Operator, Lead
Person, and Maintenance Aide II (Id.). On June 17,
1999, ARDOT promoted Mr. Hansberry to Crew Leader (St.
Francis County) (Id.). Mr. Hansberry transferred to
Crew Leader (Lee County) in April 2011 (Id.).
has an Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”)
policy prohibiting discrimination against employees on the
basis of a person's race and age, among other things
(Id., ¶ 4). Mr. Hansberry received a copy of
that policy and signed an acknowledgement of receipt
(Id., ¶ 5). Mr. Hansberry also received and
acknowledged receipt of the Personnel Manual and other EEO
policies (Id., ¶ 6). At the time of the
selection decision at issue in this case and prior to his
demotion, Mr. Hansberry was employed as a Crew Leader
(Id., ¶ 7). Crew Leaders are responsible, under
general supervision, for the various phases of crew work to
facilitate the completion of specific assignments
(Id., ¶ 8).
chain of command above Mr. Hansberry during the events at
issue in this case included Area Maintenance Supervisor
(“AMS”); then Assistant Maintenance
Superintendent, referred to as District Maintenance
Superintendent since June 2017; then District Maintenance
Engineer for District 1; then District 1 Engineer Rex Vines;
then Assistant Chief Engineer Operations Tony Sullivan; then
Deputy Director and Chief Engineer Emanuel Banks; then Deputy
Director and Chief Operating Officer Lorie Tudor; and then
Director of ARDOT Scott Bennett (Id., ¶ 9). The
individuals holding the three positions directly above Mr.
Hansberry during the summer of 2015 were new to those
positions (Id., ¶ 10). Tommy Halbert was
promoted to Assistant Maintenance Superintendent on June 27,
2015, and Matt Emberton was promoted to District Maintenance
Engineer on July 11, 2015 (Id.). Mr. Hansberry only
seeks to recover for the AMS selection decision that occurred
in July 2015 (Id., ¶ 11).
2013 AMS Interview
Woodruff, then District Engineer for District 1, and Mr.
Vines, who held the position of District Maintenance Engineer
at the time, interviewed Mr. Hansberry for AMS (St. Francis
County) in January 2013 (Id., ¶ 12). Mr.
Hansberry, Robert Gray, Alfred Langhorn, and Anthony Burnett
interviewed for the open AMS position (Dkt. No. 36, Ex. C).
Mr. Woodruff wrote an interoffice memorandum to Crystal
Woods, who served as Human Resources (“HR”)
Division Head, on January 24, 2013, concerning the reasoning
for selecting Mr. Gray over the other candidates for the open
AMS position (Id.).
memorandum, Mr. Woodruff states that “[d]uring the
interview [Mr. Hansberry] was unable to demonstrate adequate
ability to interpret and apply Departmental policies and
procedures, Part 6 of the MUTCD nor the Maintenance
Management Program. Not meeting the minimum requirements for
the position, he was not selected for the position.”
(Id., at 1). The memorandum states that Mr. Gray
“demonstrated adequate familiarity with all phases of
highway maintenance, and adequate ability to interpret and
apply Departmental policies and procedures, Part 6 of the
MUTCD and the Maintenance Management Program.”
(Id.). Mr. Woodruff wrote that Mr. Langhorn
“does not have the educational equivalent to a diploma
from an accredited high school . . . not meeting the minimum
requirements for the position . . . .” (Id.,
at 2). The memorandum describes Mr. Burnett as “unable
to demonstrate adequate ability to interpret and apply
Departmental policies and procedures, Part 6 of the MUTCD nor
the Maintenance Management Program. Not meeting the minimum
requirements for the position, he was not selected for the
position.” (Id.). According to Mr.
Woodruff's affidavit, he “determined that Hansberry
did not meet the minimum requirements for the position, and
was not selected for the position.” (Dkt. No. 30,
Woodruff Aff., Ex. C, ¶ 4). Mr. Woodruff also stated
that he “was the final decision maker on the January
2013 AMS selection.” (Id.).
has a grievance policy that allows employees to grieve
employment actions with which they disagree which is
summarized on the employee grievance form (Dkt. No. 36,
¶ 15). Following the selection of Mr. Gray, Mr.
Hansberry filed a grievance alleging that he was not selected
for the AMS Position because of his race and his age
(Id., ¶ 16). Joanna McFadden who is ARDOT's
EEO/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“DBE”)
Section Head is African American (Id., ¶ 17).
Ms. McFadden wrote a letter in response to Mr.
Hansberry's grievance (Dkt. No. 30, Ex. E1). In the
letter, Ms. McFadden stated that she did a “thorough
review . . . of discrimination based on race in the recent
selection of the Area Maintenance Supervisor - St. Francis
County.” (Id.). Ms. McFadden further stated
that “[t]he review did not reveal that any
discrimination action had taken place.” (Id.).
Ms. McFadden also advised Mr. Hansberry that he “may
register the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission.” (Id.). Approximately two months
before the selection decision that is the subject of this
lawsuit, Mr. Hansberry applied for a different Lee County AMS
position, Requisition 5111 (Id., ¶ 20).
May 2015 AMS Interview
According to Ms. Woods, who served as HR Division Head, Mr.
Hansberry applied for the Lee County AMS position
“approximately two months before the position that is
at issue in this case.” (Dkt. No. 30, Woods Aff., Ex.
A, ¶ 24c). William Cheatham, District Maintenance
Engineer for District 1, made the recommendation to hire
Anthony Burnett, an African American male, for AMS, and Mr.
Vines approved that recommendation (Dkt. No. 36, ¶ 23).
According to Ms. Woods, Mr. Cheatham stated in his applicant
notes for Mr. Hansberry that:
Although Mr. Hansberry is the Crew Leader for Crew 1391 and
the longest amount of service time, he performed the poorest
out of the 3 candidates during the interview process. He was
clearly not able to interpret and apply the procedures
contained in part 6 of the MUTCD. He stated in the interview
that his crew had not been referring to the MUTCD for traffic
control operations which are performed on a daily basis and
that the manual had been lost until a week ago.
(Dkt. No. 30, Woods Aff., Ex. A, ¶ 24c). Mr. Hansberry
does not allege that the selection of Mr. Burnett was
discriminatory (Dkt. No. 36, ¶ 24).
July 2015 AMS Interview
Hansberry applied for an open AMS (Lee County) position
(Requisition 6703) on June 25, 2015 (Id., ¶
25). Mr. Vines and Mr. Halbert conducted oral interviews of
applicants including Mr. Hansberry on July 12 and 13, 2015
(Id., ¶ 26). In the interviews, applicants were
provided copies of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control
Devices (“MUTCD”), Personnel Manual, and
Maintenance Supervisors Manual and were advised that they
should refer to those documents during the interview
(Id., ¶ 27). In his affidavit, Mr. Vines states
that applicants for the AMS position “were encouraged
(and expected) to refer to the supplied manuals and to read
the correct answer from them.” (Dkt. No. 30, Vines
Aff., Ex. D, ¶ 4). All applicants were orally asked the
same pre-prepared questions in the interviews (Id.,
¶ 29). According to Mr. Vines' affidavit, he
“recorded the applicants' responses to the
questions by handwriting their responses below the
question.” (Dkt. No. 30, Vines Aff., Ex. D, ¶ 5).
Mr. Vines “later typed their responses and [his]
comments regarding those answers such as whether the
applicant incorrectly answered the question or whether he
referred to the appropriate manual in answering the
questions.” (Id.). Regarding Mr.
Hansberry's interview, Mr. Vines states that “[t]he
red comments show that Hansberry often did not refer to the
proper manual and that many answers were wrong.”
of the interview, Mr. Vines asked all of the applicants four
multipart questions on Part VI of the MUTCD (Dkt. No. 30,
Vines Aff., Ex. D, ¶ 6). Part VI of the MUTCD covers the
fundamental principles of temporary traffic control and gives
minimum requirements, guidance, and suggested options to
enhance and increase the safety of the traveling public
traversing through a work zone in addition to the workers
within the work zone (Dkt. No. 36, ¶ 35). If the
information provided in the MUTCD is not properly interpreted
and applied, the risk of personal injury or fatality to the
traveling public and the workers is significantly increased
(Id.). Although there are routine
maintenance/construction operations, each work zone should be
evaluated individually in regard to the geometry of the
roadway, the speed of traffic, and the surrounding terrain
(Id.). It is important that an AMS demonstrate the
ability to interpret and apply the MUTCD Part VI to each
individual daily activity and subsequent work zone in order
to decrease the opportunities for someone to be injured or
killed (Id.). An improperly erected work zone
increases the chance of injury or death (Id.). In
his affidavit, Mr. Vines asserts that “[o]ne of the
minimum requirements was that the applicant demonstrate the
ability to interpret and apply Part VI of the MUTCD.”
(Dkt. No. 30, Vines Aff., Ex. D, ¶ 6). Mr. Vines states
that he “determined that Hansberry did not demonstrate
this ability as the result of his answers to questions 2, 3,
4, and 5 in the interview, ” regarding Part VI of the
the minimum requirements was that the applicant demonstrate
the ability to interpret and apply the Departmental Personnel
Manual (Id., ¶ 39). In his affidavit, Mr. Vines
states that “[k]nowledge regarding the Personnel Manual
was tested in questions 12 through 25, but Hansberry missed
many of these questions and often did not refer to the
Personnel Manual in answering the questions.” (Dkt. No.
30, Vines Aff., Ex. D, ¶ 6). Another minimum requirement
was that the applicant demonstrate the ability to interpret
and apply the Maintenance Supervisor Manual as was tested in
interview questions 1 and 11 (Dkt. No. 36, ¶ 41). In his
affidavit, Mr. Vines states that he “determined and
documented in the computer system that Hansberry was unable
to demonstrate the ability to interpret and apply Part VI of
the MUTCD and that he had an unfavorable interview.”
(Dkt. No. 30, Vines Aff., Ex. D, ¶ 6). With regard to
Don Moore's interview, a Caucasian applicant for the
position, Mr. Vines states that he “determined and
documented in the computer system that Moore demonstrated
that he met the minimum requirements for the position and had
performed well as Crew Leader on the Lehi Crew and
recommended that Moore be selected and notated.”
(Id., ¶ 13). Mr. Vines “recommended that
Moore be selected” for the AMS position (Id.).
to Mr. Moore's affidavit, his work history includes
“supervisor at United Parcel Service for eight years,
working as a foreman at a construction company for seven
years, owning an insulation company and supervising two
employees for four years, and working as an assistant manager
at a grocery store for four years.” (Dkt. No. 30, Moore
Aff., Ex. J, ¶ 2). In his affidavit, Mr. Vines states
that, “[w]hile Hansberry had held the position of Crew
Leader longer than Moore, Hansberry's length of service
did not cause him to be more qualified for the AMS position
than Moore.” (Dkt. No. 30, Vines Aff., Ex. D, ¶
time of the selection, Mr. Vines told Mr. Hansberry that Mr.
Moore was selected for the position instead of him because
Mr. Moore was more qualified (Dkt. No. 36, ¶ 46). At the
time that Mr. Vines selected Mr. Moore for AMS, Mr. Vines was
unaware of any racial comments or slurs that Mr. Moore had
ever made (Id., ¶ 47). Mr. Halbert and Mr.
Emberton did not make the decision to recommend Mr. Moore,
nor the decision not to recommend Mr. Hansberry, for the
position (Id., ¶ 48). Mr. Vines is the one who
recommended Mr. Moore be selected (Id.). Mr.
Vines' recommendation to select Mr. Moore was approved by
Mr. Vines' superior, Assistant Chief Engineer Operations
Mr. Sullivan at the Executive Level and by Alicia Hunt on
behalf of HR (Id., ¶ 49).
Moore was selected for the AMS and promoted to AMS effective
July 25, 2015 (Id., ¶ 50). Mr. Vines, who
recommended Mr. Moore, as well as Mr. Sullivan and Ms. Hunt,
who approved the recommendation, all stated in their
affidavits that Mr. Hansberry “was not minimally
qualified for the AMS position.” (Dkt. No. 30, Ex. D,
Vines Aff., ¶ 12; Ex. H, Sullivan Aff., ¶ 4; Ex. I,
Hunt Aff., ¶ 3). All individuals who were involved in
the decision to select Mr. Moore have testified in their
sworn affidavits that they took no action regarding Mr.
Hansberry because of his race and acted in good faith at all
times regarding Mr. Hansberry (Dkt. No. 36, ¶ 52). Two
of the four candidates for AMS positions whom Mr. Vines
recommended or of whose recommendation Mr. Vines approved
since his promotion to District Engineer have been African
American (Id., ¶ 53). Mr. Vines recommended or
approved the recommendation to select Mr. Burnett on May 16,
2015, and Robert Johnson on December 12, 2015 (Id.).
Both are African American employees (Id.).
was no ARDOT policy during the selection process in July 2015
that required an applicant to have a certain number of years
of service in a position before being promoted to an AMS
position (Id., ¶ 54). Applicants must
demonstrate that they meet the minimum qualifications of a
position (Id.). The most qualified applicant is
selected, and promotions are not granted based solely on
Crew Meeting From July 27, 2018
Monday, July 27, 2015, Mr. Moore, who received the position
Mr. Hansberry had sought and was Mr. Hansberry's new
supervisor, began his first day in the new position
(Id., ¶ 55). In his affidavit, Mr. Moore states
that “[p]rior to meeting Ramon Hansberry . . . in
person, [he] briefly spoke on the phone with him regarding
keys for a department truck.” (Dkt. No. 30, Moore Aff.,
Ex. J, ¶ 4). According to Mr. Moore, “[o]ther than
that brief conversation, [he] had never met or heard anything
about Hansberry prior to [his] selection as Area Maintenance
Supervisor.” (Id.). On his first day in his
new position, Mr. Moore went to the Lee County Area
Maintenance Headquarters for the crew meeting to meet the
entire Lee County Area Maintenance Crew (Id., ¶
57). Mr. Moore first introduced himself (Id., ¶
58). Mr. Moore then asked each member of the crew to identify
himself or herself and tell the group what the member did
(Id.). When it was Mr.
turn to speak, Mr. Hansberry claims Mr. Moore said that he
already knew of Mr. Hansberry (Id., ¶ 59). Mr.
Hansberry, who was Crew Leader of the assembled crew, admits
that he then responded, “I guess that I am a murderer,
and I cut throats and kill people at night” or “I
guess I'm a murderer and a cutthroat that kill people at
night.” (Id., ¶ 60). Mr. Hansberry says
he made the statement because Mr. Moore “had denied
[him] the opportunity to let [Mr. Moore] get to know
[him]” and that he was offended by the denial and felt
slighted by Mr. Moore's comment (Id., ¶
61). Mr. Hansberry also stated that he made the statement
“in a joking manner . . . .” (Dkt. No. 30,
Hansberry Depo., Ex. B, at 28).
to Mr. Moore, “[r]ight after the crew meeting, [he]
spoke to Hansberry privately.” (Dkt. No. 30, Moore
Aff., Ex. J, ¶ 8). In that meeting, Mr. Moore
“told Hansberry that he could understand him being
upset at not getting the position, but [he] needed to know
that [he] could count on [Mr. Hansberry] to be [his]
assistant.” (Id.). Mr. Moore asserts that
“Hansberry replied, ‘I will do my job, just
enough to get by, but I am not going to be much help to
you.'” (Id.). Mr. Moore responded to Mr.
Hansberry that he “needed to know if [he] could depend
on [Mr. Hansberry] and asked Hansberry again whether [Mr.
Moore] could depend on him.” (Id.). According
to Mr. Moore, Mr. Hansberry said, “Just look at my
hours I have built up, that ought to tell you something. I
have been here 27 years and they are promoting people that
don't know what they are doing.” (Id.).
Mr. Moore asserts that he then left with Mr. Halbert and
“informed Halbert about Hansberry's remarks in the
crew meeting and in [his] one-on-one meeting
afterward.” (Id., ¶ 9). In response, Mr.
Halbert told Mr. Moore that “the remark needed to be
documented and addressed.” (Id.).
Halbert then notified Mr. Emberton and Mr. Vines about Mr.
Hansberry's remarks (Dkt. No. 36, ¶ 72). According
to Mr. Moore, he prepared a statement about the one-on-one
meeting with Mr. Hansberry “on July 27, 2015, that [he]
sent in an email to Vines that set forth what occurred in the
crew meeting and in [his] meeting alone with
Hansberry.” (Dkt. No. 30, Ex. J, ¶ 9). After he
learned of Mr. Hansberry's statements, Mr. Vines directed
Mr. Halbert to interview the crew members regarding what they
heard Mr. Hansberry say in the crew meeting (Dkt. No. 36,
¶ 74). According to Mr. Halbert, he “talked to
each crew member who was present in the meeting.” (Dkt.
No. 30, Halbert Aff., Ex. F, ¶ 6). Mr. Halbert also
asserts that he “typed a statement describing what
occurred on July 27, 2015, regarding Hansberry's comments
and provided it to Vines.” (Id., ¶ 7).
three o'clock that afternoon of July 27, 2015, the crew
members who stated they had heard Mr. Hansberry's
statement in the crew meeting were brought in the office,
given a piece of paper, and asked to write down what they had
heard Mr. Hansberry say in the crew meeting (Dkt. No. 36,
¶ 76). Corey Cross wrote that Mr. Hansberry said
something in a joking manner along the line of “I hunt
people at night.” (Id., ¶ 79). Rickey
Oxner stated that Mr. Hansberry said, “Slip thru the
night and slit thoarats [sic].” (Id., ¶
80). Waymon Weeams, Sr. wrote that Mr. Hansberry stated,
“I hunt and at night and cut thoat [sic].”
(Id., ¶ 81). Waverly Barnes, Jr. wrote,
“I am a monder [sic] by night.” (Id.,
¶ 83). According to Kelly Reddick, III, “[i]n a
joking way, I believe it was said that someone said that he
was a killer. But I know that he didn't mean to offend
anybody, just a lil [sic] joke.” (Dkt. No. 30, Ex.
A24). Samuel Sisk, Benford Adell, and Greg Branscomb claimed
that they did not hear what Mr. Hansberry said (Dkt. No. 36,
Mr. Hansberry returned to Lee County Area Maintenance
headquarters, at some point, Mr. Emberton and Mr. Vines met
with Mr. Hansberry to discuss the statements he made in the
crew meeting that morning and his conversation with Mr. Moore
after the crew meeting (Id., ¶ 85). ARDOT
maintains the meeting occurred that same day (Id.).
According to Mr. Hansberry, he met with Mr. Emberton and Mr.
Vines on July 28, 2015, when he returned to headquarters
after performing sign maintenance, where Mr. Hansberry
injured his back (Dkt. No. 30, Hansberry Depo., Ex. B, at
to a summary created by Mr. Emberton, Mr. Hansberry admitted,
“I said I was a murder [sic] and cut throat at
night.” (Dkt. No. 36, ¶ 86). According to Mr.
Hansberry, he told Mr. Emberton and Mr. Vines that “the
statement that [he] made in a joking manner and everybody in
the room laughed, you know.” (Dkt. No. 30, Hansberry
Depo., Ex. B, at 33). In regard to the statement he made at
the crew meeting, Mr. Hansberry said that he
“didn't mean anything by that . . . [and]
wasn't aware that it was a problem.”
Emberton and Mr. Vines also asked Mr. Hansberry about the
allegation that Mr. Hansberry told Mr. Moore that he would
not be much help to him, and Mr. Hansberry said that he never
said that (Dkt. No. 36, ¶ 87). According to Mr.
Emberton's summary, with regard to the conversation with
Mr. Moore after the crew meeting, “Mr. Hansberry stated
that Mr. Moore did ask if he could count on [Mr. Hansberry]
and [Mr. Hansberry] did tell Mr. Moore to look at his time
and the hours, but did not state he wouldn't be much
help.” (Dkt. No. 30, Ex. A19, at 1). According to Mr.
Hansberry, when Mr. Emberton and Mr. Vines asked him if he
made a statement to Mr. Moore that he would not be much help,
Mr. Hansberry told them that he “never said
that.” (Dkt. No. 30, Hansberry Depo., Ex. B, at 33).
meeting, Mr. Vines advised Mr. Hansberry that, at best, he
considered Mr. Hansberry's statements in the crew meeting
as unprofessional and that, as a supervisor and Crew Leader,
he was to conduct himself in a professional manner (Dkt. No.
36, ¶ 89). According to his summary of the meeting, Mr.
Emberton told Mr. Hansberry that he, as the Crew Leader, set
the example for the rest of the crew and that with a little
more consideration of his working all of this could have been
avoided (Id., ¶ 90). According to Mr.
Hansberry, Mr. Emberton told him that “it might have
been the way that [you] presented that answer.” (Dkt.
No. 30, Hansberry Depo., Ex. B, at 33).
Emberton prepared a statement setting forth a summary of the
meeting with Mr. Hansberry and provided it to Mr. Vines (Dkt.
No. 36, ¶ 91). Mr. Moore prepared and provided a
statement to Mr. Vines describing a conversation on July 28,
2015, with Mr. Hansberry (Id., ¶ 92). In the
statement, Mr. Moore said that Mr. Hansberry stated that he
never told Mr. Moore that he would not help him
(Id., ¶ 93). Mr. Moore's statement asserted
that Mr. Moore then restated what he had heard Mr. Hansberry
say in the conversation from the day before (Id.,
¶ 94). In the statement, Mr. Moore said that they
discussed Mr. Hansberry saying that he was going above and
beyond his job duties (Id., ¶ 95). In the
statement, Mr. Moore related that Mr. Hansberry said that he
used to work on equipment and welding parts, and Mr. Moore
said that is not going above and beyond; it is doing their
job (Id., ¶ 96). In the statement, Mr. Moore
related that he said to Mr. Hansberry that the day before Mr.
Hansberry stated that he had been there 27 years and had gone
above and beyond, but he would not do it anymore, that he
would not be much help to Mr. Moore (Id., ¶
97). Mr. Hansberry denies this (Id.). According to
the statement, Mr. Moore and Mr. Hansberry agreed to disagree
about what Mr. Hansberry had said the day before
(Id., ¶ 98).
to Mr. Hansberry, directly after the crew meeting with the
Lee County Area Maintenance Crew, he was sent to Wynne,
Arkansas, to pick up Greg Branscomb who dropped off a vehicle
to be repaired in Wynne (Dkt. No. 30, Hansberry Depo., Ex. B,
at 29-30). When he returned, Mr. Hansberry “found out
that Don Moore was going around the crew asking if . . . they
heard the statement that [Mr. Hansberry] made.”
(Id., at 30). Mr. Hansberry asserts that he asked
Mr. Moore “if he was inquiring about the statement or
something that” Mr. Hansberry said earlier in the day
(Id., at 31). According to Mr. Hansberry, Mr. Moore
informed him that Mr. Halbert was asking the other employees
about Mr. Hansberry's statement (Id.). Mr.
Hansberry denies that he told Mr. Moore that he “would
not be much help to [Mr. Moore] . . . .” (Id.,
28, 2015, Mr. Hansberry injured his back at work and was off
work from July 29, 2015, to August 17, 2015 (Dkt. No. 36,
¶ 99). After completing the investigation, Mr. Vines
sent copies of the following to HR and EEO for review and
recommendations: the summary of the meeting with Mr.
Hansberry prepared by Mr. Emberton; the witness statements
that had been collected from the crew members; the July 27,
2015, email statement from Mr. Moore; the July 28, 2015,
statement from Mr. Moore; and the statement from Mr. Halbert
(Id., ¶ 100). Mr. Vines discussed Mr.
Hansberry's actions with Ms. Woods, HR Division Head, and
Ms. McFadden, EEO/DBE Section Head, and they agreed that
ARDOT should move to the next step in progressive discipline
and demote Mr. Hansberry to a non-supervisory position
(Id., ¶ 101). Mr. Moore, Mr. Halbert, and Mr.
Emberton were not involved in the decision to demote Mr.
Hansberry (Id., ¶ 102). Mr. Hansberry purports
to dispute this (Id.).
the investigation, Mr. Vines prepared a memorandum to his
supervisor, Mr. Sullivan (Id., ¶ 103). In this
memorandum, Mr. Vines states that Mr. Hansberry had
demonstrated an unwillingness to conduct himself with a
harmonious and productive attitude toward his supervisor
(Id., ¶ 104). Mr. Vines states in the
memorandum that he found that Mr. Hansberry's statements
could be seen as derogatory remarks toward the Department and
his supervisor and could be seen as threating, intimidating
and creating reasonable fear of injury to another person or
subjecting another individual to emotional distress
(Id.). Mr. Vines states that he found that Mr.