Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hansberry v. Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division

October 17, 2018

RAMON P. HANSBERRY SR. PLAINTIFF
v.
ARKANSAS STATE HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT DEFENDANT

          OPINION AND ORDER

          KRISTINE G. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is defendant Arkansas Department of Transportation's (“ARDOT”)[1]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 claim.

         In his 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).[2] 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).

         I. Factual Background

         Unless 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).

         ARDOT 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.).

         ARDOT 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).

         The 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).

         A. 2013 AMS Interview

         Ray J. 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.).

         In the 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.).

         ARDOT 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).

         B. 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).

         C. July 2015 AMS Interview

         Mr. 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).[3] 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.” (Id.).

         As part 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 MUTCD (Id.).

         One of 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.).

         According 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, ¶ 6).

         At the 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).

         Mr. 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.).

         There 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 tenure (Id.).

         D. Crew Meeting From July 27, 2018

          On 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.

         Hansberry's 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).

         According 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.).

         Mr. 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).

         Around 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, ¶ 84).

         After 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 31-32).

         According 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.” (Id.).

         Mr. 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).

         In the 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).

         Mr. 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).

         According 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., at 33).

         On July 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.).[4]

         Following 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. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.