United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
HOLMES, III U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are Defendant Tyson Mexican Original's motion
(Doc. 16) for summary judgment, brief (Doc. 17) in support,
and statement of facts (Doc. 18). Plaintiff has not responded
to Defendant's motion. For the reasons set forth below,
Defendant's motion will be GRANTED.
Benjamin Swain worked at Tyson Mexican Original's
Springdale plant. (Doc. 18, p. 1). Swain was a Class II
Packer on the taco line. Id. Class II positions at
Tyson Mexican Original are paid $10.45 an hour as a base
rate. Id. At the time of Swain's termination, he
was being paid an hourly rate of $12.15 an hour and was
receiving an extra $.50 an hour for working during the third
shift. Id. Swain's job required him to drive the
pallet jack at times to complete the task of stacking taco
boxes onto pallets. Id. Swain's job also
required him to train new employees who were hired to
complete similar tasks, like stacking burrito boxes onto
pallets. Id., p. 2. Tyson team members were not paid
extra for training new team members unless they were selected
by Tyson to be in the “Buddy” program.
Id. Buddy program positions were posted and team
members could apply. Id. Buddy program participants
were paid an extra $.50 an hour. Id. Swain never
applied for this program. Id., p. 3
September 15, 2017, Swain filed an EEOC charge alleging race
discrimination, on the basis that he was not being paid extra
for training other peers to do the palletizer position.
Id., p. 2. Swain alleged that other employees who
were not in his protected class were getting paid extra for
such training. Id.
April of 2017, Swain applied for an open position in the
maintenance department. Id., p. 3. The position
required that the employee to be hired must have a minimum of
one year of maintenance experience and no more than
“six attendance points.” Id. Swain's
application admitted that he “[did not] have much
maintenance experience . . . .” Id. Swain was
also aware that the had accumulated ten attendance points.
Id. Swain did not receive the position. Id.
On October 9, 2017, Swain was suspended for workplace
violence. Id., p. 4. The incident involving Swain
was investigated and Tyson determined that Swain should be
terminated. Id. Swain did not amend his original
EEOC charge after his termination and he did not file any
further charges. Id., p. 5.
party moves for summary judgment, it must establish both the
absence of a genuine dispute of material fact and that it is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56; Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); Nat'l Bank
of Commerce of El Dorado, Ark. v. Dow Chem. Co., 165
F.3d 602 (8th Cir. 1999). In order for there to be a genuine
issue of material fact, the nonmoving party must produce
evidence “such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Allison v.
Flexway Trucking, Inc., 28 F.3d 64, 66-67 (8th Cir.
1994) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). Only facts “that might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law” need
be considered. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
“[T]he non-movant must make a sufficient showing on
every essential element of its claim on which it bears the
burden of proof.” P.H. v. Sch. Dist. of Kan. City,
Mo., 265 F.3d 653, 658 (8th Cir. 2001) (quotation
omitted). Facts asserted by the nonmoving party “must
be properly supported by the record, ” in which case
those “facts and the inferences to be drawn from them
[are viewed] in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party.” Id. at 656-57. Pursuant to Local Rule
56.1 “[a]ll material facts set forth in the statement
filed by the moving party pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be
deemed admitted unless controverted by the statement filed by
the non-moving party under paragraph (b).”
plaintiff in an employment discrimination case survives a
motion for summary judgment “either by providing direct
evidence of discrimination or by creating an inference of
unlawful discrimination” using circumstantial evidence.
Bone v. G4S Youth Servs., LLC, 686 F.3d 948, 953
(8th Cir. 2012). When, as is the case here, a plaintiff
presents no direct evidence to support a claim of
discrimination, the claim is analyzed under the burden
shifting framework set out in McDonnell Douglas.
Under this framework, the plaintiff must first present a
prima facie case of employment discrimination. Ramlet v.
E.F. Johnson Co., 507 F.3d 1149, 1153 (8th Cir. 2007).
establish a prima facie case of unlawful race discrimination
under Title VII, a plaintiff must show that: “(1) he is
a member of a protected class, (2) he was meeting his
employer's legitimate job expectations, (3) he suffered
an adverse employment action, and (4) similarly situated
employees outside the protected class were treated
differently.” Carpenter v. Con-Way Cent. Express,
Inc., 481 F.3d 611, 616 (8th Cir. 2007) (citations and
quotations omitted). In Swain's case, elements one
through three are not in dispute. However, Tyson argues that
there are no similarly situated employees outside the
protected class that were treated differently. Swain has not
put forth any evidence that could give rise to an inference
that his treatment was the result of unlawful discrimination.
Swain was paid for his job responsibilities as all other
employees were and did not have the necessary qualifications
for either the raise, for training other employees, or the
position in the maintenance department.
THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendant's motion (Doc. 16) for
summary judgment is GRANTED and Plaintiff's claims for
race discrimination are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Judgment
will be entered separately.