Even though defendant’s human resources manager, Jeff Tingen, vehemently denies calling plaintiff a n****r, genuine issues of material fact exist concerning whether Tingen used the racial epithet and whether Tingen’s conduct was sufficiently severe to alter the conditions of plaintiff’s employment and create a hostile work environment.
The court grants in part and denies in part defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Where plaintiff was not selected for a “leadman” position in March 2015, and where he was demoted in July 2015, the alleged non-selection and the demotion occurred more than 180 days before plaintiff filed his Aug. 11, 2016, EEOC charge; therefore, the non-selection and demotion claims are time-barred.
Even though Tingen allegedly directed a racial epithet at plaintiff approximately one week before plaintiff’s termination, the undisputed evidence shows that facility manager Patrick Wooten, not Tingen, made the decision to terminate plaintiff. Plaintiff has shown no link between the alleged racial epithet and the decisional process. Therefore, plaintiff has not produced any direct evidence that he was terminated due to his race.
Even if plaintiff has established a prima facie case of race discrimination under McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), defendant has articulated a non-discriminatory reason for firing plaintiff: plaintiff filed criminal assault charges against five employees, which Wooten believed to be frivolous and disruptive to the work environment. Thus, the burden shifts back to plaintiff to demonstrate that defendant’s non-discriminatory reason is a pretext for race discrimination. Plaintiff has failed to offer any such evidence. Accordingly, the court grants defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s discriminatory termination claim.
With regard to plaintiff’s retaliation claim, and viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, he did not produce any evidence that he engaged in a protected activity. Although plaintiff reported to human resources that supervisor Chris Rice had touched him, plaintiff did not allege that such incident was racially motivated. Furthermore, Rice’s participation in plaintiff’s performance review is not a materially adverse action.
As for plaintiff’s retaliation claim concerning his termination, this claim also fails. Although plaintiff reported to human resources that Tingen has touched him, plaintiff did not allege that such incidents were racially motivated. Furthermore, the time lapse between plaintiff reporting the touching incidents (July 30, 2015) and his termination (February 2016) defeats any inference of causation.
Coleman v. Altec, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-008-18, 14 pp.) (James Dever, C.J.) 5:16-cv-00954. Leroy Coleman, pro se; Robin Shea for defendant. E.D.N.C.