United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
CHARLES R. SIMPSON, III, Senior District Judge.
This matter is before the court on the motion of the Defendant, Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service ("USPS"), for summary judgment, DN 27-1, as to all counts of the Complaint of the Plaintiff, Jill Thomas ("Thomas"). DN 1. Fully briefed, the matter is now ripe for adjudication. Having considered the parties' respective positions, the court concludes that there are no material issues of fact in dispute. For the reasons set forth below, the court will grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
Plaintiff, Jill Thomas, began working for USPS in 1994. In 2009, she began working at the USPS Okolona branch in Louisville, Kentucky. William G. Roadhouse ("Roadhouse") managed the Okolona branch up until Christopher Salings ("Salings") took over, around the time Thomas stopped working at USPS and began receiving worker's compensation. Lloyd Gant ("Gant") directly supervised Thomas while she worked at the Okolona branch. Thomas is a female who had participated to some extent in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission process prior to the events in question ("prior EEO activity"). Her claims revolve around the following undisputed facts. Because the parties have addressed Plaintiff's claims by incident, so will the court.
Employees at the Okolona branch typically signed up on the Overtime Desire List ("ODL") in order to request overtime. Gant decided what employees would work overtime during a given period. The employees' Collective Bargaining agreement states that:
When during the quarter the need for overtime arises, employees with the necessary skills having listed their names will be selected in order of the seniority on a rotating basis.... If the voluntary "Overtime Desire" list does not provide sufficient qualified people, qualified full-time regular employees not on the list may be required to work overtime on a rotating basis with the first opportunity assigned to the junior employee.
DN 27-3, p. 528 (emphasis added). A scheme clerk is a postal worker who is scheme qualified - that he or she has memorized the addresses within the assigned zip code. Id. p. 176. Some portion of each overtime shift from August to December 2010 involved work that had to be performed by a scheme-qualified employee. Id.
Thomas signed the ODL to work overtime from August to December 2010. Gant assigned Thomas to work 76.18 overtime hours during this period based on her signing the ODL. DN 27-3, p. 248-78. She was not, however, scheme qualified, and her last scheme training was in 1998. Id. at 295. Gant states that his decision to bypass Thomas for more overtime was the fact that she was not scheme qualified. Id. at 176.
Rodney Burton did not sign the ODL but was assigned to and worked 133.15 overtime hours from August to December 2010. Id. at 299-313. He was scheme qualified, and his last scheme training was in April 2010. Id. at 298. Carol Howard worked 89.31 overtime hours from August to December 2010. Id. at 376-90. She was scheme qualified, and her last scheme training was in 2004. Id. at 375. Jamesella Howard worked only 35.88 overtime hours from August to December 2010. Id. at 393-411. She was not scheme qualified, and USPS had never provided her scheme training.
Spreading DPS Mail
On December 16, 2010, Roadhouse ordered Thomas to spread DPS mail instead of putting stamps on customers' mail. She was not a "distribution clerk." However, her job description states that she "may... distribute mail as required." Id. at 436. Roadhouse instructed her to spread DPS mail because "she was needed to help get the [mail] carriers out on time." Id. at 200.
Paged to Window
Thomas agrees that her job required her to be at the customer window of the Okolona branch and that Gant was authorized to page her to it when she was needed. DN 34. She states, however:
Lloyd [Gant] never paged me to the window unless he was trying to aggravate me. One time he paged me to the window and - well, actually one time he walked past me and stopped and said, "Oh, they need you at the window. There's a line out the door, " blah, blah, blah. "You need to get up there to the window." So me and Don England both jump up and go running up there, and there was nobody in line. There was one customer at the window.
DN 27-1, p. 18. Don England is a male with no prior EEO activity. DN 27-3, p. 315.
Confrontation with Carol Howard
On one occasion, Carol Howard yelled at Thomas after learning that Thomas had contacted their union regarding vacation scheduling; an act Howard believed caused the union to deny her own vacation request. DN 27-3, p. 237. Howard was aware of Thomas's complaints to the union because they were "common knowledge, " in her own words, that "[n]o one had to tell [her]." Id. Thomas alleges, however, that Gant gave Howard this "misinformation" in order to incite the confrontation. DN 1.
Gant's Inappropriate Comments
Thomas alleges that, on unspecified dates, Gant made inappropriate comments and guttural noises about women in line at the customer window and, on one occasion, asked "if that was the woman who was suing the Post Office." DN 1; DN 34. On the latter occasion, Thomas alleges that Gant grunted "uhm, uhm, uhm" about a woman in line, to which she responded, "Lloyd, I'm standing right here." DN 27-1, p. 6; DN ...