United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
B. Russell, United States District Senior Judge
matter is before the Court upon a motion by Defendant, United
Steel Workers Local Union 550, for summary judgment. [DN 24].
Plaintiff, Tammy Singleton, has responded to the motion. [DN
30]. The Defendant has filed its reply. [DN 31]. Fully
briefed, Defendants motion is ripe for review, and for the
following reasons, it is GRANTED.
Tammy Singleton, became a member of Defendant, United Steel
Workers Local Union 550, in 2009. [DN 1 at 2]. Plaintiff was
employed by United States Enrichment Corporation
(“USEC”) from 2009 until 2014. Id. In
February 2014, Plaintiff was laid off from USEC. [DN 24-2 at
2]. Although Plaintiff claims she applied for numerous jobs
with prospective employers engaged in hiring through the
Defendant, she was unsuccessful in securing employment. [DN 1
at 3]. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated against
her in the hiring process because she is female. Id.
at 3. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant retaliated
against her because she complained about the alleged gender
discrimination. Id. at 3.
the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”)
between Defendant and USEC, the employer and Defendant must
establish a recall listing of laid off employees. [DN 31-1 at
7]. The employer and Defendant are also required to establish
seniority listings showing the name of all employees in the
order of their seniority ranking in the job classification
groups in which the employees hold seniority. Id.
According to Donna Steele, president of United Steel Workers
Local Union 550, “[t]he Defendant maintains records of
the classification of members, their hire dates, layoff
dates, and recalls.” [DN 24-2 at 2]. A laid off
employee can only be recalled into positions in which they
hold seniority. [DN 31-1 at 5-6.] When two employees both
have seniority in a particular job classification, the job
must be granted to the laid off employee with the most
seniority in the classification they are applying for.
Id. at 7. Defendant now moves the court for summary
judgment, claiming that there is no genuine dispute of
material fact regarding either of Plaintiff's claims. For
the following reasons, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.
judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In determining whether summary judgment
is appropriate, a court must resolve all ambiguities and draw
all reasonable inferences against the moving party. See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986).
every issue of fact or conflicting inference presents a
genuine issue of material fact.” Street v. J.C.
Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1477 (6th Cir.1989).
The test is whether the party bearing the burden of proof has
presented a jury question as to each element in the case.
Hartsel v. Keys, 87 F.3d 795, 799 (6th Cir.1996).
The plaintiff must present more than a mere scintilla of
evidence in support of his position; the plaintiff must
present evidence on which the trier of fact could reasonably
find for the plaintiff. See Id. (citing Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52, 106 S.Ct.
2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). Mere speculation will not
suffice to defeat a motion for summary judgment: “the
mere existence of a colorable factual dispute will not defeat
a properly supported motion for summary judgment. A genuine
dispute between the parties on an issue of material fact must
exist to render summary judgment inappropriate.”
Moinette v. Elec. Data Sys. Corp., 90 F.3d 1173,
1177 (6th Cir.1996).
Gender Discrimination Claim.
claims she has been subjected to less favorable terms and
conditions in her membership with Defendant and has been
actively prevented from being provided with employment
opportunities because of her gender. Title VII, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e-2(a)(1), makes it an unlawful employment
practice “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any
individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any
individual with respect to his compensation, terms,
conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such
individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin . . ..” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). The
employer does not violate Title VII unless there is a
discriminatory basis. See St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v.
Hicks, 509 U.S. 502, 514 (1993) (“We have no
authority to impose liability upon an employer for alleged
discriminatory employment practices unless an appropriate
factfinder determines, according to proper procedures, that
the employer has unlawfully discriminated.”).
the plaintiff fails to present direct evidence of
discrimination, as is the case here, courts analyze Title VII
disparate treatment claims under the McDonnell Douglas
framework. See McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411
U.S. 792, 802 (1973). Under that framework, the burden
initially lies with the plaintiff to establish a prima facie
case of discrimination. See Id. This is established
by showing that (1) plaintiff is a member of a protected
group, (2) plaintiff was subject to an adverse employment
decision, (3) plaintiff was qualified for the position, and
(4) plaintiff was either replaced by a person outside of the
protected class or was treated differently than similarly
situated, non-protected employees. Russell v. Univ. of
Toledo, 537 F.3d 596, 604 (6th Cir.2008). If the
plaintiff establishes a prima facie case of discrimination,
the burden then shifts to the defendant to articulate a
legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its action. Assuming
it does so, the burden shifts back to the plaintiff to
demonstrate the defendant's proffered reason is merely
pretext for unlawful discrimination. See McDonnell
Douglas Corp., 411 U.S. at 802; Hollins v. Atl.
Co., 188 F.3d 652, 658 (6th Cir. 1999).
case, Defendant concedes that Plaintiff can establish the
first three elements of her prima facie case. [DN 24 at 8-9].
The parties disagree on whether Plaintiff can establish the
fourth element of her prima facie case. Therefore, the Court
must determine whether there is a genuine dispute of fact
regarding whether Plaintiff was treated differently than
similarly situated male union members.
case, Plaintiff only held seniority in the classification of
janitor/laborer. [DN 30-2 at 18-19]. Therefore, Plaintiff
could only be recalled into the janitor/laborer job
classification under the CBA. When she was laid off, there
were about forty-two other laid off union members who held
more seniority in the janitor/laborer classification than
Plaintiff did. [DN 31-3 at 3]. Under the CBA, these forty-two
members would need to be recalled before Plaintiff could go
back to work at USEC. According to Defendant, no union member
with less labor/janitor classification seniority than
Plaintiff was recalled by USEC. [DN 31-3 at 3]. Plaintiff
claims that three male employees-Bobby Crick, Chris Bencini,
and Brian Thompson-were treated better than she was because
they were male. These male employees were allegedly hired
around the same time as Plaintiff. After the lay-off, the
male employees were recalled; Plaintiff was not recalled. But
Plaintiff's claim regarding these three male members
fails for two reasons. First, Plaintiff has not proven that
any of the three male members had less seniority than she
did. [DN 30-2 at 26-27]. Plaintiff admits “I ...