United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. HALE, JUDGE
Armstrong was fired from his job as Director of Public Works
for the City of West Buechel, Kentucky, after he sent a
letter to West Buechel Mayor Rick Richards complaining of
racial discrimination. He sued Richards and the City,
alleging discrimination and retaliation under state and
federal law. (Docket No. 1) The defendants have moved for
summary judgment, arguing that Armstrong lacks evidence to
support any of his claims. (D.N. 40) After careful
consideration, the Court will grant summary judgment as to
Armstrong's discrimination claims but deny the motion as
to Armstrong's retaliation claims.
who is African American, worked for the City of West Buechel
from August 2012 until August 2015. During that time, City
Council member Joe Mattingly twice used the word
“n****r” in Armstrong's presence and
addressed him as “boy” on one
occasion. (D.N. 40-2, PageID # 162) On another
occasion, Armstrong was “grabbed and pushed” by
coworker Gerald Chamberlain. (Id., PageID # 165) In
addition to these incidents of alleged discrimination,
Armstrong claims that he was the only City employee who did
not receive a raise in July 2015. (Id., PageID #
167) Armstrong complained to Richards about Mattingly's
use of the word “n****r, ” as well as the pushing
incident. (Id., PageID # 163, 165-66)
August 20, 2015, Armstrong delivered the following letter to
To Mayor Richards
This letter is in regards to a concern of mine about my job
with the City. Since your first day as Mayor I have shown my
loyalty to you. I work hard and do whatever is required and
you ask me to do, I came honestly to you and shared concerns
I had about remarks made by one of the City Council members,
but I feel that I am being punished for speaking up.
I just want to come to work and to do the job you appointed
me to as “Director of Public Works, ” and to have
an opportunity to run my department without outside
Last week you texted me a[nd] told me not to come in to work
until I heard from you again. Then, last Wednesday, you sent
me a letter delivered by a WBPD officer to my home. I was not
there at the time and the letter was delivered to my son. You
asked me to be at City Hall at 9:30 AM last Thursday. I was
there at 9:30.
I saw you in the kitchen, but you did not mention anything
about the letter or the meeting. Ms. Marti told me you said
for me to go out and clean up the City.
I am baffled that you texted me on Sunday telling me not to
come in until you got back to me, then sending a letter to my
home by a police officer and then ignoring me when I did
exactly what you asked.
I feel I am being punished as I am having to use my personal
vacation time to make up for the times you tell me to stay
home. I feel I deserve to know what is going on.
I feel I am working in a very hostile environment, without
any explanation from you about why. I am respectful to
everyone and I believe that I deserve to be treated with
respect in return.
There is a lot of gossip going around the neighborhood and
City Hall, and I don't know what to believe. People are
acting differently toward me with no explanation. What have I
done to make you unhappy and to treat me this way?
You asked me to keep notes of what I have done on the job,
and I have done that.
Please give me something in writing about my job with ...