Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Burnell v. Richland School District One

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

January 11, 2019

PERCY BURNELL, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT ONE, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          THOMAS E. ROGERS, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. alleging discrimination based on his religion.[1] Presently before the court is Defendant Richland School District One's (the District) Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 19). All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(g), DSC. This report and recommendation is entered for review by the district judge.

         II. FACTS

         In early 2016, the District posted an opening for the position of Area Custodial Supervisor. Pl. Dep. 35-36 (Ex. B to Def. Motion). Plaintiff applied for the position and submitted a resume. Pl. Dep. 37. Plaintiff's resume stated that he held a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mississippi State University. Pl. Resumé (Ex. C to Def. Motion); Pl. Dep. 23, 37. Melvin Henry, Director of Maintenance, and Yolanda George, Custodial Manager, selected Plaintiff for an interview. Pl. Dep. 38; Henry Dep. 6 (Ex. D to Def. Motion).

         Mr. Henry and Ms. George interviewed Plaintiff, and Mr. Henry ultimately selected Plaintiff for the position. Pl. Dep. 39-40; Henry Dep. 8, 11; Email Dated Mar. 22, 2016 (Ex. E to Def. Motion). In light of Plaintiff's education and experience, Mr. Henry requested the District implement a special salary action so Plaintiff would receive a higher salary. Email Dated Mar. 22, 2016. At Mr. Henry's request, the District offered Plaintiff the position at the top of the pay scale. Pl. Dep. 45; Offer Letter (Ex. F to Def. Motion). Plaintiff accepted the District's job offer, and he began work on May 2, 2016. Offer Letter.

         In addition to this position, Plaintiff was also an Apostolic Pentecostal Minister. Pl. Aff. ¶ 5 (Ex. 1 to Pl. Resp.). George was aware of Plaintiff's Apostolic Pentecostal Ministry and commented once that she believed his faith unacceptably subordinated the role of women. Pl. Aff. ¶ 7.

         As with all the District's new employees, Plaintiff's initial six months of employment was a probationary period. Pl. Dep. 43; Employee Handbook p. 28 (Ex. A to Def. Motion); Offer Letter. The District issued Plaintiff an Employee Handbook (Handbook). Pl. Dep. 46-48; Employee Handbook. The Handbook explained the probationary period was not a guarantee of employment for any particular period of time: “[a]n employee may be terminated at any time during the probationary period if the department head believes the employee is not capable of performing the assigned duties in a satisfactory manner.” Employee Handbook p. 28. Plaintiff understood that his probationary period was a “trial period” and that he would have to “meet the District requirements during that time as far as job skills and doing the work that is needed and required.” Pl. Dep. 43.

         At the beginning of Plaintiff's employment, the District provided Plaintiff with the job description for the Area Custodial Supervisor position. Pl. Dep. 43-44. Plaintiff's job duties included, among other things, supervising custodial staff, conducting custodial audits, providing training and guidance to building coordinators, and managing supply inventories. Area Custodial Supervisor Job Description (Ex. G to Def. Motion); Pl. Dep. 46-47. Ms. George asked Plaintiff to identify any duties for which he needed additional training. Pl. Dep. 52-53. Plaintiff stated he was capable of performing all duties other than calculating payroll for temporary employees. Pl. Dep. 52-53. Ms. George provided additional training to Plaintiff on calculating payroll for temporary employees. Pl. Dep. 52-53. Plaintiff did not request any additional training. Pl. Dep. 52-53.

         Plaintiff was one of three Area Custodial Supervisors who were responsible for supervising approximately 300 of the District's custodial staff. Pl. Dep. 45-46. The other two Area Custodial Supervisors, Jacquence Porter and Derais Thorpe, had been employed with the District for many years and had years of experience in the custodial department. Pl. Dep. 45-46; Henry Dep. 15-17; George Dep. 15-16 (Ex. H to Def. Motion). The District placed Plaintiff in on-the-job training (OJT) with Mr. Porter and Ms. Thorpe. George Dep. 15-16; Email dated Nov. 15, 2016 (Ex. I to Def. Motion). Mr. Porter and Ms. Thorpe trained Plaintiff on the daily duties of the position, including making assessments about cleaning the schools, interacting with the custodial leaders at the schools, and evaluating the necessary equipment for the jobs. Pl. Dep. 48-49. Plaintiff remained in OJT with Mr. Porter and Ms. Thorpe during his entire three-month tenure with the District. George Dep. 21.

         Approximately 30 days into Plaintiff's OJT, Mr. Porter and Ms. Thorpe asked to meet with Mr. Henry regarding Plaintiff's performance. Henry Dep. 15-17; Email dated Nov. 15, 2016. Mr. Porter and Ms. Thorpe told Mr. Henry that Plaintiff lacked the custodial knowledge and supervisory experience to successfully transition into the Custodial Area Supervisor position. Henry Dep. 15-17; Email dated Nov. 15, 2016. They were “extremely concerned about [Plaintiff's] non-progression” during the first 30 days of OJT. Henry 16:19-22. They were also concerned about Plaintiff's ability to retain the information he received in OJT and apply it across the District. Emailed dated Nov. 15, 2016. After further discussion about Plaintiff's future with the District, Mr. Porter and Ms. Thorpe agreed to continue working with Plaintiff “in hopes of helping him catch on.” Email dated Nov. 15, 2016; Henry Dep. 17 (“They decided at that point to continue the training to see if they can get him to catch on and progressed - progress at a level that they needed. So, we continued the training at that point.”).

         On July 19, 2016, Ms. George met with Plaintiff regarding his performance. Evaluation Form (Ex. K to Def. Motion). Ms. George completed an evaluation form that addressed 25 performance factors. Evaluation Form. Ms. George rated Plaintiff as “Not Satisfactory” in 13 of the 25 performance factors. Evaluation Form. In the comments portion of the evaluation, Ms. George noted, among other things, the following about Plaintiff:

• Does not have enough knowledge to provide needed customer service.
• Admitted to not being fully honest about his skills. Has never supervised at this level. Many of the job ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.