United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. ROGERS, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
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. 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
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).
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.
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. ¶
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.
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.
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.
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.”).
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
• Admitted to not being fully honest about his skills.
Has never supervised at this level. Many of the job