United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL United States District Judge.
Keneth Clark alleges race discrimination, hostile work
environment, retaliation, and Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) claims against his former employer,
Defendant Association of Classified Employees/American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local
2250 (“Local 2250”). Defendant has filed a Motion
for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 21. No. hearing is necessary.
See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the following reasons,
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in
part and denied in part.
a black male, began working for Defendant during the summer
of 2012 to perform scanning and clerical work. ECF No. 22-1
¶¶ 1-2. Plaintiff was paid by the hour, and was not
given holiday pay, vacation leave, sick leave, or health
benefits. ECF No. 21-2 ¶ 8. He typically worked forty
hours or more each week. ECF No. 22-1 ¶ 2. Over time,
Plaintiff took on additional job duties, including
“clerical responsibilities, painting, setting up and
staging rooms for meetings, maintenance tasks at the
Union's building, maintaining and assisting with the
Union website, helping with membership databases and various
‘as needed' or odd jobs.” Id. ¶
3. Plaintiff was supervised by James Spears, Defendant's
Field Service Director. Id. ¶ 4. Plaintiff
complained on “numerous” occasions about not
receiving a full benefits package, and not being paid the
appropriate hourly rate when working holidays, weekends, and
overtime. Id. Plaintiff's complaints were not
resolved during the tenure of his employment. Id.
Plaintiff was hired, Daniel Besseck served as Defendant's
Executive Director. ECF No. 21-2 ¶ 6. But in October
2013, Besseck left this job and Wanda Twigg, a white female,
replaced him. Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiff also
complained to her about his lack of benefits, holiday pay,
and overtime pay. ECF No. 21-1 ¶ 6.
contends that Ms. Twigg made several comments evincing
“disdain and animus for African Americans.”
Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiff claims that on more than one
occasion, she referred to largely Black groups of people as
“you people” in a generalizing and disdainful
way. Id; ECF No. 22-5 ¶ 6. Plaintiff also
complains about other “rude and unprofessional”
comments Ms. Twigg made to him. ECF No. 21-1 ¶ 9. In his
deposition, Plaintiff explained that Ms. Twigg made
“implied racial comments” on a
“daily” basis. ECF No. 22-2 at 51. He claims that
she treated “the few white employees kinder and with
less disgust and animus” than she treated the
African-American employees. ECF No. 21-1 ¶ 9. A former
member of Local 2250's Board has submitted an affidavit
claiming that Ms. Twigg said that the majority-Black Board
“acted like animals” and embarrassed her. ECF No.
22-5 ¶ 6. Plaintiff alleges that at some point Ms. Twigg
gave one African-American employee a card with monkeys on the
front. See ECF Nos. 22-1 ¶ 7, 22-5 ¶ 8.
Defendant disputes this claim, explaining that the card in
question was actually sent to Ms. Twigg by the employee. ECF
No. 21-2 at 4-7.
also attributes various other offenses to Ms. Twigg:
insubordination to the majority-Black Board-including hiring
one white employee without its consent and refusing to
discipline another white employee at the Board's
request-that eventually cost her her job; attempting to fire
another African American employee; and insulting the
intelligence of two African Americans the Board appointed to
an Insurance Committee. ECF Nos. 22-5 ¶¶ 5-7.
Plaintiff says that he complained about Ms. Twigg's
allegedly discriminatory conduct on multiple occasions, and
that his employment was terminated soon after one of these
complaints, despite the Board having directed Ms. Twigg to
extend to him a benefits package. Id. ¶ 5; ECF
No. 22-1 ¶ 11.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, summary judgment is appropriate only when
the Court, viewing the record as a whole and in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, determines that there
exists no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-24 (1986). The
burden is on the moving party to demonstrate that there
exists no genuine dispute of material fact. See Pulliam
Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir.
1987). To defeat the motion, the nonmoving party must submit
evidence showing facts sufficient for a fair-minded jury to
reasonably return a verdict for that party. See Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).
Additionally, a party must be able to put facts to be
considered in support of or opposition to a motion for
summary judgment in an admissible form. See Williams v.
Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Dep't, 86 F.Supp. 398,
407 (D. Md. 2015).
claims Defendant discriminated against him on the basis of
race, created a hostile work environment, and retaliated
against Plaintiff for his Complaints, all in violation of 42
U.S.C. § 1981. Plaintiff also claims that Defendant
failed to pay him overtime wages in violation of the FLSA, 29
U.S.C. § 207.
1981 provides, in relevant part, that “[a]ll persons
within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the
same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce
contracts ... as is enjoyed by white citizens.” 42
U.S.C. § 1981(a). The statute defines the phrase
“make and enforce contracts” as including
“the making, performance, modification, and termination
of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges,
terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.”
42 U.S.C. § 1981(b). The United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit has explained that a claim under
§ 1981 may lie in the context of an at-will employment
relationship. See Spriggs v. Diamond Auto Glass, 165
F.3d 1015, 1018-19 (4th Cir. 1999) (noting that
plaintiff's relationship with former employer,
“though terminable at will, was contractual”).
plaintiff may establish a claim for race discrimination under
§ 1981 through one of two avenues of proof: by
demonstrating through direct or circumstantial evidence that
race was a motivating factor in the employer's adverse
employment action, or by proceeding under a
“pretext” framework by demonstrating that
“the employer's proffered permissible reason for
taking an adverse employment action is actually a pretext for
discrimination.” Holland v. Washington Homes,
Inc., 487 F.3d 208, 214 (4th Cir. 2007). Under the
latter framework, advanced by Plaintiff here, the plaintiff
must make out a prima facie case by showing “(1) he is
a member of a protected class; (2) he suffered adverse
employment action; (3) he was performing his job duties at a
level that met his employer's legitimate expectations at
the time of the adverse employment action; and (4) the
position remained open or was filled by similarly qualified