United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
D. LAND CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Willis was an employee at the commissary at Fort Benning,
Georgia. He claims that he was discriminated against because
of his race (“Black”), color (“Dark
Skin”), gender (“Male”), religion
(“Christian”), age (56 at the time of the alleged
discrimination), and in retaliation for complaining of
unlawful employment discrimination. Compl. §§ I.C
& I.D., ECF No. 1. The Government filed a motion for
judgment on the pleadings or, in the alternative, motion for
summary judgment. Because the Government relies on matters
outside the pleadings in support of its motion, the Court
construes it as a motion for summary judgment. That motion
(ECF No. 12) is granted.
judgment may be granted only “if 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 a genuine
dispute of material fact exists to defeat a motion
for summary judgment, the evidence is viewed in the light
most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment,
drawing all justifiable inferences in the opposing
party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A fact is material if it
is relevant or necessary to the outcome of the suit.
Id. at 248. A factual dispute is genuine if
the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.
accordance with the Court's local rules, the Government
submitted a statement of undisputed material facts with its
summary judgment motion. See M.D. Ga. R. 56
(requiring statement of material facts that is supported by
the record). Willis, who is proceeding pro se, received a
notice regarding the significance of the Government's
summary judgment motion and of his opportunity to respond to
the motion and statement of material facts. Notice to Pro Se
Party of Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 15. Though Willis filed a
response brief and one attachment, he did not respond to the
Government's statement of material facts. Therefore, the
Government's statement of material facts is deemed
admitted pursuant to Local Rule 56. See M.D. Ga. R.
56 (“All material facts contained in the movant's
statement which are not specifically controverted by specific
citation to particular parts of materials in the record shall
be deemed to have been admitted, unless otherwise
inappropriate.”). The Court reviewed the
Government's citations to the record to determine if a
genuine factual dispute exists. See Reese v.
Herbert, 527 F.3d 1253, 1269 (11th Cir. 2008). Willis
did submit, as part of his brief, a statement of facts with
citations to “Investigative File.” The
investigative file is not part of the present record, so the
Court cannot verify Willis's citations to it.
is a black man who was born in 1959. He is a Christian. In
June 2014, he received a temporary appointment as a store
worker at the Fort Benning commissary. His immediate
supervisor was Phyllis Chenault. Willis asserts that he was
discriminated against during his employment in two ways.
Willis claims that he was not paid for three days while he
was serving on jury duty. Willis Dep. 26:13-18, 26:24-27:1,
ECF No. 14. Willis was not scheduled to work at the
commissary on those three days. Id. He asserts that
a black woman named Wanda was paid for her time on jury duty.
Willis Dep. 29:3-18. There is no evidence that Wanda was
not scheduled to work at the commissary on the days
when she had jury duty.
Willis contends that his supervisor refused to grant him
religious accommodations on Sundays. Willis knew when he was
hired that he might have to work on Sundays. He asked his
supervisor if he could “come in a little later on
Sunday” so that he could attend Sunday School before
work. Id. 39:8-11. Willis was scheduled to work on
Sundays beginning at 11:00 a.m. Mot. for Summ. J. Attach. 5,
Time Cards, ECF No. 12-5.
filed an “EEO complaint” on December 5, 2014 and
told Chenault about it the same day. Compl. 5; Willis Dep.
63:6-24. According to Willis, Chenault began making negative
comments about him the next day. Willis was terminated on
January 16, 2015. In her termination memo, Chenault stated
that Willis (1) “disturbed other employees while they
were working, even after [he was] told not to do so” on
December 5, 2014; (2) was unable to fill his section of the
produce case in a timely manner and that another employee had
to be assigned to help on December 20, 2014; and (3) failed
to follow instructions when he was asked to help move pallets
on December 22, 2014. Memo to L. Willis from P. Chenault
(Jan. 16, 2015), ECF No. 12-3 [hereinafter “Termination
Memo”]. Chenault further stated that Willis was
counseled regarding his conduct and performance but did not
improve. Id. Finally, Chenault stated that
Willis's “conduct adversely affects the efficiency
of [the commissary's] service and will not be tolerated.
Therefore, for the efficiency of the service, your
appointment is being terminated.” Id.
filed an administrative action claiming discrimination and
retaliation. After an administrative law judge dismissed his
complaint, Willis filed this action.
Willis's Discrimination Claims
claims of discrimination based on race, color, gender, and
religion arise under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17. To prove
these claims, Willis must establish that the Government
discriminated against him in the terms and conditions of his
employment because of his “race, color, religion, [or]
sex” or that “race, color, religion, [or] sex . .
. was a motivating factor” behind the employer's
decision. 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2(a)(1), 2000e-2(m).
Willis's age discrimination claim arises under the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§
621-634. To prove that claim, Willis must show that the
Government discriminated against him in the terms and
conditions of his employment “because of [his]
age.” 29 U.S.C. § 623(a)(1). Willis did not
present evidence or even allege any facts to suggest that the
Government discriminated ...