United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama, Middle Division
November 5, 2014
VICTOR SHAWN COLE, Plaintiff
PILGRIMS PRIDE, Defendant
Victor Shawn Cole, Plaintiff, Pro se, Albertville, AL.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
HARWELL G. DAVIS, III, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Plaintiff, Victor Shawn Cole, proceeding pro se, has filed a complaint against Pilgrims Pride. (Doc. 1). He also has filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and to Appoint Counsel. (Doc. 2). The complaint is before the court for initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
Plaintiff's complaint alleges that he was denied employment with defendant based on his criminal history. He further alleges that defendant's employment application stated employment would not be denied based on history. Plaintiff alleges that he interviewed with someone named April, who advised him that she would have to get it approved. However, April later told plaintiff that defendant could not hire him because of his criminal history. As relief, plaintiff asks the court to order a " legal right to permanent employment at Pilgrims Pride" and monetary damages. (Doc. 1 at 3).
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Keene Corp. v. United States, 508 U.S. 200, 207, 113 S.Ct. 2035, 2040, 124 L.Ed.2d 118 (1993); Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. 673, 692, 106 S.Ct. 1431, 1442, 89 L.Ed.2d 674 (1986); Taylor v. Appleton, 30 F.3d 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994). As the Supreme Court has stated, " the Court early in its history wisely adopted a presumption that every federal court is without jurisdiction unless the contrary affirmatively appears from the record." Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. at 692, 106 S.Ct. at 1442 (internal citations and marks omitted). The court must determine if there is a legal basis for plaintiff's complaint over which this court may exercise jurisdiction.
Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., provides in relevant part:
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer -
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or
(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Plaintiff is not claiming that defendant refused to hire him on the basis of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Therefore, he has failed to state a claim pursuant to Title VII.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq., provides in relevant part:
It shall be unlawful for an employer-
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's age;
(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual's age; or
(3) to reduce the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with this chapter.
29 U.S.C. § 623(a). Plaintiff is not claiming that defendant refused to hire him on the basis of his age. Therefore, he has failed to state a claim pursuant to the ADEA.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12111, et seq., provides in relevant part:
No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). Having a felony criminal conviction does not qualify as a " disability" under the ADA. See West v. Prudential Ins. Co. Of America, 462 Fed.Appx. 170 (3rd Cir. 2011). Therefore, plaintiff has failed to state a claim pursuant to the ADA.
Alabama is an at-will employment state, meaning that an employer can refuse to hire a prospective employee, or to discharge an employee for any reason, good or bad, or even for no reason at all. See Bell v . South Central Bell, 564 So.2d 46 (Ala. 1990). The only limitation on the at-will employment doctrine, apart from the above-quoted provisions of federal law, is for implied contracts arising out of the use of an employee handbook. In Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. v. Campbell, 512 So.2d 725 (Ala. 1987), Alabama adopted the position taken by a number of other jurisdictions, that the provisions of an employee handbook can become a binding unilateral contract, thereby altering an employment relationship's at-will status. However, Hoffman-La Roche " also recognized that not all employer communications would justify such treatment. Rather, only those employer communications meeting the traditional requirements for the formation of a unilateral contract--an offer, communication, acceptance, and consideration--will bind the parties." Ex parte Amoco Fabrics & Fibers Co.., 729 So.2d 336, 339 (Ala. 1998). In this case, defendant never offered a job to plaintiff. Further, that the employment application may have stated that an applicant's history would not result in denial of a job does not equate to an implied contract. Therefore, there was no contract which would alter the at-will employment doctrine applicable to the facts of this case.
Based on the foregoing, it is RECOMMENDED that plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and to Appoint Counsel be DENIED. It is further RECOMMENDED that plaintiff's claims be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); Morrison v. Allstate Indem. Co., 228 F.3d 1255, 1261 (11th Cir. 2000) (" [Lower federal courts are empowered to hear only cases for which there has been a congressional grant of jurisdiction, and once a court determines that there has been no grant that covers a particular case, the court's sole remaining act is to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.") (citing University of South Alabama v. American Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 409-10 (11th Cir. 1999)).
Notice of Right to Object
The parties are DIRECTED to file any objections to this Report and Recommendation within a period of fourteen (14) days from the date of entry. Any objections filed must specifically identify the findings in the magistrate judge's recommendation objected to. Frivolous, conclusive, or general objections will not be considered by the district court.
Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations of the magistrate judge's report shall bar the party from a de novo determination by the district court of issues covered in the report and shall bar the party from attacking on appeal factual findings in the report accepted or adopted by the district court except on grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. Unit B 1982). See Stein v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 33 (11th Cir. 1982). See also Bonner v. Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th Cir. 1981) ( en banc ), adopting as binding precedent all of the decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close of business on September 30, 1981.