United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
CLYDE C. McGUIRE, Plaintiff,
G4S SECURE SOLUTIONS, Defendant.
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
employment discrimination action, plaintiff Clyde C. McGuire
claims that his former employer, defendant G4S Secure
Solutions or G4S, discriminated and retaliated against him on
the basis of his race in violation of Title VII and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981. Mr. McGuire is African-American. He contends
that G4S paid him less than a similarly-situated Caucasian
employee who held the same position as Mr. McGuire and had
less experience than Mr. McGuire. Mr. McGuire also alleges
that G4S suspended him and ultimately terminated his
employment in retaliation for his complaints about
moved for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 19). The company argues that
it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on all of Mr.
McGuire's claims. For the reasons stated below, the Court
grants summary judgment with respect to Mr. McGuire's pay
discrimination claim and denies summary judgment with respect
to Mr. McGuire's retaliation claim.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
court shall grant summary judgment 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). To demonstrate that there is a genuine
dispute as to a material fact that precludes summary
judgment, a party opposing a motion for summary judgment must
cite “to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). “The court need consider only
the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in
the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).
considering a summary judgment motion, the Court must view
the evidence in the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draw reasonable inferences in favor of
the non-moving party. White v. Beltram Edge Tool Supply,
Inc., 789 F.3d 1188, 1191 (11th Cir. 2015). The Court
presents the evidence in this opinion accordingly.
the movant bears the burden of proof on an issue, because, as
a defendant, it is asserting an affirmative defense, it must
establish that there is no genuine issue of material fact as
to any element of that defense.” International
Stamp Art, Inc. v. U.S. Postal Service, 456 F.3d 1270,
1274 (11th Cir. 2006).
provides security-related products and services to its
clients. The products and services include risk consulting
and investigations, systems integration, security software
and technology, and security officers. (Doc. 18-46, ¶
2). G4S divides its national operations by region and by
local offices. (Doc. 18-46, ¶ 3). One of G4S's local
offices is located in Birmingham, Alabama. (Doc. 18-46,
¶ 3). G4S has a satellite office in Huntsville, Alabama.
January 2015, Mr. McGuire applied for a field supervisor
position at ¶ 4S's Birmingham, Alabama office. (Doc.
18-2, p. 12; Doc. 18-46, ¶ 4). Area supervisors Leslie
Vandiver and Tyler Gray interviewed Mr. McGuire. (Doc. 18-2,
pp. 12-14; Doc. 18-3, p. 51). Mr. McGuire did not get the job
because G4S already had hired someone for the field
supervisor position, but Ms. Vandiver and Mr. Gray were so
impressed with Mr. McGuire's experience that they
suggested he speak to operations manager Bob Kincaid and
general manager Jacob Pugh. (Doc. 18-2, pp. 14-15). Mr. Pugh
told Mr. McGuire that G4S would keep his (Mr. McGuire's)
resume on file and call him if another position became
available. (Doc. 18-2, p. 15; Doc. 18-46, ¶ 4).
April 2015, Mr. Kincaid and Mr. Pugh called Mr. McGuire and
told him that G4S had an opening for an area supervisor
position. (Doc. 18-2, pp. 15-16; Doc. 18-46, ¶ 5). Mr.
Kincaid and Mr. Pugh interviewed Mr. McGuire and hired him
for the position. (Doc. 18-2, p. 16). When he started the job
on May 13, 2015, G4S set Mr. McGuire's salary at $33, 000
per year. (Doc. 18-2, pp. 39-40; see also Doc.
18-13, p. 1). Mr. McGuire tried to negotiate a higher
salary, but Mr. Kincaid told Mr. McGuire that G4S
“didn't have any wiggle room, but we would look at
it [again] maybe after 90 days or 120 days.” (Doc.
18-2, p. 22). Mr. McGuire did not receive a raise while he
worked for G4S. (Doc. 18-2, p. 39).
area supervisor, Mr. McGuire managed between 150 and 200 G4S
security officers assigned to between 12 and 18 client sites
across the state of Alabama. (Doc. 18-2, pp. 23, 47-48; Doc.
18-46, ¶ 6). Mr. McGuire was responsible for payroll,
scheduling, hiring officers at his sites, visiting the client
sites, and providing training to site officers and site
supervisors. (Doc. 18-2, p. 23). Mr. McGuire understood that
a good area supervisor is “[s]omeone that's
attentive to the customers' needs, the officers'
needs. Someone that understands the business and how . . . it
runs. . . . Someone that's professional.” (Doc.
18-2, pp. 26-27).
three months after G4S hired Mr. McGuire, the company hired
Matthew McDonald as an area supervisor in the Huntsville,
Alabama office. (Doc. 18-46, ¶ 12). Mr. McDonald is
Caucasian. (Doc. 18-46, ¶ 12). On August 12, 2015, a
Wednesday, Mr. McGuire picked up Mr. McDonald's new hire
paperwork from a shared printer. (Doc. 18-3, pp. 19, 39; Doc.
18-46, ¶ 16). Mr. McGuire learned that G4S offered to
pay Mr. McDonald $37, 440 per year, $4, 440 more than Mr.
McGuire's annual salary for the same position. (Doc.
18-3, p. 40; Doc. 18-46, ¶ 14; see also Doc.
18-13, p. 1; Doc. 18-26, p. 1).
following day, Mr. McGuire asked Mr. Pugh “why [Mr.
McDonald] was getting offered more money for the same
position when I had asked for that same salary or
higher.” (Doc. 18-3, p. 19; see also Doc.
18-3, pp. 39-41). Mr. Pugh told Mr. McGuire that G4S set Mr.
McDonald's salary in part based on Economic Research
Institute or ESI salary assessor data for jobs located in the
Huntsville, Alabama market. (Doc. 18-3, pp. 40-41; Doc.
18-25; Doc. 18-46, ¶¶ 13-14). Mr. Pugh explained
that “based on the Huntsville area and the market . . .
they needed to have a higher salary to get a better quality
candidate.” (Doc. 18-3, p. 40). Based on Google
research, Mr. McGuire believes that the cost of living in
Birmingham and Huntsville is “pretty much the
same.” (Doc. 18-3, p. 42).
Pugh also told Mr. McGuire that G4S paid more money to Mr.
McDonald because the Huntsville area supervisor “does
not have overhead assistance readily available” like
the area supervisors in Birmingham. (Doc. 18-46, ¶ 14;
see also Doc. 18-3, p. 43). According to Mr.
McGuire, the Huntsville area supervisor “did have
support” because “any time that he needed
anything, he'd call down and talk with HR, talk with ops,
talk with payroll, and they would take care of things . . .
for that office.” (Doc. 18-3, p. 43). After Mr. McGuire
questioned Mr. Pugh about the pay difference, Mr. Pugh said
that “he would talk to his boss and see what he could
do about [Mr. McGuire's] pay.” (Doc. 18-3, p. 44).
record shows that in the six days following Mr. McGuire's
inquiry about the salary discrepancy, five G4S employees who
Mr. McGuire supervised submitted complaints about him. At
least one of the complaints seems to have been solicited.
According to Mr. McGuire, these were the first complaints
that G4S employees made about him.
after Mr. McGuire asked Mr. Pugh about the salary
discrepancy, Mr. Pugh spent the “whole day” in
Angela Warf's office. (Doc. 18-3, p. 20; see
Doc. 18-3, p. 57). Ms. Warf is the human resources manager in
G4S's Birmingham office. (Doc. 18-2, p. 59). Ms. Vandiver
told Mr. McGuire that Mr. Pugh and Ms. Warf probably were
“in a closed-door meeting about” Mr. McGuire and
that Mr. McGuire probably would be “terminated or
suspended because [he] questioned [Mr. Pugh] about the guy in
Huntsville.” (Doc. 18-3, p. 58).
undated written statement, Rick Bailes, a G4S site supervisor
at DCH Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, reported events
regarding a phone conversation that he had with Mr. McGuire
the morning after Mr. McGuire asked Mr. Pugh about the salary
discrepancy. (Doc. 18-18, p. 1; Doc. 18-46, ¶ 20). Mr.
Bailes stated that Mr. McGuire had been “very rude and
uncooperative” and “had a very bade
attitude” during the phone call. (Doc. 18-18, p. 1).
When Mr. Bailes saw Mr. McGuire at the Birmingham office
later in the day, Mr. McGuire accused Mr. Bailes of being
rude. (Doc. 18-18, p. 1). Mr. Bailes apologized for the
misunderstanding, and Mr. McGuire walked away without saying
anything. (Doc. 18-18, p. 1). In his written statement, Mr.
Bailes expressed concern that Mr. McGuire's “poor
attitude and unprofessionalism” could “affect
[G4S's] clients.” (Doc. 18-18, p. 1). Until his
deposition, Mr. McGuire had not seen Mr. Bailes's
statement. (Doc. 18-2, p. 61).
August 17, 2015, two G4S employees corresponded with G4S
about Mr. McGuire. William DelGrosso, a site supervisor for
G4S at Alagasco, wrote Mr. Pugh a letter. (Doc. 18-19). The
subject line of the letter is “Repeated Disciplinary
Write-ups by Area Supervisor Clyde McGuire.” (Doc.
18-19, p. 1). The letter explains that Mr. DelGrosso had made
Mr. Pugh aware of an employee complaint about Mr. McGuire,
and Mr. DelGrosso believed that Mr. McGuire disciplined him
(Mr. DelGrosso) in retaliation for forwarding the complaint
to management. (Doc. 18-19, p. 1). Mr. DelGrosso questioned
whether it was “[Mr. McGuire]'s way or the highway,
” and Mr. DelGrosso stated that Mr. McGuire
“cannot mask his feelings when he is unhappy.”
(Doc. 18-19, p. 2).
Bullock, a G4S security officer who worked at Alagasco, sent
an email to Ms. Warf on August 17, 2015. (Doc. 18-20). In her
email, Ms. Bullock stated that on July 31, 2015, Mr. McGuire
contacted her and told her that she should have worked the
third shift alone on July 30, 2015. (Doc. 18-20, p. 1). Ms.
Bullock told Mr. McGuire that she did not know that she was
supposed to work the shift alone because Mr. McGuire did not
“inform [her] of this during [her] time in the office
when [she] was getting her schedule.” (Doc. 18-20, p.
1). Ms. Bullock's letter documents other scheduling
misunderstandings between she and Mr. McGuire that occurred
between July 31, 2015 and the middle of August 11, 2015.
(Doc. 18-20, pp. 1-2). Ms. Bullock explained that during one
of their conversations in early August, Mr. McGuire was
“highly unprofessional and hostile.” (Doc. 18-20,
August 19, 2015, John Chandler, a site supervisor for G4S at
St. Vincent's Hospital, sent an email to Mr. Pugh. (Doc.
18-22). The email begins with the following
statement: “You asked me if I had any issues with [Mr.
McGuire] while serving as the Site Supervisor at St.
Vincent's.” (Doc. 18-22, p.
Chandler's email continues:
I feel that [Mr. McGuire] does not communicate well with me.
I do not know if it is an issue of he does not read his
emails or that he does not grasp what you are telling him. He
does become rather aggressive if you question him about
(Doc. 18-22, p. 1). Mr. Chandler's email documents four
specific examples of “issues” that he had had
with Mr. McGuire. (Doc. 18-22, p. 1). Mr. Chandler noted that
“it has been frustrating working with [Mr. McGuire]
these past few months.” (Doc. 18-22, p. 1).
August 19, 2015, Burl Murrell, a G4S security officer, spoke
with Ms. Warf and informed her of “2 separate incidents
regarding the way he was treated by [Mr.] McGuire.”
(Doc. 18-23). Mr. Murrell reported that Mr. McGuire was
“very rude” on two separate occasions when Mr.
Murrell requested time off from work. (Doc. 18-23, p. 1).
this flurry of complaints amassed, on August 17, 2015, Mr.
Kincaid called Mr. McGuire and asked him to come to Mr.
Pugh's office for a meeting. (Doc. 18-3, pp. 20, 56).
During the meeting, Mr. Kincaid, Mr. Pugh, and Ms. Warf told
Mr. McGuire that G4S was suspending him with pay pending an
investigation into employee complaints that Mr. McGuire had
been rude to them. (Doc. 18-3, pp. 15, 20, 54-56; Doc. 18-47,
p. 4). Mr. Kincaid, Mr. Pugh, and Ms. Warf did not show Mr.
McGuire documentation or evidence of the employee complaints
during the meeting on August 17, 2015. (Doc. 18-3, p.
his meeting with Mr. Kincaid, Mr. Pugh, and Ms. Warf, Mr.
McGuire filed an EEOC charge alleging race discrimination and
retaliation. (Doc. 18-30, p. 1). The charge is dated August
17, 2015. (Doc. 18-30, p. 1). After his suspension, Mr.
McGuire tried to call G4S's Vice President of Diversity
and Inclusion Pattie Marmon. (Doc. 18-4, p. 69; Doc. 18-21,
p. 2). Mr. McGuire left three or four messages for Ms.
Marmon, but she did not return his calls. (Doc. 18-4, p. 67).
August 18, 2015, Mr. McGuire called G4S's employee
concerns hotline and spoke with Violet Taylor. (Doc. 18-2, p.
Mr. McGuire told Ms. Taylor that he believed his suspension
was related to his discussion with Mr. Pugh about Mr.
McDonald's salary. (Doc. 18-2, p. 46). Mr. McGuire
explained to Ms. Taylor that he had not heard about the
employee complaints against him until he asked Mr. Pugh about
Mr. McDonald's salary. (Doc. 18-2, p. 46). Ms. Taylor
told Mr. McGuire that she would ask Mr. Pugh and Mr. Kincaid
about the situation. (Doc. 18-2, p. 46). Mr. McGuire did not
hear back from Ms. Taylor. (Doc. 18-2, p. 47). Mr. McGuire
tried to call Ms. Taylor “two or three times to find
out if she had [heard] anything back, ” but Ms. Taylor
did not return Mr. McGuire's calls. (Doc. 18-2, p. 47).
opened a case file concerning Mr. McGuire's hotline
complaint. (Doc. 18-21). The case summary contains an August
17, 2015 entry from Ms. Marmon to Ms. Taylor. (Doc. 18-21, p.
3). The entry reads:
Hi Violet, This is in follow-up to my voicemail. I have
something of a conundrum in Birmingham. On Friday, Jacob Pugh
and Angie Warf attempted to contact me regarding an
“issue” with a relatively new supervisor, Clyde
McGuire. Since I was out of the office they spoke with
Melinda. Jacob advised Melinda (and later me) that Clyde is
outstanding at his job duties but has an “attitude
problem” and that he is rude to his subordinates, rude
to the HR Manager Angie, and generally causing dissension in
the office. [Mr. Pugh] was weighing whether or not to
terminate [Mr. McGuire], since he was new or to put him on a
performance improvement plan. When I spoke with Jacob today I
gave him a third option. I said since he has been receiving
complaints about Clyde, he should consider placing him on
paid administrative leave for a few days while he looks into
the employee complaints as that is typically our general
practice. Jacob chose this option. After he suspended Clyde,
Jacob sent me the email below. In the interim Clyde has
contacted me and I just got off the phone with him. He feels
very strongly that Jacob suspended him in retaliation for
having brought what he felt like was a pay disparity to his
attention. He also felt it was unfair to be suspended when he
did not even know what he did wrong, and further claimed that
about three weeks ago Jacob mentioned he had received a
complaint about Clyde's manner, but at the time Jacob
brushed it off saying he understood that was just Clyde's
way of talking. He feels that Jacob is bringing up old stuff
as an excuse to suspend him. I'd really like another set
of eyes on this. Also, since Clyde has mentioned the pay
issue to me as well I think it belongs in the Honor system.
Clyde's number is . I've left a message for Jacob
to call me and I plan to tell him that Clyde has stated this
concern so it will be assigned to the Honor system. Thank
(Doc. 18-21, p. 3).
email from Mr. Pugh to which Ms. Mormon referred in her
message to Ms. Taylor is dated August 17, 2015. The message
We spoke with [Mr. McGuire]. It went about as expected. He
disagrees that he has an attitude problem and that it's
everyone else's fault.
Early last week he found out what another supervisor's
pay was. He saw a 222A form on the printer about the pay and
he confronted me. The other supervisor operates a satellite
office in another part of the state, the pay is justified
based on the ERI. [Mr. McGuire] feels that this whole thing
is in retaliation of him confronting me. That may be why he
wanted to talk to you.
(Doc. 18-21, p. 1).
case summary regarding Mr. McGuire's hotline complaint
contains an August 18, 2015 message to Ms. Taylor. (Doc.
18-21, p. 3). The message is marked
“CONFIDENTIAL.” The message reads:
Hi Violet. This is to notify you that we have received a
complaint via the Employment Concerns Hotline (ECH). We have
guaranteed the complainant that his or her confidentiality
will be respected by all parties and that there will be no
retaliation. G4S requires that you conduct a fact finding
review of this complaint, even if the complaint was
anonymous. Further, you must submit your findings to
Corporate Human Resources prior [to] September 8, 2015.
(Note: Persons who have been named in the complaint must not
conduct this review.) Upon conclusion of your review of the
complaint, please prepare and submit a report with the
following information: - A summary of what you learned from
your interview of the person who made the complaint and of
each person named in the complaint (Note: Use your own
judgment relative to if you should conduct an in-person or
phone interview. It is highly recommended, however, that the
interview of the complainant be made in person.) - Any
documents obtained - ...