United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
employment discrimination action, Plaintiff Khalil Williams
claims that his former employer, Defendant Housing
Opportunities for Persons with Exceptionalities
(“HOPE”), terminated his employment because he is
African-American. Mr. Williams asserts Title VII and 42
U.S.C. § 1981 race discrimination claims against HOPE.
the court is HOPE's motion for summary judgment. (Doc.
16). The parties have fully briefed the motion. (Docs. 17,
19, 20). For the reasons explained below, the court GRANTS
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). “The moving party bears the initial
burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute of
material fact.” FindWhat Inv'r Grp. v.
FindWhat.com, 658 F.3d 1282, 1307 (11th Cir. 2011)
(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986)). A “material fact” is one that
“might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
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); see
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252 (“[A] party opposing a
properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest
upon mere allegation or denials of his pleading, but must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. Baas v. Fewless, 886 F.3d 1088,
1091 (11th Cir. 2018). The court “may not weigh
conflicting evidence or make credibility determinations of
its own.” FindWhat Inv'r Grp., 658 F.3d at
1307. “If the record presents disputed issues of fact,
the court may not decide them; rather, it must deny the
motion and proceed to trial.” Id. at 1307.
Williams is African-American. (Doc. 18-1, p. 59). He worked
for HOPE on two separate occasions. HOPE Executive Director
Debra Sokol originally hired Mr. Williams in 2000. (Doc.
18-1, p. 5). Mr. Williams left HOPE in 2006 to pursue other
career opportunities. (Doc. 18-1, p. 4). Ms. Sokol hired Mr.
Williams again in 2011, and Mr. Williams worked for HOPE
until May 2016. (Doc. 18-1, pp. 5-6; Doc. 18-3, p. 6).
returned to HOPE in 2011, Mr. Williams worked as a Direct
Care Provider at a group home that HOPE operated for three
autistic and mentally challenged adults. (Doc. 18-1, p. 8).
As a Direct Care Manager, Mr. Williams assisted the residents
with daily activities, including household chores, personal
grooming, meal preparation, and transportation to social
activities and doctor's appointments. (Doc. 18-1, pp. 8,
26). Mr. Williams also was Medication Administration
Certified (MAC) which meant that he could administer
medication to the group home residents. (Doc. 18-1, p. 7).
Williams was regularly scheduled to work at the group home on
Friday evenings from 10:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. and on
Saturday and Sunday evenings from 8:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m.
(Doc. 18-1, p. 7). When he was on duty, Mr. Williams was the
only HOPE staff person at the group home. (Doc. 18-1, p. 8).
Sokol was Mr. Williams's supervisor during both periods
of employment. (Doc. 18-1, p. 5). Mr. Williams received
positive performance reviews and was not subject to
disciplinary action or any kind of adverse performance
review. (Doc. 18-1, p. 8). Mr. Williams “had no major
issues” with Ms. Sokol before HOPE terminated his
employment. (Doc. 18-1, p. 7).
Williams believes that his relationship with Ms. Sokol
suffered after he performed a side job for Ms. Sokol. (Doc.
18-1, pp. 21, 25). Sometime shortly before his employment
with HOPE ended, Ms. Sokol hired Mr. Williams to repaint the
deck on her home. (Doc. 18-1, p. 21). According to Mr.
Williams, Ms. Sokol told him that he could not use the
restroom inside her house while he was working on the deck,
but he could go to the bathroom outside. (Doc. 18-1, p. 21).
Mr. Williams ended up driving to a nearby McDonald's to
use the restroom. (Doc. 18-1, p. 82).
Mr. Williams completed the deck project, Ms. Sokol noticed
that Mr. Williams had not painted the cracks between the deck
boards. (Doc. 18-1, pp. 22-23). Mr. Williams offered to paint
between the deck boards for an additional $100.00. (Doc.
18-1, p. 22). Ms. Sokol declined the offer, and she paid Mr.
Williams the full amount to which they originally agreed ...