United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority offered
Plaintiff Charlenia Pitts employment as a bus operator on
February 2, 2017, and she accepted on February 13. By March
27, the relationship had already soured. Ms. Pitts filed this
lawsuit alleging that BJCTA's violations of federal
employment laws are to blame. (Doc. 1).
matter now comes before the court on “Defendant
Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority's Motion
for Summary Judgment.” (Docs. 6; see also Doc.
7). In its motion, BJCTA asks this court to enter summary
judgment against Ms. Pitts' claims under the Americans
with Disabilities Act and the Title VII anti-retaliation
provision. For the reasons stated below, this court will
GRANT Defendant's motion and will ENTER JUDGMENT for
Defendant BJCTA and against Plaintiff Pitts.
Charlenia Pitts applied for a job with Defendant BJCTA on
December 9, 2016. (Doc. 7-2). BJCTA offered her a job as a
“Bus operator / Paratransit” on February 2, 2017.
Pitts underwent the required medical examination on February
13. (Doc. 7-6). As part of the medical examination, Ms. Pitts
disclosed that she had had a “car accident resulting in
back problems/pain in the past, ” but the physician
noted that her “Back/Spine” were
“Normal.” (Doc. 7-6 at 3-4). Ms. Pitts alleges in
her complaint that she discussed her previous back injury
with the examining physician but does not allege any
specifics about that conversation.
Pitts accepted the job as Bus operator / Paratransit the same
day as the physical examination. (Doc. 7-1). She signed a
document conspicuously titled “EMPLOYEE RECEIPT AND
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, ” (doc. 7-3). By virtue of signing the
acknowledgement form, Ms. Pitts indicated she understood and
acknowledged that she had received a copy and understood the
contents of the job description and that she was willing and
able to meet all the job requirements and perform all aspects
of the job. (Doc. 7-3). The official job description for a
Bus operator / Paratransit clearly states that the position
“requires ability to lift, push, pull, assist and
secure wheelchair passengers and a minimum 50lbs.”
(Doc. 7-4 at 4). Ms. Pitts alleges that she “shared
[with BJCTA] that [she] was not able to lift 50lbs at the
onset of prescreening interviewing.” (Doc. 1 at 5).
Pitts started working for BJCTA on February 20, 2017. Neither
her complaint nor her EEOC charge specifies the date she
claims to have realized the full extent of her job duties,
but upon learning that she “would have to push
wheelchairs, and sometimes lift people, [she] requested a
reasonable accommodation to transfer to a fixed route that
did not require [her] to do those things.” (Doc. 1 at
8). BJCTA denied the transfer request. (Id.).
Pitts alleges that in late March,  “a large person
without an assistant needed help adjusting her position in
her wheelchair and [Ms. Pitts] was unable to help.”
(Doc. 1 at 8). Instead of providing her an accommodation, Ms.
Pitts alleges BJCTA offered her an ultimatum-resign or accept
termination. (Doc. 1 at 5). She chose the former but has
since characterized BJCTA's actions as amounting to
constructive discharge. (Doc. 1 at 8).
Pitts timely filed her charge of discrimination with the
EEOC, alleging disability discrimination, and received her
right-to-sue letter on February 13, 2018. (Doc. 1 at 8).
Proceeding pro se, she then timely filed the action now
before the court on May 3, 2018, alleging wrongful
termination, failure to accommodate her disability, and
retaliation. (Doc. 1 at 4).
BJCTA moved for summary judgment before the case was
reassigned to the undersigned. (Doc. 6). Magistrate Judge T.
Michael Putnam ordered Ms. Pitts' response, attaching the
Northern District of Alabama's Rule 56 Notice and
Explanation. (Doc. 8). Ms. Pitts subsequently moved for an
extension of time to file her response, (doc. 10), which
Judge Putnam granted, allowing Ms. Pitts an additional month
to respond, (doc. 11). But Ms. Pitts never filed any
Standard of Review
Summary judgment allows a trial court to decide cases when no
genuine issues of material fact are present and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. When a district court
reviews a motion for summary judgment, it must determine two
things: whether any genuine issues of material fact exist,
and whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Id.
moving party “always bears the initial responsibility
of informing the district court of the basis for its motion,
and identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of