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Campbell v. Kbrwyle Technology Solutions, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

March 26, 2019




         Donna Campbell alleges that her former employer, KBRwyle Technology Solutions, LLC (“KBR”), discriminated against her because she was disabled, interfered with her ability to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and then fired her in retaliation for taking leave and/or filing an EEOC claim. KBR denies that it discriminated against Ms. Campbell or that it interfered with her FMLA rights, and maintains that it had a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for terminating her.

         Ms. Campbell asserts claims against KBR and her former supervisor, Defendant Fredran Patton, for interference and retaliation under the FMLA, discrimination and retaliation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

         Before the court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 18). As explained below, Ms. Campbell concedes that Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on her ADEA claims against both Defendants and her ADA claims against Mr. Patton. Ms. Campbell's FMLA interference claim fails because she has not established that she was prejudiced by any interference with her FMLA rights. Ms. Campbell's FMLA and ADA retaliation claims fail because she has not established a prima facie case of retaliation. And, Ms. Campbell's ADA discrimination claim fails because she has not established that she is a qualified individual with a disability. Accordingly, the court WILL GRANT Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court “draw[s] all inferences and review[s] all evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Hamilton v. Southland Christian Sch., Inc., 680 F.3d 1316, 1318 (11th Cir. 2012).

         KBR[1] provides support at the U.S. Army Depot in Anniston, Alabama (the “Depot”) for the Total Integrated Engine Revitalization (“TIGER”) Program. (See Doc. 20-1 at 17). Under its contract, KBR supplies parts and engineering services for AGT1500 engines used in M1 Abrams tanks. (Doc. 20-2 at 13, 17- 18; Doc. 1 at 4). Once the military places an order and a production schedule is issued, KBR warehouse supervisors delegate tasks to KBR employees and prioritize orders based on the team's weekly production forecast. (Doc. 20-2 at 17; Doc. 20-4 at 34-35). Approximately sixteen full-time employees staff the warehouse including engineers, quality controller managers, and order fillers. (Doc. 20-2 at 10, 12).

         The KBR warehouse at the Depot contains over 16, 000 components that make up the AGT1500 turbine engine. (Id. at 17-18, 20). Order fillers retrieve parts from storage shelves and assemble orders on the warehouse production line. (Id. at 18-19). This process requires order fillers to transport large components through the facility using golf carts, forklifts, and wave machines. (Id. at 16-17; Doc. 20-1 at 26). Order fillers are also tasked with auditing orders, maintaining inventory, conducting cycle counts, and dispatching shipments for on time delivery. (Doc. 20-4 at 36; Doc. 20-1 at 61, 64). Due to the government's continuous production demands, overtime is “part of the job” (doc. 20-2 at 24), and order fillers often have to work at least four hours of overtime every other week. (Doc. 20-2 at 15, 23-24; Doc. 19 at 4 ¶ 17).

         From 2008-2017, Ms. Campbell was employed by KBR as an order filler. (Doc. 20-1 at 15-16). During the course of her employment, Ms. Campbell suffered from a number of psychiatric conditions including bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”), and post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). (Id. at 11). Ms. Campbell was prescribed medications to treat her conditions and attended regular therapy sessions. (Id. at 18, 22).

         In February 2016, KBR hired Fredran Patton as the logistics supervisor for the warehouse. (Doc. 20-4 at 4-5). Mr. Patton was responsible for the day-to-day operations of warehouse employees and worked to ensure the team met its monthly production schedules. (Id. at 28; Doc. 20-3 at 19; Doc. 20-2 at 17, 19). Mr. Patton was Ms. Campbell's direct supervisor. (Doc. 20-4 at 10).

         In April 2016, KBR approved Ms. Campbell's request for intermittent FMLA leave to attend doctor's appointments and treat unexpected panic attacks. (Doc. 20-1 at 31-32, 156-61; Doc. 1 at 16, ¶ 86). The leave ran through October 24, 2016. (Doc. 20-1 at 156). In accordance with KBR's FMLA policy, Ms. Campbell was required to “follow normal callout procedures” while on intermittent leave. (Id. at 159, Doc. 20-4 at 68). Although the letter granting her intermittent leave gave Ms. Campbell explicit instructions for handling unforeseeable leave (doc. 20-1 at 135, 160), Ms. Campbell believed that even unforeseeable leave required that an employee give 24 hours' notice before taking leave. (Id. at 33).

         During the intermittent leave period, Ms. Campbell suffered a panic attack which resulted in a severe migraine. (Doc. 20-4 at 64-65). Although Ms. Campbell had been granted intermittent leave, she did not take it on this occasion. According to Ms. Campbell, she was “scared to take [FMLA]” due to her inability to satisfy KBR's twenty four hour notice requirement. (Id. at 64-65; Doc. 20-1 at 34). Instead, Ms. Campbell attended her regularly scheduled shift and submitted a request to take vacation leave for the following day, which KBR approved. (Doc. 20-4 at 65).

         A week later, Ms. Campbell requested full-time FMLA leave. (Doc. 20-1 at 35; Doc 20-2 at 53). KBR granted the request. (Doc. 20-1 at 35). While on fulltime leave, Ms. Campbell filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) alleging age and disability discrimination. (Doc. 20-12 at 2). In her complaint, Ms. Campbell alleged that Mr. Patton refused to provide her the necessary training to receive a promotion and that management harassed her by requiring 24 hours' notice before she could use her “reasonable accommodation (FMLA) for [her] disability.” (Id.).

         When Ms. Campbell exhausted her leave in early September, KBR granted her requests to extend leave through January 2017. (Doc 20-1 at 35-36). During this period, Ms. Campbell worked with the human resource department to develop reasonable accommodations that would allow her to return to work. (Id. at 192- 94). On November 30, 2016, Ms. Campbell submitted a “reasonable accommodation request form” that included restrictions on her ability to work overtime and operate motorized vehicles due to her prescribed medications. (Id. at 198). KBR approved the request and temporarily assigned Ms. Campbell to complete only the auditing functions of the order filler position as a means to satisfy her reasonable accommodation request. (Id. at 64).

         From January 2017 through February 2017, Ms. Campbell's auditing duties were limited to conducting quality control checks and ensuring orders were dispatched from the KBR warehouse on time. (Doc. 20-1 at 64). Because auditing was not considered a full-time position and was neither a contract deliverable nor funded position on the contract (doc. 19 at 14, ¶ 73), KBR and Ms. Campbell met weekly to discuss how to increase her assigned duties. (Doc. 20-5 at 10). Ultimately, these meetings revealed that the breadth of duties Ms. Campbell was able to perform in light of her restrictions was “very limited.” (Id. at 11).

         As the Army's production demands began to steadily increase, KBR found that the reallocation of Ms. Campbell's overtime hours was “putting other employees at risk.” (Doc. 20-2 at 23). KBR management determined that the “business could no longer support [Ms. Campbell's] restrictions” and decided to terminate her employment. (Id. at 20-21). Ms. Campbell separated from employment on February 8, 2017. (Doc. 20-1 at 70).

         Two months after her termination, Ms. Campbell filed a second EEOC complaint. (Doc. 20-14 at 2). This complaint alleged that she was subjected to discrimination and retaliation because of her disability. (Id.). Specifically, she alleged that she was “not allowed to seek medical attention for [her] disability” and was ...

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