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Carpenter v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

June 13, 2014

JOHN E. CARPENTER, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTHWESTERN BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY and JOSEPH ARRI, Defendants

Decided June 12, 2014

Page 1169

John E. Carpenter, Plaintiff, Pro se, Lenexa , KS.

For Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, formerly known as AT& T, Joseph Arri, in his individual and official capacity as Area Manager OSP Planning and Engineering Design S.W. Network Planning & Engineering, Defendants: Michael L. Matula, Rene' Leigh Duckworth, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC - KC, Kansas City , MO.

Page 1170

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

CARLOS MURGUIA, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff John E. Carpenter brings hostile work environment claims against his former employer, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (" Southwestern Bell" ), and his former supervisor, Joseph Arri. Plaintiff initially brought discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This court granted defendants' summary judgment motion on plaintiff's discrimination and retaliation claims. But the hostile work environment claims remain, as defendants did not address them in their first motion for summary judgment. The hostile environment claims are now before the court on defendants' second Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 67). For the following reasons, the court grants the motion.

I. Factual Background

Plaintiff is an African-American who worked for defendant Southwestern Bell in its Kansas facility. Several of his co-workers made whistling noises throughout the workday. The whistling annoyed and offended plaintiff, who repeatedly complained about it. Defendant Arri took steps to reduce the whistling, including distributing an office memo and asking the whistling employees to whistle less frequently. But defendants did not expressly prohibit whistling in the office.

On September 4, 2008, plaintiff was sent home after complaining of the noise. That day, plaintiff reported four coworkers for racial harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity hotline.

In addition to the whistling, plaintiff points to one comment as evidence of a hostile work environment: about six years ago, a co-worker said, " This is the dark side in more ways than one," while passing plaintiff's cubicle. (Doc. 71-1 at 3.)

II. Summary Judgment Standard

The court grants summary judgment if the record demonstrates that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Fasbinder v. City of Overland Park, No. 09-2043-JAR, 2010 WL 1930974, at *1 (D. Kan. May 10, 2010) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)). If the moving party meets this burden, the nonmovant must set forth specific facts from which a rational trier of fact could find for the nonmovant. Id. (citing Thom v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 353 F.3d 848, 851 (10th Cir. 2003)). Although the court construes pro se filings liberally, pro se plaintiffs still must offer factual support for their claims. Douglass v. Gen. Motors Corp., 368 F.Supp.2d 1220, 1228 (D. Kan. 2005) (citing Pueblo Neighborhood Health Ctrs., Inc. v. Losavio, ...


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