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Christmon v. B&B Airparts, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

August 31, 2017

B&B AIRPARTS, INC., Defendant.


          CARLOS MURGUIA United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Jerome A. Christmon, a former employee of defendant B&B Airparts, Inc., brings this action pro se-claiming that defendant violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to accommodate plaintiff's request to change his standard day off from Saturday of each week to Sunday. Plaintiff made the request because of his religious beliefs as a Hebrew Israelite. Defendant claims that it offered plaintiff a reasonable accommodation by allowing plaintiff to take off Saturdays without penalty, even when plaintiff did not complete Request for Time Off forms in accordance with policy. The case is before the court on defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 32). For the following reasons, the court grants the motion.

         I. Factual Background

         The facts below are taken largely from defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff filed a response to defendant's motion, but did not properly controvert the facts presented. Instead, he spent most of his response arguing that revisions to his deposition were ignored and that defendant did not include the court reporter's certification with the deposition transcripts that it filed in support of its summary judgment motion. Plaintiff cannot substantively alter his deposition testimony with an errata sheet. See Burn v. Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs of Jackson Cty., 330 F.3d 1275, 1282 (10th Cir. 2003). And defendant did not need to file the court reporter's certification. See D. Kan. R. 56.1(d); Zhu v. Countrywide Realty, Co., 165 F.Supp.2d 1181, 1194-95 (D. Kan. 2001). Neither of plaintiff's arguments provide a valid basis for disregarding the uncontroverted facts presented by defendant.

         Plaintiff worked as a simple assembly worker in defendant's sheet metal assembly department from October 20, 2014 through February 11, 2016. Roseann Payne supervised plaintiff.

         As a Hebrew Israelite, plaintiff observes Saturday as the Sabbath. During his interview with Payne (which was to hire plaintiff as a temporary employee), plaintiff told Payne, “I was serious about my faith and that I would be requesting days and stuff off for my faith.” But plaintiff also told Payne that he was available for any shift. After the interview, plaintiff felt like defendant would accommodate his religious requests.

         After plaintiff completed a temporary placement with defendant, Payne hired him as a full-time employee. Around the time of his hire, plaintiff signed an acknowledgement that he had received a copy of defendant's employee manual and that he was responsible for reading and complying with its policies. The manual emphasizes the importance of daily attendance, requiring employees to complete a Request for Time Off form if they need time off from work. The manual also states that the scheduling of employee hours is based on many factors, including customer contracts, project due dates, the assembly work of the specific employee, and employee efficiency. It further states that work demands can change based on a number of unpredictable factors. The employee manual addresses overtime, providing that employees who do not work mandatory scheduled shifts are subject to immediate discipline.

         During the relevant time period, defendant's sheet metal assembly employees worked two shifts: (1) a Monday through Friday first shift that started between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. and ran through 3:30 p.m.; and (2) a second shift from 3 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Defendant expected its Monday through Friday employees to work certain Saturdays. Defendant also had also a weekend shift for just a few employees. The weekend shift was 4 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday through Sunday.

         Early in 2015, defendant experienced a customer order surge, and therefore required employees to work mandatory overtime from January 1, 2015 through August 16, 2015. During this period, plaintiff and other small assembly workers had to work Monday through Friday, as well as Saturdays from 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m., depending on customer needs, project due dates, and employee workload. Beginning on August 17, 2015, mandatory overtime went to an as-needed basis. From January 1, 2015, through August 17, 2015, plaintiff was scheduled and worked the following Saturdays: January 17, January 24, February 7, February 21, March 7, May 16, June 14, June 27, July 12, July 18, and July 26.

         Defendant scheduled plaintiff to work on Saturday June 6, 2015, but plaintiff did not show up for his shift that day. Under defendant's policy, plaintiff received a written warning. At the time of this discipline, plaintiff had not requested the Sabbath off. Plaintiff claims that June 6, 2015 was not a mandatory overtime day and that other defendant employees did not work that Saturday. But sheet metal assembly workers Gilbert Santiago, Ben Kristek, Caleb Osborn, Laurie Yeager, and Bob Martin all were scheduled to work and did work on Saturday, June 6, 2015.

         Plaintiff's claim arises from three meetings on July 24, 2015, August 3, 2015, and August 5, 2015. Plaintiff claims that on July 24, he met with Payne and “asked her if I could have my schedule changed to have Saturdays off and come in and work Sundays, make up my overtime, make up my time on Sunday.” Payne told plaintiff to complete a Request for Time Off form if he needed time off for religious reasons. Payne also told plaintiff that she could cut his overtime hours.

         All of plaintiff's Saturday hours were overtime hours. Plaintiff never filled out a Request for Time Off form for a single Saturday. Plaintiff did, however, complete six Request for Time Off forms for religious reasons, and defendant approved all six requests. After requesting Saturdays off on July 24, 2015, plaintiff then worked the next scheduled Saturday shift on July 26, 2015.

         Plaintiff never approached Payne or another supervisor again about Saturdays. Because plaintiff did not complete Request for Time Off forms, Payne occasionally scheduled plaintiff for Saturday shifts after July 24, 2015-specifically, August 29, October 3, October 17, October 31, and November 7. Plaintiff never asked Payne to reschedule those five days; instead, plaintiff was a no-call/no-show on each of those days.

         Defendant did not discipline plaintiff for his no-call/no-shows after July 24, 2015. Instead, defendant allowed plaintiff to take unpaid leave during scheduled Saturdays after July 24, 2015. Plaintiff admits that defendant “basically just allowed me to not come in on my scheduled Saturdays.” Plaintiff alleges that on August 3, 2015, Patrick Earl, sheet-metal supervisor, told first-shift ...

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