from the United States District Court for the Middle District
KING, JOLLY, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.
C. PRADO, Circuit Judge
Timothy Patton brought this American Disabilities Act
("ADA") case against Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
("Jacobs") and Talascend, LLC
("Talascend"). The district court granted summary
judgment against Patton on his failure to accommodate and
hostile work environment claims. For the reasons stated
below, we AFFIRM.
designs electrical and instrumentation systems. He also has
an obvious stutter. Talascend is a staffing agency which
furnishes contract employees, including engineers and
designers, to its clients. Jacobs, an engineering firm, is
one of Talascend's clients. Patton has been an employee
of Talascend since October 2012, when he was assigned to work
at Jacobs' facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Around the
time he was hired, Patton told Emily Wimbley, a Talascend
recruiter, about his stuttering and anxiety problems, which
he said "all go together."
alleges that his coworkers at Jacobs harassed him on account
of his stutter. For example, coworkers would call him names
such as lawnmower and bush hog (a type of lawnmower).
Additionally, coworkers who passed him in the hallway or met
him on the elevator would mock his stuttering, and coworkers
who sat near him would mock him and make loud noises right
behind him. Even his supervisor, Greg Guillory, allegedly
mocked him at a department-wide meeting in front of fifty
coworkers. Patton testified that he complained about this
harassment to Guillory and Wimbley; in addition, he testified
that he called and left a message with Talascend's human
resources department, but that this call was never returned.
also made a number of complaints about noise while he worked
at Jacobs. According to Patton, the work environment at
Jacobs was full of "loud laughter, banging, [and]
horseplay." He complained to Guillory three times about
the noise in his work space and asked Guillory "to move
[him] to an area that was quiet so that [his] nerves would
not affect [his] stuttering." Patton also discussed the
noise problem with Wimbley at Talascend. Talascend offered to
reassign Patton to another client and also raised the issue
with Guillory. But Patton continued working at Jacobs and by
all accounts performed his job well.
to Patton, the harassment and excessive noise at Jacobs
caused him to experience severe anxiety. He emailed Bruce
Kistrup, a lead engineer, four times about taking off work
due to his stress. As a result of this stress, Patton
suffered a panic attack while driving and got into a car
accident on February 28, 2014. Patton did not return to work
at Jacobs after this accident.
7, 2014, Patton filed a charge of discrimination with the
Louisiana Commission on Human Rights ("LCHR") and
the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
("EEOC"). He asserted that
he was harassed on account of his disability. Specifically,
Patton alleged the following facts:
I was subjected to psychological violence. People made
habitual efforts to talk repetitively in an unnatural,
intensified loud voice while near me. I was subjected to name
calling such as "bush hog", "how
pathetic" and "don't fit in." Several
people would mock my stuttering while looking directly at me.
On one occasion Greg Guillory while speaking in a meeting
began to stutter while looking directly at me. I have been
excluded from work related lunches/dinners, left out of the
communication loop and meeting announcements. I complained on
several occasions to management from both Jacobs and
Talascend but nothing was done. On February 28, 2014 I was
involved in an accident and became stressed to the point that
I am currently out on a medical leave.
also filed an intake questionnaire on May 7, 2014. In the
intake questionnaire, Patton clarified that his disability
consisted of stuttering, anxiety, and noise sensitivity. He
also stated that he requested changes or assistance because
of his disability but that his employer did not make any
actual changes in response to his requests. Patton later
amended his charge of discrimination on September 30, 2014,
to add a claim of sex discrimination.
the EEOC investigation, Talascend and Jacobs submitted
position statements in which they disputed Patton's
allegations of discrimination. These position statements
focused on the harassment allegations, though Jacobs also
responded to the allegation that it failed to accommodate
Patton's disability. The EEOC issued a notice of right to
sue letter on November 24, 2014.
filed suit in Louisiana state court on February 6, 2015. He
brought four claims against Jacobs and Talascend: (1)
intentional infliction of emotional distress; (2) negligent
infliction of emotional distress; (3) hostile work
environment in violation of the ADA; and (4) failure to
accommodate in violation of the ADA. Shortly after the
defendants removed the case to federal court, Patton's
negligent infliction of emotional distress claim was
dismissed. Jacobs and Talascend moved for summary judgment in
district court granted summary judgment in favor of both
defendants on all claims. First, the district court held that
Patton failed to administratively exhaust his failure to
accommodate claim. In the alternative, the district court
held that Patton failed to put forth sufficient evidence
showing that the defendants were aware of his disability.
Second, the district court held that Patton failed to
introduce sufficient evidence of a hostile work environment.
The district court also found that Patton failed to take
advantage of the complaint procedures in either
defendant's anti-harassment policy. Finally, ...