United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE KAREN L. HAYES
G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 13');">3]
filed by Defendants Gardner Denver Thomas, Inc.
(“Gardner Denver”) and Erick Stoor. Plaintiff
Michael Harris does not oppose the motion. For reasons
assigned below, the motion is GRANTED.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Denver hired Harris as an employee on April 26, 2010. While
employed, Harris was a member of a collective bargaining
unit, which operated under a collective bargaining agreement
(“CBA”) between Gardner Denver and Communications
Workers of America (“the Union”).
6, 2016, Harris was accused of peeping under the men3');">39;s
restroom stall at a coworker. Gardner Denver investigated and
verified the accusation. Having verified the allegation and
having warned Harris twice before about similar conduct,
Gardner Denver found just cause to, and did, discharge Harris
on July 8, 2016.
the findings of the investigation on a Disciplinary Action
Notice form, Kayce Creighton, Human Resources Generalist,
wrote: “Mr. Harris was in the restroom attempting to
look under the stall at another employee. This immoral and
sexual deviant behavior is unacceptable and will not be
tolerated. Gardner Denver makes every effort for a safe work
environment and this behavior is a direct violation.”
[Doc. No. 13');">3-4].
Articles 3');">3 and 8 of the CBA, Gardner Denver may discharge an
employee for “just cause.” [Doc. No. 13');">3-3');">3, pp. 6,
9]. Article 8 provides, “The question of whether
‘just cause3');">39; exists for the discipline shall be
subject to the grievance and arbitration procedure provided
herein.” Id. at 9. Under Article 21, “an
employee who is discharged must process his/her
grievance” through the first three tiers. Id.
at 24. Following that, a discharged employee must submit his
grievance to arbitration. Id. at 23');">3.
processed his grievances-which he described as “false
accusations of sexual harassment” and
“discrimination”-through the third tier of the
grievance process. [Doc. No. 13');">3-5]. On July 14, 2016, Debra
Priebe, Gardner Denver3');">39;s Manager of Human Resources,
denied Harris3');">39;s grievance at the third tier, noting,
“Termination will stand . . . .” Id.
is no evidence, however, that Plaintiff asked the Union to
submit his grievances to arbitration within the requisite
time period. Article 22 of the CBA provides: “The
Union, after properly utilizing all steps of the Grievance
Procedure and desiring to submit a matter to arbitration,
shall notify the Company in writing within the aforementioned
thirty (3');">30) calendar days.” [Doc. No. 13');">3-3');">3, p. 23');">3]. The
“aforementioned thirty (3');">30) calendar days” refers
to Article 21, which provides that a tier-three decision is
final unless the Union notifies “the Company in writing
within thirty (3');">30) days that it desires to submit the matter
to arbitration.” Id. at 24. As Harris did not
ask the Union to submit his grievances to arbitration, the
grievances were deemed waived under the terms of the CBA.
Id. at 23');">3.
3');">30, 2017, Harris filed suit in the Fourth Judicial District
Court, Parish of Ouachita, State of Louisiana, and alleged,
under state law, that Defendants wrongfully terminated him,
defamed him, and subjected him to emotional distress. [Doc.
No. 1-2]. On July 20, 2017, Defendants removed the proceeding
to this Court, grounding federal question jurisdiction on the
contention that Harris3');">39;s claims are preempted under the
Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”). [Doc.
September 13');">3, 2017, Defendants moved for summary judgment,
arguing that Harris3');">39;s claims are preempted under Section
3');">301 of the LMRA, that Harris “cannot bring tort claims
under Section 3');">301[, ]” that Harris failed to exhaust
all remedies under the CBA before filing suit, and that
Harris3');">39;s claims are time barred. Harris did not respond
to Defendants3');">39; motion or otherwise controvert
Defendants3');">39; properly supported statement of material
facts [Doc. No. 13');">3-1]. Consequently, all material facts that
Defendants proffer are deemed admitted. LR 56.2.
LAW AND ANALYSIS