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Richardson v. Bossier Casino Venture, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

February 15, 2018





         Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment or for Partial Summary Judgment [Doc. #2');">21] filed by Defendant, Bossier Casino Venture, Inc. Plaintiff, Alonzo Gerald Richardson, proceeding pro se, opposes the motion. [Docs. #2');">23, 2');">27].[1" name="FN1" id="FN1">1] For the reasons assigned herein, the motion for summary judgment [Doc. #2');">21] is GRANTED.


         This case arises out of Plaintiff's brief employment with Bossier Casino Venture, Inc. (hereinafter, “BCV”), as a part-time member of the bell staff at Margaritaville Resort Casino, in Bossier City, Louisiana. Plaintiff alleges that BCV discriminated against him on the basis of race and sex, subjected him to a hostile work environment, and retaliated against him, all in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42');">2 U.S.C. § 2');">2000e et seq.

         Plaintiff was hired by BCV in April 2');">2013; however, because Margaritaville had not yet opened, Plaintiff did not begin work until early June 2');">2013. [Doc. #2');">21-2');">2, p. 1, ¶3]. Plaintiff attended new hire orientation on June 6, 2');">2013, after which he signed the “Margaritaville Resort Casino Handbook Agreement, ” acknowledging that he had received a copy of the employee handbook, outlining BCV's regulations, policies and procedures. [Doc. #2');">21-2');">2, p. 2');">2, ¶7; Doc. #2');">21-7]. Plaintiff's part-time status was explained to him, and meant that, during slow business days, he “could be sent home early due to the lack of business volume.” [Doc. #2');">21-3, p. 3; Doc. #2');">23-1, p. 2');">2, ¶10].[2');">2" name="FN2');">2" id= "FN2');">2">2');">2]

         Plaintiff asserts that BCV's discriminatory conduct began with a July 2');">21, 2');">2013, incident, during which a co-worker made offensive remarks toward Plaintiff, apparently attempting to call into question Plaintiff's sexual orientation. [Doc. #1, p. 1, ¶4]. Plaintiff claims to have immediately “sent a text message to his direct manager and her assistant detailing the interaction.” Id. Thereafter, Plaintiff claims that his co-workers would routinely tease him for not participating in their sexually-charged comments and conversations, “question his sexuality, joke and belittle him.” Id. at p. 1, ¶5. He further alleges that a particular bell captain would “[q]uite frequently” use racial slurs, including referring to himself as a “[h]ouse [n]igga” and other employees who worked outside as “[f]ield [n]iggas.” Id. at p. 1, ¶6. However, Plaintiff states that he did not report having been the target of these racial slurs until December 2');">23, 2');">2013. [Doc. #1, pp. 2');">2-3, ¶12');">2].

         At some point, in response to the above-described environment, Plaintiff alleges that he attempted to initiate a transfer by inquiring of his direct manager, Jordan Walton, how to apply for same. Plaintiff claims that Ms. Walton provided him inadequate assistance by failing to advise that he submit an “internal transfer form, ” resulting in Plaintiff being considered alongside five “outside candidates.” [Doc. #1, p. 2');">2, ¶7]. Plaintiff believes that, after his initial complaint, his hours were cut, he was “permanently placed on low volume days, ” and management repeatedly used an unreliable contact number despite having allegedly been advised that Plaintiff could not be reached via said number.[3" name="FN3" id="FN3">3] Id. at p. 2');">2, ¶10.

         On August 2');">20, 2');">2013, Plaintiff claims that he requested paid time off (“PTO”) and was not told until he had already left town, on vacation, that he needed to fill out an official “request form.” [Doc. #1, p. 2');">2, ¶8]. When he informed the relevant bell captain that he was already out of town, he was allegedly told that it was “not a big deal, ” as the PTO had already been approved; however, upon returning to work, Plaintiff received a “1 point deduction” for a “call out.” Plaintiff believes “that this was an act of retaliation for complaining and ‘coming out' to management about his sexuality.” Id. For its part, BCV submits a form, dated December 2');">24, 2');">2013, entitled “Coaching and Counseling Action, ” unsigned by either Plaintiff or any representative of BCV, which purports to reflect the dates of each of Plaintiff's attendance policy infractions but does not include an August 2');">20, 2');">2013 infraction. [Doc. #2');">21-8; Doc. #2');">21-3, p. 3].

         On September 2');">25, 2');">2013, Plaintiff alleges that he received a “no call/no show, ” five-point infraction from Ms. Walton, due to a schedule change of which Plaintiff claims to have not been notified. Plaintiff claims to have successfully challenged the infraction points, which were ultimately removed by “Ms. Walton's manager.” [Doc. #1, p. 2');">2, ¶9].[4] Nonetheless, Plaintiff was allegedly advised during that appeal process that Ms. Walton's “actions against him were due to their personalities not ‘jiving' well together, ” causing Plaintiff to believe that Ms. Walton acted in retaliation. Id.

         On November 4, 2');">2013, Plaintiff alleges that Ms. Walton administered an unwarranted “verbal warning” to Plaintiff for “job abandonment, ” without allowing Plaintiff to explain that his absence resulted from a bell captain instructing Plaintiff to “get fitted for the winter wardrobe in another building.” [Doc. #1, p. 2');">2, ¶11]. Thereafter, Plaintiff claims that he hand-delivered a “formal letter of complaint, ” to the Human Resources Employee Relations Manager, David Brossette, on November 5, 2');">2013. [Doc. #1, p. 2');">2, ¶12');">2; Doc. #2');">23-2');">2, pp. 5-6]. On December 2');">23, 2');">2013, Plaintiff met with Mr. Brossette and Linda Ferguson to discuss his complaints, during which meeting he allegedly reported having been a target of the above-described racial slurs. [Doc. #1, pp. 2');">2-3, ¶12');">2]. Plaintiff alleges that, the next day, he was placed under the supervision of the offending bell captain, “severely harassed, ” forced to step away from his duties “during peak check out hours, ” and “told to leave early.” Id. at p. 3, ¶13.[5]

         That same day, December 2');">24, 2');">2013, Plaintiff requested and was granted a leave of absence. [Doc. #1, p. 3, ¶14]. Plaintiff claims that his request was stated as one for medical leave. [Doc. #2');">23, 11');">p. 11]. In early January 2');">2014, Plaintiff submitted a written request for workers' compensation coverage, which was denied on January 17, 2');">2014. [Doc. #2');">21-10]. Via letter dated March 4, 2');">2014, Mr. Brossette notified Plaintiff that he had exhausted all personal leave and should contact his supervisor, Ms. Walton, by 5:00 p.m., on March 7, 2');">2014. Id. The letter further stated that “[a]ny absence moving forward from that date (3/7/2');">2014) will place you in violation of our attendance policy which will result in disciplinary action including possible termination.” Id. Plaintiff acknowledged receipt of the foregoing letter. [Doc. #2');">23-2');">2, 14');">p. 14]. Although Plaintiff claims to have attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to contact his supervisor in accordance with Mr. Brossette's instructions, he does not dispute that he ultimately failed to do so. Id.; [see also Doc. #2');">23, p11');">p. 11-12');">2]. BCV terminated Plaintiff, on March 14, 2');">2014, for “failure to return to work following his personal leave, ” which was “essentially job abandonment.” [Doc. #2');">21-3, pp. 5-6, ¶¶12');">2, 13]. Plaintiff states that he “was terminated due to being placed on the schedule [on March 10, 2');">2014] without [his] knowledge.” [Doc. #2');">23-1, p. 3, ¶¶15, 16].

         On December 10, 2');">2013, Plaintiff submitted an intake questionnaire with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). [Doc. #2');">23-2');">2, pp. 1-4]. On March 17, 2');">2014, three days after he was terminated, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, alleging discrimination on the basis of color, sex and retaliation, from June 3, 2');">2013 to December 2');">24, 2');">2013, and checked the box marked “continuing action.” [Doc. #2');">21-4]. Plaintiff's charge states that he “was subjected to a hostile work environment, harassed about [his] sexuality, subjected to lewd comments about female guests and workers and [] was told by a co-worker that straight men are not normally as picky as [he was.]” Id. The EEOC issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights on August 2');">22');">2, 2');">2016. [Doc. #10-1, p. 6]. The instant complaint was then filed on November 18, 2');">2016, seeking court-mandated changes to BCV's policies and procedures, as well as $300, 000.00 for lost wages and pain and suffering. [Doc. #1, p. 4, ¶15].

         SUMMARY ...

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