United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
CAROLYN S. DENNIS, Plaintiff,
PATRICK R. DONOHOE, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN, JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Patrick
Donohoe's, Postmaster General of the United States,
Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 39]. The Plaintiff,
Carolyn Dennis, filed a Complaint [ECF No. 3] on May 8, 2014,
alleging age, gender, and race discrimination, and
retaliation, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000, Title
This matter is fully briefed and ripe for the Court's
OF THE CASE
Court considers the following facts, which are derived from
the Defendant's Statement of Material Facts, designated
citations to the various declarations, and the Amended
Complaint. The Plaintiff submitted a Statement of Material
Facts, too, with some citations to the record, as well as an
Affidavit and an Exhibit. The Court will summarize
those facts necessary for a summary judgment determination,
construed in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff.
Further, the Court will consider those facts from the
Defendants' Statement of Material Facts which are not
challenged by the Plaintiff's Affidavit to be undisputed
for the purposes of summary judgment. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(e)(2).
Relevant Postal Service Personnel
Carolyn Dennis worked for the United States Postal Service
(“USPS”) at the Main Post Office in Fort Wayne,
Indiana, “as an EAS-17 Supervisor of Customer
Service” from about 1999 until she retired on December
31, 2013. (Stmt. of Material Facts 2, ECF No. 39; Dennis Aff.
¶ 3, ECF No. 47-1.) The only other supervisor at the
Main Post Office was Thom Green, a white male employee who
was five years older than the Plaintiff and retired from USPS
in June 2013. (Green Decl. ¶¶ 1-2; Dennis Req. No.
6, ECF No. 39-1.) However, their duties differed: the
Plaintiff “manag[ed] the retail section of the Post
Office, including the window and distribution clerks, ”
while Green “managed the city letter carriers.”
(Dennis Aff. ¶ 38; Green Decl. ¶ 2.) Additionally,
the Plaintiff was a non-bargaining unit employee, who was
“assigned as needed” to accommodate the
operational needs of USPS. (Gerardot Decl. ¶ 3, ECF No.
39-3; Gillig Decl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 39-2.)
the Plaintiff and Green reported directly to Karen Gillig,
the Main Post Office's Manager of Customer Service, until
June 2013 when Gillig retired. (Dennis Req. for Admis. No. 5;
Gerardot Decl. ¶ 1; Gillig Decl. ¶¶ 1-3.)
Gillig was not responsible for managing other supervisors
located at different post offices in the Fort Wayne area,
only those at the Main Post Office. (Dennis Aff. ¶ 9;
Gerardot Decl. ¶ 6; Gillig Decl. ¶ 4.). And while
Julie Allen, a Bulk Mail Entry Unit Technician, worked at the
Main Post Office, Gillig did not manage her because she was a
temporary supervisor who could work at other locations.
(Gerardot Decl. ¶ 1; Gillig Decl. ¶ 4.) Gillig
reported to Dawn Gerardot, who was the Postmaster of the Main
Post Office in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (Gerardot Decl. ¶ 1;
Gillig Decl. ¶ 1.) The Greater Indiana District's
Senior Post Office Operations Manager was David Conwell, who
directly supervised Gerardot. (Conwell Aff. ¶ 5, ECF No.
39-5; Dennis Req. No. 3; Gerardot Decl. ¶ 2.)
Changes to Scheduled Days Off
point in early 2013, Conwell met with supervisors and
managers in the Fort Wayne area to instruct them to cut back
on supervisor over time (“T-time”) in order to
reduce USPS operational costs. (Conwell Aff. ¶¶ 11,
13, 17, 20.) One of the identified issues was the Main Post
Office's Saturday scheduling: in early 2013, the
Plaintiff's scheduled days off were Saturday and Sunday,
while Green only had Sunday off so there was supervisory
coverage at that location on Saturday. (Id.; Dennis
Aff. ¶ 15; Gillig Decl. ¶¶ 2-3; Green Decl.
¶ 3.) Because Green worked six days of the week and only
took Sundays off, he accrued roughly 13-14 hours of T-time.
(Conwell Aff. ¶¶ 11, 13, 17, 20; Green Decl. ¶
suggested that Gillig rearrange supervisory coverage on
Saturdays so that no single supervisor got T-time on
Saturdays. (Conwell Aff. ¶¶ 11, 13, 17, 20; Gillig
Decl. ¶ 5.) To achieve that, no supervisor would be
allowed to work more than eight hours on Saturday and no
supervisor could work more than four other days of the week.
(Gillig Decl. ¶ 5.) Given that the carrier operation on
Saturday tended to be more than eight hours, this meant that
Gillig would have to schedule her two supervisors to work
staggered eight hour shifts. (Id.)
response to Conwell's directive, Gillig cut T-time in
March 2013 by reducing Green's schedule to five working
days instead of six, with Green receiving Fridays and Sundays
off. (Dennis Req. Nos. 9-10; Gillig Decl. ¶ 5; Gerardot
Decl. ¶ 2; Green Decl. ¶ 3.) To increase
supervisory coverage on Saturdays, Gillig changed the
Plaintiff's scheduled days off from Saturday/Sunday to
Sunday/Monday. (Gillig Decl. ¶ 5; Gerardot Decl. ¶
2; Green Decl. ¶ 3.) As a result, Green lost overtime
pay (Green Decl. ¶ 3.) The schedule change did not
reduce the Plaintiff's pay or benefits (Gillig Decl.
¶ 5.) When carrier operations relocated from the Main
Post Office to the Gabriel Post Office location in summer
2013, there was a reduced need for supervisory coverage on
Saturdays. (Gerardot Decl. ¶ 4.) As a result, the
Plaintiff's scheduled days off were changed back to
Saturday/Sunday in July 2013 and made permanent in October
2013 until her retirement at the end of that year.
(Id.; Dennis Aff. ¶ 35; Moore Decl. ¶ 2,
ECF No. 39-7.)
Holiday Vacation Requests
March 2013, the Plaintiff submitted to Gillig forms
requesting 40 hours of time off during the week of
Thanksgiving (November 23, 2013 to December 1, 2013) and 40
hours of time off during the week of Christmas (December 21,
2013 to December 29, 2013). (Dennis Aff. ¶ 21; Gillig
Decl. ¶ 7.) Gillig was retiring on June 28, 2013, so she
thought that her successor should make vacation
determinations for personnel during that year's peak
holiday times. (Gerardot Decl. ¶ 5; Gillig Decl. ¶
7.) As such, Gillig denied the Plaintiff's requests for
vacation on March 29, 2013, and asked the Plaintiff to
resubmit the requests after she retired and her replacement
came onboard. (Gillig Decl. ¶ 7.) On May 9, 2013, the
Plaintiff resubmitted her leave requests, which were again
denied because Gillig had not yet departed. (Id.
¶ 9.) However, Gillig decided to consult her
replacement, at which point the Plaintiff's request was
approved for Thanksgiving. (Id.) Once Lisa Moore
took over as Acting Manager of the Main Post Office in 2013,
the Plaintiff resubmitted her Christmas vacation requests on
November 4, 2013, and November 8, 2013, which were ultimately
approved. (Moore Decl. ¶ 2)
ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff has alleged discrimination against the Defendant
based on her age, gender, and race, and retaliation for prior
Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) filings. The
specific incidents supporting her claim are (1) the changing
of her non-scheduled days from Saturday/Sunday to
Sunday/Monday and (2) the denial of her holiday vacation
requests in 2013. (Compl. ¶ 5, ECF No. 3.) The Plaintiff
argued that other employees, including Green, received their
requested days off when she did not (id.
¶¶ 15-16), and that her ...