United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTIONS
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
cause is before the Court on Defendant Ford Motor
Company's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 53),
Defendant United Auto Workers' motion for summary
judgment (Dkt. No. 55), and the Plaintiff's cross-motion
for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 62). The motions are fully
briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, now
GRANTS the Defendants' motions and
DENIES the Plaintiff's motion for the
reasons set forth below.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” In ruling on
a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence
presented by the non-moving party must be believed, and all
reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant's
favor. Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th
Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in that party's favor.”). When the Court
reviews cross-motions for summary judgment, as is the case
here, “we construe all inferences in favor of the party
against whom the motion under consideration is made.”
Speciale v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield Ass'n,
538 F.3d 615, 621 (7th Cir. 2008) (quotation omitted).
“‘[W]e look to the burden of proof that each
party would bear on an issue of trial.'” Diaz
v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 499 F.3d 640, 643 (7th
Cir. 2007) (quoting Santaella v. Metro. Life Ins.
Co., 123 F.3d 456, 461 (7th Cir. 1997)). A party who
bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest
on its pleadings, but must show what evidence it has that
there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires
trial. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d
892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). Finally, the non-moving party bears
the burden of specifically identifying the relevant evidence
of record, and “the court is not required to scour the
record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary
judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d
713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001).
Court draws facts from the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
and the Defendants' briefs. Where facts are in dispute, the
Court designates them as such.
began working for Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) in
1994 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Davis was and remains a member
of the United Automotive Workers union (“UAW”).
In 2011, Davis and other employees were told that the Ford
facility in Indianapolis (“Indianapolis
facility”) was closing. They were offered the
opportunity to transfer to other Ford locations in Illinois
and Kentucky. A collective bargaining agreement between Ford
and the UAW governs employee transfers. Davis chose to
transfer to a Ford facility in Louisville, Kentucky
(“Louisville facility”), and signed a Non-Skilled
Job Opportunities Transfer Agreement (“Transfer
Agreement”) on July 11, 2011. The Transfer Agreement
provided Davis with an opportunity to rank locations for
potential transfer and required her to “acknowledge
that this posting is for permanent non-skilled job
opportunities.” Dkt. No. 57-2 at 18. Davis initialed
the form next to her permanent assignment choice indicating
as follows: “I accept such offer to
transfer permanently to Louisville
Assembly.” Id. at 19 (emphases in
original). The Transfer Agreement contained the following two
• I further understand that by accepting the Enhanced
Moving Allowance payment that I forfeit my Return to Basic
Unit Rights under Appendix O and Article VIII, Section (1)b
[sic] of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
• I understand that if I am a Ford employee working at
an ACH-LLC location, by volunteering for this opportunity I
understand that all volunteers from ACH-LLC locations, who
transfer to a Ford location, waive Article VIII, Section 1(b)
seniority basic unit rights and Appendix O return home rights
to all other ACH-LLC locations. The location that I transfer
to would become my new basic unit.
Id. at 18-19.
Indianapolis facility is an ACH-LLC location. Return to basic
unit rights, or return home rights, allow an employee to
transfer from an employee's basic unit, or home facility,
to a different location while retaining priority rights to
later return to the basic unit. Dkt. No. 54 at 4-5 (citing
Dkt. No. 60-1 at 5; 8 & 60-2 at 3).
October 2011, the president and chairperson of the
Indianapolis local UAW informed its members that it learned
that there were plans to consolidate Ford sites in Evansville
and Chicago to a site in the Indianapolis area. He noted that
he was “unaware of the companies [sic] timing for the
process of consolidation, ” explained that he
“expressed to all parties that if jobs are available
that it is incumbent to offer those jobs to any seniority
person who may be interested regardless of previous
offerings, ” and asserted that the UAW “will
fight with everything we have to make sure the opportunities
are given to our members if any become available.” Dkt.
No. 65-2 at 2.
began working at Ford's Louisville facility in February
2012. When she transferred to the facility, Ford and the UAW
offered Davis an “Enhanced Relocation Moving
Allowance” benefit (“Moving Allowance”).
Pursuant to Article IX, Section 28 of the collective
bargaining agreement, Davis needed to “file an
application for a Moving Allowance not later than six months
after the first day he/she worked at the new Plant.”
Dkt. No. 57-2 at 10. Davis did not apply for or receive a
moving allowance benefit. She continues to work in the
Louisville facility as an Assembler.
announced it was opening a new facility in Plainfield,
Indiana, in 2014. In April 2014, the local UAW in Louisville,
on behalf all 228 employees who transferred from the
Indianapolis facility to the Louisville facility, including
Davis, filed an appeal with the National Job Security,
Operational Effectiveness and Sourcing Committee
(“NJSOESC”), a panel of representatives from Ford
and the UAW, to decide job security-related issues. The local
UAW in Louisville contended that Ford violated provisions of
the collective bargaining agreement by not providing all
transferees with the same moving allowance opportunities. On
August 7, 2014, the NJSOESC concluded that “Company
records show that all employees from the Indianapolis Plant
(ACH) were provided one election, Option 1 - Enhanced
Relocation Moving Allowance, ” which resulted in the
termination of return to basic unit rights at the
Indianapolis location and made the Louisville facility their
new basic unit, or home facility. Dkt. Nos. 57-2 at 27; 60-2
at 5. The result of this ruling was that the transferees did
not have rights to return to Indianapolis to work at the
Plainfield facility once it opened.
around September 2014, the Plainfield, Indiana facility
opened. Davis told her manager and UAW representatives that
she wanted to transfer to the Plainfield facility. Ford and
the UAW denied Davis's request.
began an approved medical leave on September 28, 2014. During
her leave, she underwent treatment for alcoholism in
Indianapolis. On December 19, 2014, while on leave, she filed
a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), alleging that
she was denied a transfer to the Plainfield facility because
of her race and sex.
remained on medical leave until January 5, 2015. At that
time, her treating health care providers released her to
return to work with the following restrictions: They limited
her to working thirty hours per week and recommended that she
be permitted to leave work at noon on Thursdays so that she
could attend an appointment from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in
Indianapolis, starting January 15, 2015. The weekly
appointment was expected to run through April 10, 2015, after
which she would “be released to full-time work on April
13, 2015.” Dkt. No. 60-1 at 19. The Thursday evening
appointment was the only reason Davis had to have her work
schedule limited to thirty hours.
presented her work restrictions to Human Resources, and she
was directed to provide the restrictions to Roy Francis, her
supervisor. Francis told her he would not accept the
restrictions. Ford instead placed Davis on “No Work
Available” leave starting January 7, 2015. While on
this leave, Davis continued to receive the short-term
disability payments she had received while on medical leave.
Davis then had a hysterectomy on March 23, 2015. On May 4,
2015, she was released to return to work with no restrictions
following surgery. Davis returned to full-time work at the
Louisville facility on May 4, 2015, where she is still
October 2, 2015, Davis filed a second charge of
discrimination with the EEOC, alleging sex, race, and
disability discrimination and retaliation. She alleged that
she would have been accommodated rather than placed on leave
if she had not filed a prior charge of discrimination. She
also alleged that “[b]ut for the nature of [her]
illness[, ] she would have been allowed to return to work
with restrictions.” Dkt. No. 60-6 at 4. Davis
identifies her disability as alcoholism.
alleges that she was discriminated against because of her
race, sex, and disability and retaliated against for engaging
in protected activity. The Defendants move for summary
judgment on all of Davis's claims.
Race and ...